The most recommended books about Spain

Who picked these books? Meet our 164 experts.

164 authors created a book list connected to Spain, and here are their favorite Spain books.
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Book cover of The Battle for Wine and Love: Or How I Saved the World from Parkerization

Caro Feely Author Of Saving Our Skins: Building a Vineyard Dream in France

From my list on books about wine from a recovering wine geek.

Who am I?

I’m a wine writer, winemaker, organic wine farmer, and an accredited wine educator with decades of experience. I have loved wine since my first sip as a university student and wine is one of my life’s passions. I love how wine can connect you to a place, how it is like travel in a bottle, to a vintage, a place, a person. I’ve written five books about wine; I offer wine courses, tours and vineyard walks in South-West France and I live on the organic vineyard and winery that I co-founded with my husband. In my writing life, I’m also wine writer for Living magazine.

Caro's book list on books about wine from a recovering wine geek

Caro Feely Why did Caro love this book?

Alice’s book is a manifesto against homogenization, wine consultants, and 100-point scoring systems.

She travels to the Loire and Champagne in France, to Piedmont in Italy, and to Spain. She reveals what goes into industrial wines, the mechanical treatments like reverse osmosis, and the additives like yeasts and enzymes, tannins, sawdust, and oak chips.

This book is an excellent compendium of anecdotes, interesting people in the wine world, and why natural wine is good. You’ll learn about the world of wine, but especially about the world of wine through the lens of Alice Feiring’s passion, natural wine.

By Alice Feiring,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Battle for Wine and Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An “entertaining and passionate” connoisseur tours the vineyards of Europe and California, arguing for an old-fashioned appreciation of authenticity (The New York Times).

The drastic effects that influential wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. has had on the winemaking industry are best described as wine Parkerization. Many vintners are leaving old techniques behind and turning to chemistry and technology in order to please Parker’s palate. This led to the disappearance of James Beard Foundation Award–winning writer Alice Feiring’s favorite wines—and she was determined to learn why.
In a one-woman crusade that will have you wondering what exactly is in your…

Book cover of Two Old Fools on a Camel

Nick Albert Author Of Living the Dream in Rural Ireland

From my list on dealing with unexpected events.

Who am I?

Nick Albert is British, but for close to 20-years, he has lived in a ramshackle farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland with his wife and several unruly but affectionate dogs. He's the author of the bestselling comedy memoir series, Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds, and the twisty thriller Hunting the Wrecking Crew. Nick's greatest pleasure in life has always been to make people laugh. Although outwardly capable and in control of his life, Nick considers himself to be the poster boy for the saying, "If it can go wrong, it will!" Therefore, he has a good eye for inspiring books about dealing with unexpected events.

Nick's book list on dealing with unexpected events

Nick Albert Why did Nick love this book?

The author and her husband are trapped in an almost untenable situation, but they pull together to see things through to a satisfactory conclusion. I thought it was a great example of that British philosophy to "Keep calm and carry on."

In this third memoir in her enjoyable Two Old Fools series, Victoria and her husband Joe find that rising costs and a shrinking bank balance are threatening their idyllic retirement. After applying online, they leave their beloved Spanish mountain village to teach for a year in Bahrain. But their timing couldn't have been worse. Just after they arrive, the Arab revolution erupts, throwing the country into violent events that would make world headlines. Suddenly they are trapped. Should they leave and risk losing their Spanish dream or stay and face a greater hazard?

By Victoria Twead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

★ New York Times Bestselling author ★
"James Herriot meets Driving over Lemons"

Reluctantly, Vicky and Joe leave their Spanish mountain village to work for a year in the Middle East. How could they know that the Arab revolution was poised to erupt, throwing them into violent events that would make world headlines?

Teaching Arab kids, working with crazy teachers, forming life-long friendships and being placed under house arrest, Vicky and Joe laugh and lurch through their year in Bahrain.

Includes FREE photobook and Arabic recipes from Nadia Sawalha.

Book cover of Pilgrim Stories: On and Off the Road to Santiago: Journeys Along an Ancient Way in Modern Spain

Beebe Bahrami Author Of The Way of the Wild Goose: Three Pilgrimages Following Geese, Stars, and Hunches on the Camino de Santiago

From my list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago.

