100 books like The Dream of the Poem

By Peter Cole,

Here are 100 books that The Dream of the Poem fans have personally recommended if you like The Dream of the Poem. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

Hussein Fancy Author Of The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon

From my list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hussein Fancy is a Professor of History at Yale University where he teaches medieval history with a particular focus on medieval Spain and North Africa. His research, writing, and teaching focus on the entwined histories of not only Jews, Christians, and Muslims but also Latin and Arabic in the Middle Ages. He has traveled and lived extensively in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Hussein's book list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain

Hussein Fancy Why did Hussein love this book?

If there’s only one that I could recommend, it’s this brilliant, beautiful, and vexing book by María Rosa Menocal, Sterling Professor at Yale University. In a compelling and artful manner, Menocal tells the story of medieval Spain from the arrival of the first Umayyad rulers to Cervantes. Beyond being a useful introduction to the fascinating history, Menocal makes the argument that a culture of tolerance existed in medieval Spain, one that transcended religious and ethnic differences. The principal engine of this culture, she suggests, was the Arabic language. Menocal’s book has received as much praise as criticism, a testament to its enduring power and the contentious quality of medieval Spain.

By María Rosa Menocal,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Ornament of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rich and thriving culture where literature, science and religious tolerance flourished for 700 years is the subject of this enthralling history of medieval Spain.

Living side by side in the Andalusian kingdoms, the 'peoples of the book' produced statesmen, poets and philosophers who influenced the rest of Europe in dramatic ways, giving it the first translations of Plato and Aristotle, love songs and secular poetry plus remarkable feats of architecture and technology. This evocative account explores the lost history whose legacy and lessons have a powerful resonance in today's world.


Book cover of Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages

Hussein Fancy Author Of The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon

From my list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hussein Fancy is a Professor of History at Yale University where he teaches medieval history with a particular focus on medieval Spain and North Africa. His research, writing, and teaching focus on the entwined histories of not only Jews, Christians, and Muslims but also Latin and Arabic in the Middle Ages. He has traveled and lived extensively in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Hussein's book list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain

Hussein Fancy Why did Hussein love this book?

This is a scholarly book, beautifully written but challenging both in its exposition and argument. Grounded in deep archival research, Nirenberg examines violence against religious minorities—Jews and Muslims—in the lands of the Christian Crown of Aragon in northeastern Spain and southern France. Navigating between rose-tinted and bleak accounts of this past, he makes the surprising argument that the long coexistence between Jews, Christians, and Muslims depended on regular and almost ritualistic violence between them. Violence, he proposes, enabled peace.

By David Nirenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Communities of Violence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the wake of modern genocide, we tend to think of violence against minorities as a sign of intolerance, or, even worse, a prelude to extermination. Violence in the Middle Ages, however, functioned differently, according to David Nirenberg. In this provocative book, he focuses on specific attacks against minorities in fourteenth-century France and the Crown of Aragon (Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia). He argues that these attacks--ranging from massacres to verbal assaults against Jews, Muslims, lepers, and prostitutes--were often perpetrated not by irrational masses laboring under inherited ideologies and prejudices, but by groups that manipulated and reshaped the available discourses on…


Book cover of Medieval Iberia, Second Edition: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources

Hussein Fancy Author Of The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon

From my list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hussein Fancy is a Professor of History at Yale University where he teaches medieval history with a particular focus on medieval Spain and North Africa. His research, writing, and teaching focus on the entwined histories of not only Jews, Christians, and Muslims but also Latin and Arabic in the Middle Ages. He has traveled and lived extensively in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Hussein's book list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain

Hussein Fancy Why did Hussein love this book?

I have used this collection of translated primary sources for over a decade to teach students. It covers the whole period of medieval Spain, from the arrival of Muslim conquerors in 711 to the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, and allows one to confront for themselves the paradoxes of coexistence, collaboration, and violence that characterized this place and period. A thoughtful introduction precedes each document.

