The best books about Barcelona

2 authors have picked their favorite books about Barcelona and why they recommend each book.

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Rápido, Rápido

By Lourdes Miquel López, Neus Sans,

Book cover of Rápido, Rápido

This is a classic whole year (or semester) method to learn Spanish. I recommend it both for teachers and students since it is so complete and so well structured, that it can be well profited from both sides. 

The method is designed to fast forward and the new versions have been improved with the help of teachers who already used it, which is so interesting. It’s well organized: 18 units divided in 5 points each (goals; texts-oral and written; grammar; activities for grammar and lexic practice; and a final task to be ideally prepared in group: a script for a radio show).

The pack is completed with audios that show the differences between Spanish language all over the world.

Who am I?

I’m a writer and a Spanish teacher. Creative and a little crazy. I love teaching people who arrive in my city (Madrid) to live for a while. I love writing fiction, specially novels, but also poetry and little stories. Sometimes I mix both skills and create texts as the one below. I dream about winning the lottery but I never buy tickets, and I also love to sing with my guitar when I’m alone. Pleased to meet you.

I wrote...

100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

By Patricia Lorente,

Book cover of 100 Entertaining Short Stories to Practice Your Spanish in Present Tense

What is my book about?

This is a book to learn Spanish language. To read little silly stories. To learn vocabulary having fun. To fix words in your mind. To practice structure and be more confident with present tenses before starting with the past. To feel ready to keep learning.

On my journey as a teacher I detected a lack of texts in present tense with students of basic levels. It’s not common to just talk or write in simple present, but it’s not impossible. A hundred short texts are enough to have a wide vocabulary review on different topics, with the help of highlighted key words and a preface with grammar, basic verbs, and essential words to be as fluent as you can be, being a beginner. 

Forgotten Places

By Nick Lloyd,

Book cover of Forgotten Places: Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War

Another book which brings the history of a city to life. For years, Nick Lloyd has been leading highly informative guided walks around Barcelona sites associated with the Spanish Civil War, and now he has compiled much of his vast knowledge on the subject in this excellent book. Packed with fascinating details and anecdotes, this is pretty much the last word on the subject.

Who am I?

Jason Webster is the international best-selling author of fifteen books on Spain, including Duende, Sacred Sierra, The Spy with 29 Names, Violencia: A New History of Spain, and the Max Cámara series of crime novels. He is a publisher, broadcaster, award-winning photographer, a board member of The Scheherazade Foundation, and is married to the Flamenco dancer Salud.

I wrote...

Why Spain Matters: The Story of the Land that Shaped the Western World

By Jason Webster,

Book cover of Why Spain Matters: The Story of the Land that Shaped the Western World

What is my book about?

Frequently overlooked as just another southern European country, Spain has, in fact, long predicted the future of the West – from the Crusades to the Renaissance, the Discovery of the Americas, World War II, and the recent Occupy Movement. Moreover, without Spain, such emblematic Western concepts as rational thought, surgery, ‘modern’ artistic expression, 1984, or the American cowboy would all be missing. 

Mixing decades of research with personal anecdotes, Why Spain Matters is veteran author Jason Webster’s page-turning story of a hugely influential country from its beginnings to the present day. It is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand Spain and a complex and changing world.

The July Guy

By Natasha Moore,

Book cover of The July Guy

This was the first book in Natasha’s Men of Lakeside series. Most people don’t realize that this book was one of the launch titles for an entire line of romances geared to readers who are looking for “older” characters. Personally, I loved The July Guy for the heroine. Anita is an independent, sexually-confident woman who makes no apologies for her life choices. In other words, she is like many of the women I know. And Noah is not your typical romance hero. He is a widower whose only experience had been with his wife. I love how skillfully Natasha flipped the near-virgin widow(er) trope.

Who am I?

Reading and writing romance about characters who are beyond the first blush of youth is important to me because these characters represent who I am and the people I know. We live in an unapologetically youth-centric culture. When I wrote my first book, I wrote about a 40-year-old heroine, not realizing that in traditional romance publishing, no one over 30, maybe 35, gets to fall in love. Well, I had news for them. I joined forces with some other like-minded readers and writers and we created a group on Facebook called Seasoned Romance, where we say you’re never too old to fall in love.  

