The best books about Spain

44 authors have picked their favorite books about Spain and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

Besides being delighted by the title, I was keen to read this highly-recommended book about moving to Spain. Victoria and her long-suffering husband really did up sticks and buy a home in a tiny mountain village in Andalucía. I was dying to know how they got on.

What a treat. This exquisitely written book is packed with hilarious tales about their property restorations, the local folks, and the battles they have with a psychotic cockerel. Really, it’s true! I learned about the region, loved Victoria’s character descriptions and finished wanting more. Rumour has it that many folks wanted to dash over to Spain to join them after reading this gem – and I’m not surprised. Happily, ‘Chickens’ is the first in a best-selling series from this award-winning author. I have read every book so far, and each has been an absolute winner.

Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

By Victoria Twead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

★ Wall Street Journal Top 10 bestseller ★

★ New York Times Bestselling author ★


If Joe and Vicky had known what relocating to a tiny mountain village in Andalucía would REALLY be like, they might have hesitated... 

They have no idea of the culture shock in store. No idea they'll become reluctant chicken farmers and own the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. No idea they'll help capture a vulture or be rescued by a mule. 

Will they stay, or return to the relative sanity of England?

Includes Spanish recipes donated by the village ladies and a link to FREE…


Who am I?

Beth Haslam grew up on a farm in Wales and was mostly seen messing around with her beloved animals. When she and her husband, Jack, bought a second home in France, their lives changed forever. Computers and mobile phones swapped places with understanding French customs and wrestling with the local dialect. These days, Beth is occupied as never before raising and saving animals, writing, and embracing everything their corner of rural France has to offer. And she loves it!


I wrote...

Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 1

By Beth Haslam,

Book cover of Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 1

What is my book about?

Buying a country estate in France seemed such a simple thing to accomplish. When Beth, her irascible husband Jack, and their two fat dogs set off, little do they know that it will become such an extraordinary adventure. Surviving near-death experiences, they drive thousands of kilometres around French estates steeped in history and crazy aristocrats. Will they find their dream home, or return to Britain defeated?

Driving Over Lemons

By Chris Stewart,

Book cover of Driving Over Lemons

Chris Stewart had a circuitous path to ex-pat life in Spain. He was the drummer for the band Genisis, a sheep shearer, and a travel writer. Then he and his wife bought a farm in Andalusia and grew olives, almonds, and lemons. His book Driving Over Lemons was an unexpected hit with 350,000 copies sold. Suddenly, people were making a pilgrimage to their farm in Spain. Although Stewart follows some of the familiar tropes of the genre (the resourceful locals, the quirky members of the ex-pat community), his writing is fresh and funny. Unlike Peter Kerr, Stewart and his wife still live in Spain.

Driving Over Lemons

By Chris Stewart,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Driving Over Lemons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special anniversary edition with an updated chapter set 25 years on by Chris Stewart.

Over two decades ago we set up Sort of Books to help our friend, the some-time Genesis drummer Chris Stewart, bring his sunlit stories of life on a Spanish mountain farm to print. Ever the optimist, Chris hoped to earn enough money to buy a second-hand tractor for his farm. He got his tractor, as the book spent a year on the Sunday Times Top 10 charts and went on to sell a million and a half copies.

His story is a classic. A dreamer…


Who am I?

I am passionate about the written word and effective communication. My articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and magazines and for two decades I taught writing on the university level. Travel writing is a subset of my experience as editor of the best-selling In Mind literary anthologies and editor and writer for more than a dozen guidebooks. In addition, I have been “first reader” and editor for prospective authors and shepherded several books to publication, the most recent Red Clay Suzie by first-time novelist Jeffrey Lofton (publication January 2023). 


I wrote...

Spain in Mind

By Alice Leccese Powers,

Book cover of Spain in Mind

What is my book about?

Spain in Mind is the most recent book in my “In Mind” literary travel anthologies published by Vintage/Random House. Others in the series include Italy in Mind, Ireland in Mind, France in Mind, and Tuscany in Mind. Comprising short stories, novel excerpts, journal entries, letters, and poetry, Spain in Mind captures the traditions of Spanish life, but also glimpses of modern Spain. Contributors include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, James Michener, Calvin Trillin, and, of course, Ernest Hemingway. Spain in Mind has been a bestseller since its publication—a literary guide for travelers and a literary souvenir for all who love Spain. 