Who am I?

I'm an award-winning writer, anthropologist, and trekker. Much of my writing is centered on France, Spain, and Portugal and the trails of the Camino de Santiago. My passion for the Camino and its rich legacy arose over three decades ago as a study abroad student in southern Spain when I first heard about the Camino and journeyed across Spain, France, and Portugal. I knew then that my life would forever be bound up with going deeper into the rich histories, cultures, and places of these many-layered geographies. I'm best known for my travel memoirs (Café Oc, Café Neandertal), guidebooks (Moon Camino de Santiago, The Spiritual Traveler Spain), and widely published travel essays. 

Beebe's book list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago

Beebe Bahrami Why did Beebe love this book?

Pilgrim Stories is an engaging anthropologist’s account of gathering and making sense of pilgrim experiences and stories from all walks of life, before, during, and after their pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. It is a wonderful work that captures the complex and transformative pilgrimage process as it plays out on individual and collective physical, psychological, and spiritual levels. 

By Nancy Louise Frey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Each year thousands of men and women from more than sixty countries journey by foot and bicycle across northern Spain, following the medieval pilgrimage road known as the Camino de Santiago. Their destination is Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the apostle James are said to be buried. These modern-day pilgrims and the role of the pilgrimage in their lives are the subject of Nancy Louise Frey's fascinating book. Unlike the religiously-oriented pilgrims who visit Marian shrines such as Lourdes, the modern Road of St. James attracts an ecumenical mix of largely well-educated, urban middle-class participants. Eschewing comfortable methods…

Book cover of Captives of Conquest: Slavery in the Early Modern Spanish Caribbean

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Author Of Islanders and Empire: Smuggling and Political Defiance in Hispaniola, 1580–1690

From my list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period.

Who am I?

I was born and raised in Sevilla, Spain, a city with profound ties to Spain’s colonial past in the Americas. Since college I've been fascinated by colonial history. Being a little contrarian, while most Latin American colonial scholars I knew focused on Mexico and Peru (the richest Spanish colonies in the so-called “New World”) I decided to focus my attention on their polar opposite: less prosperous colonies (from the perspective of the crown anyway), island societies, and places that were relegated to the margins. I love learning about the men and women in these colonial societies and trying to tell their stories to the best of my abilities.

Juan's book list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Why did Juan love this book?

Historians in the past have celebrated the myths of European “discovery” and “exploration” in the Americas. What these historians never actually said in those accounts that pretty much every one of those discoverers and explorers funded those trips through the capture and sale of Indigenous people both in the Spanish colonies and Spain. Stone situates the Indian slave trade at the heart of the early Spanish colonizing project in the Americas, with more than 500,000 people bought and sold before 1542, when the Indigenous slave trade was prohibited by the Spanish crown (it never disappeared completely though) and was replaced by an already buoyant transatlantic slave trade from Africa.

By Erin Woodruff Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Captives of Conquest is one of the first books to examine the earliest indigenous slave trade in the Spanish Caribbean. Erin Woodruff Stone shows that the indigenous population of the region did not simply collapse from disease or warfare. Rather, upwards of 250,000 people were removed through slavery, a lucrative business sustained over centuries that formed the foundation of economic, legal, and religious policies in the Spanish colonies. The enslavement of and trade in indigenous peoples was central to the processes of conquest, as the search for new sources of Indian slaves propelled much of the early Spanish exploration into…

Book cover of Squatting in Europe: Radical Spaces, Urban Struggles

Bart Van Der Steen Author Of City Is Ours: Squatting and Autonomous Movements in Europe from the 1970s to the Present

From my list on squatting and urban activism.

Who am I?

Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated by – and worked with - people protesting injustice and inequality. By standing up, following through, and letting their voice be heard, people have the potential to change the world for the better. As a researcher, I have studied the history of various European protest movements – from labor activists to squatters and direct action groups. I have published on radical philosophers, Dutch Trotskyists, and even a socialist astronomer - but my main focus has always been radical squatters in the Netherlands and Germany.