I wrote...

Love Game

By Maggie Wells,

Book cover of Love Game

What is my book about?

Kate Snyder is at the top of her game. A former Wolcott University player, the WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist is now a coaching legend at the helm of the #1 college women's basketball team. But the university hires a football coach trying to escape scandal―paying him a lot more than she earns.

Danny McMillan had hoped for a smooth transition at Wolcott, but the fiery Coach Snyder made that impossible. Every time he and Kate are in a room together, snark and sparks fly. Danny gets her frustration, but her pay isn't his problem, right? When Kate and Danny finally see eye to eye, their sparks turn into something even hotter...and they need to figure out if this is more than just a game.

The Time of the Doves

By Mercè Rodoreda, David H. Rosenthal (translator),

Book cover of The Time of the Doves

The Time of the Doves is one of my favorite books of all time for its intimacy, immediacy, and unusual descriptive power. Natalia, a young woman living in Barcelona around the time of the Spanish Civil war, paints for the reader a vivid and seamless picture of her life from the inside out—her loves and losses, survival, the confusion of a world broken by chaos and violence and put back together again by perseverance and tenderness. A short but unforgettable read that I return to again and again.

Who am I?

I am an award-winning author and illustrator who works in a variety of genres, including Historical Fiction. When historical fiction is well done it conveys times and events as they were lived and breathed by real people. Historical fiction by diverse women tells the stories of those consistently left out of the “historical record.” Human life is rich and diverse, and the stories belong to all of us, not just those who have historically had the power to control the cultural narratives. As a writer and student of history, it has been my pleasure to explore characters that are not often represented, characters that are ordinary for their times, and extraordinary as well. 

I wrote...

Boy, Falling: The Sequel to House of Rougeaux

By Jenny Jaeckel,

Book cover of Boy, Falling: The Sequel to House of Rougeaux

What is my book about?

Harboring a grave secret, Gerard pursues a dream that leads him from New York City to Jazz Age-Paris, only to be drawn back by the family he has left behind. Continuing the family epic begun in House of Rougeaux, Boy, Falling spins together human yearning and what it means to be part of the fabric of life.

Spain in Our Hearts

By Adam Hochschild,

Book cover of Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Both Hemingway and Orwell show up in this compelling, well-written, and sweeping account of the war. Hochschild is a brilliant writer who was aspired to take up this topic by Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. Like he did in King Leopold’s Gold, Hochschild focuses his attention on a limited number of people making it easier to follow the story. The co-founder of Mother Jones, he brings to the book a lively magazine-style of narration. If Thomas’s work is too much, this is the one history worth reading. 

Who am I?

James McGrath Morris is the author of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War, which the Economist said was “as readable as a novel.” His previous work, Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press was a New York Times bestseller. His next book is Tony Hillerman: A Life.

I wrote...

The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, DOS Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War

By James McGrath Morris,

Book cover of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, DOS Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War

What is my book about?

Rich in evocative detail--from Paris cafés to Austrian chateaus, from the streets of Pamplona to the waters of Key West--The Ambulance Drivers tells the story of two aspiring writers, Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, who met in World War I and forged a twenty-year friendship that produced some of America's greatest novels, giving voice to a generation shaken by war.

In war, Hemingway found adventure, women, and a cause. Dos Passos saw only oppression and futility. Their different visions eventually turned their private friendship into a nasty public fight, fueled by money, jealousy, and lust. This is not only a biography of the turbulent friendship between two of the century's greatest writers but also an illustration of how war inspires and destroys, unites, and divides.