Spanish for Dummies

By Susana Wald, Cecie Kraynak,

Book cover of Spanish for Dummies

Who hasn’t learnt useful stuff from one of the “For Dummies” books? Our command of the Spanish language was lamentable when we first moved to Spain and we had to learn super-fast. The step-by-step approach in this book made learning the language a little less daunting and the accompanying CD was great for hearing how words should be pronounced. Although not hugely enthusiastic about following the course, the Spanish girl’s husky voice held Joe’s attention...

Spanish for Dummies

By Susana Wald, Cecie Kraynak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spanish for Dummies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn Latin American Spanish quickly and painlessly The job market for those who are bilingual is expanding rapidly. Businesses and government agencies are hiring translators; retailers and advertisers are concentrating more energy in targeting the Spanish-speaking; and hospitals and agencies are seeking to overcome language barriers. Whether you re a student studying Spanish, a traveler gearing up for a trip to a Spanish-speaking country and need to learn the basics, or a upwardly mobile looking to get ahead of the pack in your career by learning a second language, Spanish For Dummies, 2nd edition is your hands-on guide to quickly…


Who am I?

Victoria Twead is the New York Times bestselling author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools and the subsequent six books in the Old Fools series. After living in a remote mountain village in Spain for eleven years, and owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Europe, Victoria and Joe retired to Australia. Another joyous life-chapter has begun.


I wrote...

Book cover of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

What is my book about?

Forget quiet retirement. If we’d known what relocating to a tiny Spanish mountain village would really be like, we might have hesitated. The truth was that Joe and I were thrown into a new life of surprises, adventures, and laughs. Every day was packed full of fun and sunshine that spilled over into six more books in the Old Fools series.

How could we guess that we’d become reluctant chicken farmers causing fights amongst the village ladies as they queued for fresh eggs? We had no idea we’d own the most dangerous cockerel in Spain, or help capture a vulture, or be rescued by the village mule. And when the village ladies gave me their favourite recipes, of course I shared them in the books. I  guarantee they are delicious.  

Buying a Home in Spain

By David Hampshire,

Book cover of Buying a Home in Spain: A Survival Handbook

If you are moving to Spain, you’ll appreciate David Hampshire’s guides for deciding which region might suit you, how to choose a home and settling into your new way of life. Hampshire includes vital advice like making a Spanish will, driving and finance. He even provides checklists of things to do before the move, and after arrival. We’d have appreciated advice on what to do if one's removal van knocks over the village fountain, or how to stop our cockerel attacking visitors, but I guess we were just unlucky.

Buying a Home in Spain

By David Hampshire,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Buying a Home in Spain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written in an entertaining style with a touch of humour, Buying a Home in Spain covers everything a prospective buyer could wish to know including buying for investment, the best places to live, finding your dream home, money matters, the purchase procedure, moving house, taxation, insurance, letting and much, much more. It is packed with vital information and insider tips to help readers avoid disasters that can turn their dream home into a nightmare. Buying a Home in Spain is essential reading for anyone planning to buy a home in Spain and is designed to guide readers through the property…


Who am I?

Victoria Twead is the New York Times bestselling author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools and the subsequent six books in the Old Fools series. After living in a remote mountain village in Spain for eleven years, and owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Europe, Victoria and Joe retired to Australia. Another joyous life-chapter has begun.


I wrote...

Book cover of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

What is my book about?

Forget quiet retirement. If we’d known what relocating to a tiny Spanish mountain village would really be like, we might have hesitated. The truth was that Joe and I were thrown into a new life of surprises, adventures, and laughs. Every day was packed full of fun and sunshine that spilled over into six more books in the Old Fools series.

How could we guess that we’d become reluctant chicken farmers causing fights amongst the village ladies as they queued for fresh eggs? We had no idea we’d own the most dangerous cockerel in Spain, or help capture a vulture, or be rescued by the village mule. And when the village ladies gave me their favourite recipes, of course I shared them in the books. I  guarantee they are delicious.  

