We all have very different experiences when it comes to moving to Spain. Strange food, a new language, gas bottles? and sometimes it?s reassuring to know you?re not the only one who?s had a tough time getting to grips with it all. ?Our Top 5 books about Spain are not only great reads but will offer you a better insight into life in a foreign country. Enjoy!
1.?????? ?The Shadow of the Wind? by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Orion Books)
The type of story that?ll have you on the edge of your sun lounger at times, The Shadow of the Wind takes you on a journey filled with mystery, wit and charm. This is the tale of Daniel, a 10 year old boy living in post-war Barcelona who one day stumbles upon the ?cemetery of lost books?. The discovery of this labyrinth library and the random selection of one of its many moth-eaten books leads to the unraveling of some very dark secrets concerning not only the author of Daniel?s new read but the people in his very own neighbourhood too. The Shadow of the Wind is as heartwarming and humble as it is eerie and atmospheric, which makes for a very enjoyable read.
2.?????? ?Duende? by Jason Webster (Doubleday)
'Duende' is one of those words which are practically impossible to translate from Spanish to English. Its meaning can refer to a wide array of elements that even a Spaniard would struggle to explain but perhaps ?spiritual? is the closest way of defining it for now. This aside, the story of ?Duende? is based on the author?s real life experiences of living in Spain, whose world gets turned upside down when he meets the beautiful Lola and is thrust into a mad and passionate affair, not only with the sexy senorita but with Flamenco ? the music and the lifestyle. This soon becomes an obsession and you?re certain to become as infatuated with this book as Webster is with his guitar.
3.?????? ?Ghosts of Spain? by Giles Tremlett (Faber)
This is the perfect read for anyone who needs an education in Spanish history. Ghosts of Spain will take you on a journey through the country?s troubled republican years and the civil war that followed. Despite Spain now seemingly modern and progressive, there are still echoes of a very grim past, visible in today?s society but perhaps invisible to the foreign eye. Admittedly, Ghosts of Spain is not the most lighthearted read but it is however highly informative and will allow you to see the country from a very different angle ? it hasn?t always been sun, sea and sangria?
4.?????? ?Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain? by Chris Stewart (Sort Of Books)
?Driving over Lemons? follows the ups and downs of a real-life Andalucian adventure and from the very first page, you can?t help but be charmed by Stewart?s dry wit and impressive desire to remain positive about everything, even the fact that he and wife Ana have just purchased a patch of mountain covered with nothing but olive, almond and lemon groves, with no access to a road, water or electricity. As with many expatriates? first experiences of Spain, the fantasy of living in the sun soon becomes punctured by a few rather harsh realities but thankfully Stewart is made of tougher stuff.
5.?????? ?Mr. Roberts? by Alexei Sayle (Sceptre)
When Stanley, the 13-year-old son of British expat Donna, finds a discarded (robotic) suit lying in the campo close to the Andalucian city of Granada, ?Mr. Roberts? is born and things start to get increasingly out of hand. Although not a true story (thankfully), this book will have you giggling every five minutes, particularly at Sayle?s observations and references to common characteristics of the nearby Costa del Sol! Light reading and perfect for the beach, ?Mr. Roberts? borders on Sci-Fi but manages to remain down-to-earth and sincere.