By Tom Oldfield, Matt Oldfield,

Book cover of Neymar: From the Playground to the Pitch

This isn’t one you’ll enjoy reading over your kid’s shoulder unless you truly are a diehard soccer fan. Matt and Tom Oldfield’s series of soccer-star bios are comfort food for tween fans - a bland, seemingly never-ending diet of rags to riches stories to inspire every kid with dreams of the Premier League. The prose is undemanding: “With his mohawk dyed red this time, Neymar Jr walked onto the stage. He couldn’t believe what was happening. His goal had beaten brilliant strikes by Wayne Rooney and Lionel Messi”. The story unfolds with a happy triumphalism: Neymar is spotted as a deft-footed child prodigy, he is scouted to the heights of Barcelona, he overcomes injuries, he puts the team first, he is a mega-star who does noble things for Brazil. If you’re not a soccer person, the Oldfields’ books on Lionel Messi, Harry Kane and Paul Pogba don’t read very differently.…

Who am I?

I am an expat Australian freelance writer living in Silicon Valley, and also the mother of two boys aged ten and seven. My boys are avid readers and it is an accepted rule that no one in our family speaks at breakfast. I have a bad habit of reading books over their shoulders, but my boys are still willing helpers on some current writing projects on kids’ fiction and circumnavigating the horribly sad “decline at nine”. I also have a PhD in South Asian Studies and have worked in commercial research and marketing.

My project is...

Madelaine @ Medium

I love to write and you can find some of my work on Medium. My last article was entitled Why Are Chihuahuas Filling Up Bay Area Shelters? 

Lie Beside Me

By Gytha Lodge,

Book cover of Lie Beside Me

Another thrilling book where reality is put on hold, when a young woman wakes up next to a corpse, with no recollection of how she got there. I was riveted as the truth was unpicked and facts and possibilities converged. The final ending is a masterclass in a suspenseful twist and you never see it coming.

Who am I?

I’m a bestselling author having had the privilege of writing books in the historical fiction and thriller categories. My Bastille Spy series was shortlisted for a HWA Gold Crown award, and my modern thriller, Black Widows, has enjoyed critical acclaim in The New York Times and The Daily Mail to name a few. I love to write a murder mystery with a difference, and always bring a large body of research to my books.

I wrote...

Black Widows

By Cate Quinn,

Book cover of Black Widows

What is my book about?

Blake Nelson had three perfect wives. Until one of them killed him. Blake's dead. His wife killed him. The question is...which one?

Rachel, Emily, and Tina have nothing in common - except that they share a husband and a homestead. When their beloved Blake is found dead under the desert sun, the questions pile up. But none of the widows know who would want to kill a good man like their husband. At least, that's what they'll tell the police...


By Lemniscates,

Book cover of Silence

What can we hear when we stop to listen, really listen, to the world around us? This gorgeously illustrated book by Lemniscates, a studio of artists and designers from Barcelona, depicts a girl’s journeys in nature and through the seasons. She names what she hears “in the silence,” such as “the wind playing with my kite,” “my heart when running,” or “my breath when still.” I love the simplicity of the art and the text, leaving room for readers to answer the question, “How many things can you hear?” The experience of reading the book is almost like a mindfulness meditation, but without any didactic component. I can’t recommend this book enough! 

Who am I?

Charlotte and the Quiet Place is somewhat autobiographical, as I tend to crave quiet. For many years, I’ve been meditating twice a day for 25 minutes. I relax my mind and body, sometimes silently repeating a word or sound or just breathing rhythmically. I’m almost always more peaceful and energized after meditating. In addition to being a writer, I’m a therapist with a mindfulness specialty. I believe deeply that every child (and adult, too) can tap into their quiet place inside by noticing what’s happening in their mind and body, no matter what’s going on in their lives. We all need this skill—now more than ever!  

I wrote...

Charlotte and the Quiet Place

By Deborah Sosin, Sara Woolley (illustrator),

Book cover of Charlotte and the Quiet Place

What is my book about?

Charlotte likes quiet. But wherever Charlotte goes, she is surrounded by noise—her yipping dog, Otto; the squeaky, creaky swings; the warbling, wailing sirens. Even in the library, children yammer and yell. Where can Charlotte find a quiet place? Sara Woolley’s vibrant watercolors bring Charlotte’s city to life when Otto leads her on a wild chase through the park. There, Charlotte discovers a quiet place where she never would have imagined.