Tapas Revolution

By Omar Allibhoy,

Book cover of Tapas Revolution

Not only did we fall head-over-heels in love with Spain, but we also developed a love of Spanish food. The village ladies gave us recipes scribbled on the backs of envelopes which we often lost, so this book by the delicious Omar Allibhoy holds a permanent place on our bookshelf now. Believe me, his croquetas de jamón are to die for, and I agree with the reviewer who claims that Omar changed the way she cooks tortillas forever. The photos of the finished dishes are arty and attractive and (cough, cough) there are plenty of Omar himself which are also pretty easy on the eye. If you don’t believe me, check him out on YouTube.

Tapas Revolution

By Omar Allibhoy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Omar Allibhoy is the new face of Spanish cooking: he's charismatic, effusive, passionate and wants to bring Spanish food to the people of the UK.

Tapas Revolution is the breakthrough book on simple Spanish cookery. Using everyday storecupboard ingredients, Omar offers a new take on the classic tortilla de patatas, making this iconic dish easier than ever, and brings a twist to pinchos morunos and pollo con salsa. With sections covering vegetables, salads, rice dishes, meat, fish, cakes and desserts, the emphasis is on simplicity of ingredients and methods - reinforcing the fact that absolutely anyone can cook this versatile…


Who am I?

Victoria Twead is the New York Times bestselling author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools and the subsequent six books in the Old Fools series. After living in a remote mountain village in Spain for eleven years, and owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Europe, Victoria and Joe retired to Australia. Another joyous life-chapter has begun.


I wrote...

Book cover of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

What is my book about?

Forget quiet retirement. If we’d known what relocating to a tiny Spanish mountain village would really be like, we might have hesitated. The truth was that Joe and I were thrown into a new life of surprises, adventures, and laughs. Every day was packed full of fun and sunshine that spilled over into six more books in the Old Fools series.

How could we guess that we’d become reluctant chicken farmers causing fights amongst the village ladies as they queued for fresh eggs? We had no idea we’d own the most dangerous cockerel in Spain, or help capture a vulture, or be rescued by the village mule. And when the village ladies gave me their favourite recipes, of course I shared them in the books. I  guarantee they are delicious.  

Book cover of The Bible in Spain; or, the journeys, adventures, and imprisonments of an Englishman, in an attempt to circulate the Scriptures in the Peninsula

On the face of it, this classic 19th-century travelogue is about one man travelling through Spain and Portugal in the 1830s distributing Bibles… which is not exactly a page-turning idea. And indeed the first section – set in Portugal – is unbearably tedious (in fact, just skip it altogether). But once Borrow crosses the border into Spain it becomes a whole other book. It’s as if he can finally cast off his dour, pious disguise and write about what really excites him: Spanish Gypsies. Already speaking their language (the man was a machine when it came to picking up foreign tongues), he falls in with them almost immediately, leading to numerous colourful adventures as he wends his way in Quixotic fashion across the country. The tales he tells are exotic and Romantic (with a capital ‘R’) and capture something of the ineffable essence of the country: a playful, mysterious and…


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.

Tuning Up at Dawn

By Tomas Graves,

Book cover of Tuning Up at Dawn: A Memoir of Music and Majorca

The books in this list are all written by non-Spaniards, for obvious reasons. This one is almost an exception. Tomás Graves is the eighth son of the English poet and novelist Robert Graves. He has lived almost his entire life on the island of Mallorca, and is, effectively, as native as they come. Tuning Up at Dawn is a wonderfully lyrical account of his upbringing, his memories of his father, and his life as a musician. It is deliciously evocative of a slower world which has now all but disappeared.

Tuning Up at Dawn

By Tomas Graves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tuning Up at Dawn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A loving portrait of the other Majorca, and of a blissful life there revolving around the magic of music - a book to savour, perfect for escaping those crowded beaches.

Tomas Graves was born in and belongs to Majorca. His father, the great love poet Robert Graves, famously ended up on the beautiful Mediterranean island pretty much by accident, but it is the happiest accident of Tomas' life. His love for the special beauties of Majorcan culture shines on every page of this infectiously happy book. This is the real Majorca. 'Tuning Up at Dawn' examines both the suppression and…


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 Ornament of the World

By María Rosa Menocal,

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

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.