By Olivia Remie Constable (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Medieval Iberia, Second Edition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For some historians, medieval Iberian society was one marked by peaceful coexistence and cross-cultural fertilization; others have sketched a harsher picture of Muslims and Christians engaged in an ongoing contest for political, religious, and economic advantage culminating in the fall of Muslim Granada and the expulsion of the Jews in the late fifteenth century. The reality that emerges in Medieval Iberia is more nuanced than either of these scenarios can comprehend. Now in an expanded, second edition, this monumental collection offers unparalleled access to the multicultural complexity of the lands that would become modern Portugal and Spain.
The documents collected…


Book cover of The Moor's Last Sigh

Hussein Fancy Author Of The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon

From my list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hussein Fancy is a Professor of History at Yale University where he teaches medieval history with a particular focus on medieval Spain and North Africa. His research, writing, and teaching focus on the entwined histories of not only Jews, Christians, and Muslims but also Latin and Arabic in the Middle Ages. He has traveled and lived extensively in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Hussein's book list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain

Hussein Fancy Why did Hussein love this book?

The paradoxes of medieval Spain have not only inspired scholars but also novelists. However different their methods, both share the desire to understand the present through the distant past. I read The Moor’s Last Sigh as an undergraduate, long before I had any idea that I wanted to become a historian. Rushdie’s novel is a family saga that traces a path backward from modern India to the Jews, Christians, and Muslims of medieval Spain. It’s a rambling and phantasmagorical tale that meditates on a lost world, in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims shared the same time and place.

By Salman Rushdie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moor's Last Sigh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The Booker Prize-winning, bestselling author of Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses combines a ferociously witty family saga with a surreally imagined and sometimes blasphemous chronicle of modern India and flavors the mixture with peppery soliloquies on art, ethnicity, religious fanaticism, and the terrifying power of love.

“Fierce, phantasmagorical … a huge, sprawling, exuberant novel.” —The New York Times

Moraes "Moor" Zogoiby, the last surviving scion of a dynasty of Cochinese spice merchants and crime lords, is also a compulsive storyteller and an exile. As he travels a route that takes him from India to Spain, he…


Book cover of From Muslim Fortress to Christian Castle: Social and Cultural Change in Medieval Spain

Aleksander Pluskowski Author Of The Archaeology of the Prussian Crusade: Holy War and Colonisation

From my list on the cultural impact of the crusades.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in London, but growing up in a Polish family ensured that I was well aware of the history of the Teutonic Order. As a post-doctoral researcher in Cambridge, I was fortunate enough to gain access to archaeological material from the magnificent castle at Malbork in north Poland, the Order’s medieval headquarters. That moment really spurred my interest in the Northern Crusades, after which I spent a decade working across the eastern Baltic. I’ve also had the opportunity to excavate medieval frontier sites at both ends of the Mediterranean. As an archaeologist, I always found the lived experiences of these societies far more interesting than the traditional military histories written about them.

Aleksander's book list on the cultural impact of the crusades

Aleksander Pluskowski Why did Aleksander love this book?

When visiting the spectacular medieval monuments of Spain and Portugal that emblematize centuries of Islamic and Christian rule, it is impossible to ignore their surrounding landscapes, often dramatic, always thought-provoking. They remain powerful inspirations for my own work, and Thomas Glick’s wide-ranging book, which spans the entirety of the Iberian Middle Ages, stands out as a landmark of Anglophone scholarship on medieval Spain which uses the landscape as a fundamental lens on cultural change. He elegantly blends archaeological and geographic evidence with written sources to place the transformation of the landscapes of al-Andalus at the heart of understanding the implications of Christian ‘feudal’ rule. Whilst our knowledge of both Islamic and Christian cultural landscapes has advanced since this book was published, it remains a bold and thoughtful overview.

By Thomas F. Glick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Muslim Fortress to Christian Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This analysis of early Spanish history draws on a wide range of sources, archaeological as well as written. Thomas F. Glick explores the history of Spain from the Roman province, through the Visigothic and Arab Conquests, to the Christian Reconquest and reorganization of society in the 13th century. The author argues that three key transitions took place in culture and landscape: the development of castles which marked the move from the Spanish "dark" to "middle" age, the transition to feudalism, and finally the transition from Islamic to Christian Spain as a result of the Reconquest. He shows how these transitions…


Book cover of The Long Ships

Daniel Ben-Horin Author Of Substantial Justice

From my list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

Humor is based on surprise and the ‘foreign’ is often surprising. As I traveled all over the world for work, I searched out local authors and found myself laughing. It started with At Swim Two Birds and has never stopped.