Bart's book list on squatting and urban activism

Bart Van Der Steen Why did Bart love this book?

From 2009 to 2021, the Squatting Europe Kollective provided a platform for innovative research on squatting by both academics and activists. The group organized international meetings, created an interactive map of squatter actions in various European cities, and published a number of books. Their 2013 volume provided a state of the art of squatter research. The first chapter distinguishes between different modes (‘configurations’) of squatting; for example squatting as an alternative housing strategy, a strategy for saving monumental dwellings from demolition or squatting as a tactic for confronting neoliberalism. The subsequent chapters zoom into particular issues, such as the ways in which squatters organize the running of occupied places, respond to criminalization and form international travel networks. 

By Squatting in Europe Kollective,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Squatting offers a radical but simple solution to the crises of housing, homelessness, and the lack of social space that mark contemporary society: occupying empty buildings and rebuilding lives and communities in the process. Squatting has a long and complex history, interwoven with the changing and contested nature of urban politics over the last forty years.

Squatting can be an individual strategy for shelter or a collective experiment in communal living. Squatted and self-managed social centres have contributed to the renewal of urban struggles across Europe and intersect with larger political projects. However, not all squatters share the same goals,…

Book cover of For Whom the Bell Tolls

David L. Robbins Author Of War of the Rats

From my list on love and war and describing both battlefields.

Who am I?

I’ve penned (so far) seventeen novels, most set during some historical conflict or other, all of them revolving around intense personal relationships (loyalty, love, betrayal, those sorts of profound truths). I tend to read the sorts of books I wish to write. I also teach creative writing at a university (VCU); I tell my students that if they want to really know what a character is made of, shoot at them or have them fall in love. In my own work, I do both.

David's book list on love and war and describing both battlefields

David L. Robbins Why did David love this book?

Perhaps no writer has ever described war and love with the precision (if either can be subjected to such clarity) of Hemingway.

I was moved on every page by the power of his scenes, like reportage, from war, matched by an internal landscape that is equally tragic and explosive. 

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked For Whom the Bell Tolls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspired by his experiences as a reporter during the Spanish Civil War, Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls tells the story of Robert Jordan, an American volunteer in the International Brigades fighting to defend the Spanish Republic against Franco. After being ordered to work with guerrilla fighters to destroy a bridge, Jordan finds himself falling in love with a young Spanish woman and clashing with the guerrilla leader over the risks of their mission.

One of the great novels of the twentieth century, For Whom the Bell Tolls was first published in 1940. It powerfully explores the brutality of…

Book cover of Spanish Testament

Joan Fallon Author Of Spanish Lavender

From my list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative.

Who am I?

Joan Fallon is a Scottish novelist who has lived in the province of Málaga, in southern Spain, for almost thirty years. She has a great passion for all aspects of Spanish history and culture. While writing a book about the lives of Spanish women after the Civil War, she learned about the unbelievable massacre of thousands of innocent people as they left their homes and fled to Almería in 1937. Women, children and old men were gunned down by cruising gunboats. A historian, teacher and now an author, Joan wanted to know why nobody ever spoke about this tragedy.

Joan's book list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative

Joan Fallon Why did Joan love this book?

This book was written in 1937 by a British journalist who was visiting Spain. This was the year that Málaga fell to the Nationalist forces. It is the year that I write about in Spanish Lavender, a love story set in the Spanish Civil War in Málaga. Arthur Koestler arrived in that city when thousands of people were fleeing from the advancing army. His book gives an eye witness account of what it was like there, the military situation, the devastation and the evacuation. He saw it all and wrote about it. Later he was arrested and imprisoned in a Nationalist gaol in Seville and described his experiences. For me it was the most useful book I could have found.