The Ornament of the World

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.


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon

By Hussein Fancy,

Book cover of The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon

What is my book about?

A multiple award-winning book, The Mercenary Mediterranean tells the history of a motley group of Muslim soldiers from North Africa who joined the armies and became the personal protectors of the Christian kings of the Crown of Aragon in the Middle Ages. Grounded in extensive research in Latin, Arabic, and Spanish archival documents, Hussein Fancy unravels the complex dynamics of the relationship between these foreign Muslim soldiers and Christian kings. In doing so, he challenges our understanding of not only the distant past but also the present. 

The Alchemist

By Paulo Coelho,

Book cover of The Alchemist

The Alchemist is a perfect example of visionary/metaphysical fiction that transcends the boundaries of the five senses and opens readers to new thoughts and ideas. Combining the visible with the invisible, the ordinary with the sacred, The Alchemist tells the inspiring story of a shepherd boy’s journey to self-actualization. As a reader, I experienced first-hand the wisdom of the adage, “Listen to your heart” and was reminded that there is opportunity all around me if only I open my mind and heart to the omens scattered along my life path.

The Alchemist

By Paulo Coelho,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book - a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life's path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is…


Who am I?

Books have the power to do so much more than to simply entertain. I believe it’s my job as a fiction writer to condense research of complex subjects into understandable language and then play it out in story. My Enter the Between fiction series introduces readers to the world of metaphysics—the bridge between the seen and the unseen, science, and spirituality—which serves as a key to understanding consciousness, death, and the meaning of life. I’ve spent twenty years researching contemporary paganism, holistic theory, quantum mechanics, and transpersonal psychology to come up with stories that bridge science and spirituality with paranormal, supernatural underpinnings, and contemplative messaging that aims toward a kinder, wiser, more peaceful world.


I wrote...

Between Will and Surrender

By Margaret Duarte,

Book cover of Between Will and Surrender

What is my book about?

Marjorie Veil has been conditioned to ignore her own truth, to give away her power, to subjugate in relationships with others, and to settle for the path of least resistance. But she has many surprises in store, for there are synchronistic forces at work in her life that, if she listens, will lead to her authentic heart and happiness. The seemingly impossible happens in the Los Padres National Forest where Marjorie goes on retreat to make sense of her life when she believes she is going insane. The innocence of the Native American orphan Marjorie befriends, as well as more mystery and adventure than she bargained for, show her how love can heal in what turns out to be a transformative spiritual quest.

History in the Making

By J.H. Elliott,

Book cover of History in the Making

John Elliott is a world-class historian of Spain and its Empire, his reflections on how to write history without becoming immersed in jargon or obscure theories are beautifully woven into the story of how he himself learned the craft of writing clear, accessible, and original works of history, taking the reader from Cambridge to Franco’s Spain. This is a charming book with a valuable message.

History in the Making

By J.H. Elliott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History in the Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An eminent historian offers rare insight into his craft and the way it has changed over his lifetime

From the vantage point of nearly sixty years devoted to research and the writing of history, J. H. Elliott steps back from his work to consider the progress of historical scholarship. From his own experiences as a historian of Spain, Europe, and the Americas, he provides a deft and sharp analysis of the work that historians do and how the field has changed since the 1950s.

The author begins by explaining the roots of his interest in Spain and its past, then…


Who am I?

We live in an increasingly connected world. But human beings have always made connections with one another across space, and the space I find especially exciting is water - whether the narrow space of seas such as the Mediterranean and the Baltic, or the broader and wilder spaces of the great oceans. These are spaces that link distant countries and continents, across which people have brought objects, ideas and religions as well as themselves - a history of migrants, merchants, mercenaries, missionaries, and many others that can be recovered from shipwrecks, travellers' tales, cargo manifests, and many other sources, a history, ultimately, of the origins of our globalized world.


I wrote...

The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans

By David Abulafia,

Book cover of The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans

What is my book about?

This book brings together the history of the different oceans into what became, after Columbus, a closely inter-connected story of movement across the seas by merchants, migrants, missionaries, mercenaries, and of course slaves; and for me to it was a journey in imagination across space and time from ancient Polynesia to the present day.

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