Daniel's book list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of

Daniel Ben-Horin Why did Daniel love this book?

I remember buying The Long Ships about twenty years ago on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. Generally speaking, 1950s Swedish novels about Vikings are not my thing, but there was an absolutely over-the-top introduction from Michael Chabon.…'best novel ever’ kind of stuff…so I bought it.

Since then, I have recommended it to dozens of people, almost all of whom have, often to their surprise, loved it and recommended it to others. My favorite recommendation was to a pal whose daughter absconded with it and was reading it on a parapet in southern Spain when a guy came by and asked her what she was reading. She showed him the book, he perused it gravely, and then tore out the frontispiece and used it to roll a joint. This is a very satisfying book in every way.

Don’t get it confused with the derivative Norwegian comedy series, Norsemen. The Long Ships…

By Frans G. Bengtsson, Michael Meyer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Long Ships as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This saga brings alive the world of the 10th century AD when the Vikings raided the coasts of England.

Acclaimed as one of the best historical novels ever written, this engaging saga of Viking adventure in 10th century northern Europe has a very appealing young hero, Orm Tostesson, whose story we follow from inexperienced youth to adventurous old age, through slavery and adventure to a royal marriage and the search for great treasure. Viking expeditions take him to lands as far apart as England, Moorish Spain, Gaardarike (the country that was to become Russia), and the long road to Miklagard.…


Book cover of Cantares Gallegos

Lisa Rose Wright Author Of Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart

From my list on Galicia Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in beautiful green Galicia for 14 years and am passionately in love with this undiscovered area of Spain. Whilst writing my own travelogue memoirs, I have avidly researched my adopted country and love nothing more than to travel the area, discovering new delights round each corner. I have discovered that Galicia is not just ‘that wet bit of Spain’ and is in fact a whole world away from the Mediterranean costas of the south with its own language – the language of poets, its own identity, and its very own being. Here I have tried to choose books I feel demonstrate that uniqueness, that special quality which makes Galicia extraordinary.

Lisa's book list on Galicia Spain

Lisa Rose Wright Why did Lisa love this book?

To really understand Galicia I feel one needs to read some of the evocative Galician poets. Galicia is a land of poets and of writers, and the Galician language has been associated with poetry since the middle ages. Rosalia de Castro was known as ‘Galicia’s nightingale’ by her biographer Failde, and she loved her homeland with a real passion. This passion shines through in her works, none more so than Cantares Gallegas. Her poems are simply told tales of love and loss, of her beloved country and of her people, which evoke all the senses. Rosalia de Castro died in 1885 but her words are still quoted with passion by Galegos today. I was unable to find an English translation of Cantares Gallegas but if you can read Castro’s works in the original language, then it will give a far greater understanding of this unique land in which I…

By Rosalia de Castro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cantares Gallegos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Escrito en gallego, este libro marca con paso fuerte la literatura de un pueblo. Los Cantares gallegos arrancan de la imitación y de la glosa, entroncando con los viejos poemas de lírica galaico-portuguesa medieval, para cumplir un objetivo concreto: cantar a Galicia, sus paisajes y tierras, sus rías y romerías, sus foliadas y costumbres, sus antiguas tradiciones y sus mitos campesinos.


Book cover of The Pilgrimage: A Contemporary Quest for Ancient Wisdom

Astrid V. J. Author Of The Companion's Tale

From my list on uplifting and transformational stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning and USA Today bestselling South African author, social anthropologist, and transformational life coach. Human transformation and the question of human social nature are key themes in all of my writing, which explores the experiences of people on the margins or with a background of overlapping cultures. I am a book dragon who loves reading adventures in almost every genre and that broad scope of my reading explorations has wormed its way into my writing style which, though broadly defined as fantasy, encompasses elements from other styles in a rich and ‘aromatic’ blend.

Astrid's book list on uplifting and transformational stories

Astrid V. J. Why did Astrid love this book?