By Arthur Koestler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Als im Juli 1936 nach einem Generalputsch der Spanische Bürgerkrieg ausbricht, zeigen sich viele Intellektuelle auf der ganzen Welt solidarisch mit der bedrohten Republik. Auch Schriftsteller und Journalist Arthur Koestler reist wenig später als Kriegsberichterstatter nach Spanien. Dort erlebt er die Eroberung Málagas durch die Truppen von General Franco mit. Kurz darauf wird Koestler von faschistischen Putschisten festgenommen und durch ein Standgericht zum Tode verurteilt. Auf seine Hinrichtung wartend, beginnt Koestler, seine Beobachtungen und Gedanken in Ein spanisches Testament niederzuschreiben. Mit seinen autobiografischen Erinnerungen an jene bewegte Zeit ist Koestler das wohl bedeutendste Werk zum Spanischen Bürgerkrieg gelungen. Schriftstellerkollegen wie…

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.

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.

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 International Communism and the Spanish Civil War: Solidarity and Suspicion

Oleksa Drachewych Author Of Left Transnationalism

From my list on international communist movement between World Wars.

Who am I?

I’ve always been interested in the topic of international relations and when I started graduate studies, I focused on Russian and Soviet foreign policy between the World Wars. When I began my research, I learned of the existence of the Comintern and was fascinated both by this attempt to develop a worldwide movement and its connection to Soviet foreign policy. Since then, I have focused on trying to understand the individuals who populated the parties and the organization and unearthing a legacy that still resonates today. One cannot fully understand the history of decolonization or of human and civil rights movements without considering the influence of the Comintern. 

Oleksa's book list on international communist movement between World Wars

Oleksa Drachewych Why did Oleksa love this book?

Lisa Kirschenbaum, also offering a transnational approach to Comintern history, highlights the role of the Comintern apparatus and shared experiences in forming a common bond between communists. Whether it is the various training schools in the Soviet Union, the propaganda efforts English-language communists worked for, or their service in Spain during the Spanish Civil War as part of the international brigades, communists remained committed to their ideals, even as the Soviet Union drifted away from them. Focusing on the grassroots support for communism, Kirschenbaum treats their belief in the movement as legitimate. This belief helps explain not only why so many people came to identify with key ideas in the movement, such as anti-fascism, but also why some left the movement following the Stalinist terror or the Nazi-Soviet pact. 

By Lisa Kirschenbaum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked International Communism and the Spanish Civil War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

International Communism and the Spanish Civil War provides an intimate picture of international communism in the Stalin era. Exploring the transnational exchanges that occurred in Soviet-structured spaces - from clandestine schools for training international revolutionaries in Moscow to the International Brigades in Spain - the book uncovers complex webs of interaction, at once personal and political, that linked international communists to one another and the Soviet Union. The Spanish Civil War, which coincided with the great purges in the Soviet Union, stands at the center of this grassroots history. For many international communists, the war came to define both their…

Book cover of As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

Christopher Corr Author Of The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

From my list on for travelling vagabonds.

Who am I?

I started travelling to paint and draw when I was an art student, first in Manchester and then at the Royal College of Art in London. I applied for drawing scholarships to help enable my travels. I wanted to see and draw the world in my own way. I’ve never really liked reading travel guidebooks. They date so quickly and can be too limiting but I’ve always enjoyed reading books by people who travel. You get a much truer sense of a place from someone who has followed a passion to somewhere remote. When I travel I look for stories on my journeys, something to bring home.

Christopher's book list on for travelling vagabonds

Christopher Corr Why did Christopher love this book?

Another book about youthful innocence and optimism.

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is the story of Laurie Lee leaving England in 1935 on a boat for Spain with just a violin and a blanket and few possessions.

He busks his way around Spain heading south to Andalucía, playing in cafes and town squares for a few coins.

Life in Spain was poor and primitive and the country was on the verge of civil war but his cheery demeanour was always met with warmth and humanity. It’s a life-affirming story.

By Laurie Lee,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author of Cider with Rosie continues his bestselling autobiographical trilogy with “a wondrous adventure” through Spain on the eve of its civil war (Library Journal).

On a bright Sunday morning in June 1934, Laurie Lee left the village home so lovingly portrayed in his bestselling memoir, Cider with Rosie. His plan was to walk the hundred miles from Slad to London, with a detour of an extra hundred miles to see the sea for the first time. He was nineteen years old and brought with him only what he could carry on his back: a tent, a change of…