Charlotte and the Quiet Place shows how a child discovers mindful breathing and the beauty of silence. Children will relate to the unfolding adventure and message of self-discovery and empowerment. 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Gold Award Winner, 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medalist, and 2015 National Parenting Publications Bronze Award Winner.

Vagabonds in France

By Michael A. Barry,

Book cover of Vagabonds in France

Vagabonds in France is a lighthearted book about an unexpected travel adventure to France. Please find out how life threw a lemon at this couple by losing their home and their attempt to make lemonade. Putting all their furniture in storage, they left everything behind to experience an adventure of a lifetime. With no mortgage or rent to pay, they left with no return date or home to come back to. They traveled from Florida (Tampa and Key West) to Portugal (Funchal, Madeira), to Spain (Malaga, Cartagena, and Barcelona), to the Cote d'Azur in the south of France (Antibes, Nice, Eze, St. Paul de Vence), to Provence (Arles, Avignon), then a month in Paris.

Who am I?

In today’s tech-obsessed world, social media may well be the perfect platform to showcase the world’s beauty to armchair travelers across the globe, but travel is so much more than just getting that perfect Instagram shot. Travel should be meaningful. It should excite and inspire you, rejuvenate and ground you, educate and challenge you, and most importantly, humble you. Travel gives us our most wondrous stories, our most cherished memories, and countless irreplaceable learnings that we can choose to pay forward to others. It teaches us about ourselves and each other, it broadens our horizons, and, just like a reset button, it forces us to refocus on what matters.

I wrote...

Mutiny of Rage: The 1917 Camp Logan Riots and Buffalo Soldiers in Houston

By Jaime Salazar,

Book cover of Mutiny of Rage: The 1917 Camp Logan Riots and Buffalo Soldiers in Houston

What is my book about?

Salado Creek, Texas, 1918: Thirteen black soldiers stood at attention in front of gallows erected specifically for their hanging. They had been convicted of participating in one of America’s most infamous black uprisings, the Camp Logan Mutiny, otherwise known as the 1917 Houston Riots. The revolt and ensuing riots were carried out by men of the 3rd Battalion of the all-black 24th U.S. Infantry Regiment—the famed Buffalo Soldiers—after members of the Houston Police Department violently menaced them and citizens of the local black community. This took place over one single bloody night.

In the wake of the uprising, scores lay dead, including bystanders, police, and soldiers. This incident remains one of Texas’ most complicated and misrepresented historical events. Mutiny of Rage sheds new light on a suppressed chapter in U.S. history.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories

By Ernest Hemingway,

Book cover of The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories

Hemingway understood that small things, seemingly insignificant events or (in the case of this story) a burned-out bearing can cause—in the true wild—consequences taking the characters into realms of danger and adventure they never sought nor could anticipate. Hemingway relies on the inner strength of his characters, facing the very reality they find themselves in, to bring dignity and hope to what could otherwise be a tragedy.

Who am I?

I have been to, and loved, North, Central, and especially East Africa for over fifty years. Only six times have I been to Africa on holiday; more often, perhaps twenty or more times, as a television producer. Working in Africa gains a perspective of reality that the glories of vacation do not. Each has its place, each its pitfalls like stalled plane rides with emergency landings in the bush or attacks by wildlife. But, in the end, the magic of the “otherness,” what an old friend called “primitava” captures one’s soul and changes your life.

I wrote...

Kidnapped on Safari

By Peter Riva,

Book cover of Kidnapped on Safari

What is my book about?

"Peter Riva’s singular ability to both entertain and inform is captured in this literary tour-de-force; a page-turner in every sense of the term."—David Ariosto, author of This is Cuba: An American Journalist Under Castro's Shadow and executive producer of Intelligence Squared

“Best of all, Riva delivers rat-a-tat action, rarely letting up, building to a nail-biter conclusion. Move over Jason Bourne. Baltazar is here." — Mary Glickman, bestselling author of Home in the Morning and National Jewish Book Award finalist for One More River

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