This deeply moving tale in Coelho’s well-known philosophical style was my first-ever conscious encounter with key principles of transformation. I’d read some of his other books but although they were uplifting, this one resonated so powerfully I realised it contained keys to unlocking my own self-exploration. It touched me so deeply I created a list of quotes that resonated with me and kept them close, even learning some by heart.

By Paulo Coelho, Julia Sanches (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Pilgrimage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this gripping story, Paulo Coelho is on a quest for the ultimate in self-knowledge, wisdom and spiritual mastery.

Guided by his mysterious companion Petrus, he takes the road to Santiago, going through a series of trials and tests along the way, even coming face to face with someone who may just be the devil himself. Why is the road to the simple life so hard? Will Paulo be strong enough to complete the journey towards humility, belief and faith?

The Pilgrimage paved the way to Paulo Coehlo's international best-selling novel The Alchemist. In many ways, these two volumes are…


Book cover of Exotic Nation: Maurophilia and the Construction of Early Modern Spain

Teresa Tinsley Author Of Reconciliation and Resistance in Early Modern Spain: Hernando de Baeza and the Catholic Monarchs

From my list on memories of Moorish Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an avid Hispanist and have for a long time been fascinated by the mix of cultures in medieval Spain. Soon after 9-11, I was forced to take part in a barefoot ritual of security checks on arriving at Zaragoza airport to see something of the Moorish heritage there, and it hit me how important the way we tell the story of ‘Moors and Christians’ is to our own times. My own experience as a linguist and of living abroad made me particularly interested in people who are able to see both sides of a story and transfer between cultures. This is what I researched further in my Ph.D. in relation to the demise of Muslim Granada. 

Teresa's book list on memories of Moorish Spain

Teresa Tinsley Why did Teresa love this book?

This is a book that made me think again about the ‘Moorishness’ of Spain.

How to square the repression and ultimate expulsion of people of Muslim origin in the early sixteen hundreds with the obvious delight taken in aspects of their material culture such as architecture, fashion, and horsemanship, not to mention the sympathetic portrayal of Moorish characters in sixteenth-century Spanish literature?

It’s a well-argued book full of fascinating examples which examine and enlighten this paradox. 

By Barbara Fuchs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Exotic Nation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the Western imagination, Spain often evokes the colorful culture of al-Andalus, the Iberian region once ruled by Muslims. Tourist brochures inviting visitors to sunny and romantic Andalusia, home of the ingenious gardens and intricate arabesques of Granada's Alhambra Palace, are not the first texts to trade on Spain's relationship to its Moorish past. Despite the fall of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs in 1492 and the subsequent repression of Islam in Spain, Moorish civilization continued to influence both the reality and the perception of the Christian nation that emerged in place of al-Andalus.

In Exotic Nation, Barbara Fuchs explores…


Book cover of The Legacy of Muslim Spain Volume 1

Steven Nightingale Author Of Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God

From my list on the truth about Spanish history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer who lived in the city of Granada for almost four years, in the uncanny barrio of the Albayzin. The daily blessings of life there are powerful and cumulative, and I wrote a book in honor of such luminosity; and I wrote it, as well, because most of us have been lied to about Spanish history. But the truth, like the poetry of Garcia Lorca, cannot be suppressed. In my sojourn in Spain, and in my visits over the years, I have found Granada to be a treasure-house of stories and poetry; and in flamenco singing, the home of one of the most powerful art-forms of music in the world.

Steven's book list on the truth about Spanish history

Steven Nightingale Why did Steven love this book?

Incomparable. In the long effort by scholars to establish the facts about the brilliant period of Al-Andalus—711-1492—this book is a breakthrough and a marvel. Salma Khadra Jayyusi assembled the leading scholars in the field on a whole host of subjects, and the two volumes have everything from meditations on broad historical themes to detailed accounts of book-making, ceramics, and techniques of dyeing and weaving silk. No serious reader of the history of Spain should have to live without these two extraordinary volumes.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Spain, the Middle Ages, and Muslims?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Spain, the Middle Ages, and Muslims.

Spain Explore 193 books about Spain
The Middle Ages Explore 409 books about the Middle Ages
Muslims Explore 83 books about Muslims