A selection of our books about Living in Spain
Over the years Spain has attracted many residents, which in turn has resulted in many books about living in Spain – some serious, some less so. Here is our selection of a few of these. Click on the link above to see our full selection of over 80 books about living in Spain, which include books about buying a property in Spain, things to do in Spain such a walking, cycling, rock climbing, birdwatching etc.
Factual accounts exploring Spanish culture and way of life
South From Granada by Gerald Brenan
South from Granada is Gerald Brenan’s classic account of his life between 1920 and 1934 living in Spain (in the remote Spanish village of Yegen) which vividly evoking the essence of his rural surroundings and the Spanish way of life before the Civil War. Here he portrays the landscapes, festivals and folk-lore of the Sierra Nevada, the rivalries, romances and courtship rituals, village customs, superstitions and characters. Fascinating details emerge, from cheap brothels to archaeological remains, along with visits from Brenan’s friends from the Bloomsbury group – Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf among them. Knowledgeable, elegant and sympathetic, this is a rich account of Spain’s vanished
Voices of the Old Sea
A rightly acclaimed memoir about living in Spain, not only for the simple but very effective prose but also because of the social and cultural environment it covers and describes, namely 3 years in the late 1940s, i.e. post Franco, Spain largely isolated by the rest of the world and pre mass tourism and industrialisation – but finishing with the impact of the advent of tourism.
Not only was Spain relatively isolated but so also were the villages of Farol and Sort within Spain itself and this comes through strongly in the book – small, parochial, insular communities as much at war with each other as with the economic environment they faced. In fact, Lewis claims that Farol had the reputation of being the least accessible in North Eastern Spain.
The struggles of the Farol fisherman to make a living as the volumes of fish become smaller or non-existence are well described (and felt), as is their reluctance to embrace any change and their dislike for their non-fishing neighbours of Sort.
A classic account about living in Spain in the late 1940s that yet again illustrates how the traditional way of Spanish life was quickly swept away during the late 1940s. Valuable insight to how life was in Spain before tourism took over.
Wild Olives, Life in Mallorca with Robert Graves by William Graves
William Graves, son of Robert Graves, grows up in the mountain village of Deya in Mallorca experiencing the ways of life of the Majorcans, which had hardly changed for hundreds of years, and participating in the day-to-day activities of the village. He conveys deftly and with great feeling the texture of life in Mallorca – the food, the pattern of the seasons, the camaraderie and rivalries within the village, and the growing sense, from the sixties onwards, that his fragile paradise was under threat. Wonderfully observant and full of feeling for the locality, this book is also fascinating portrait of Robert Graves himself, his ‘Muses’ and his entourage, and a revealing study of how the son of a famous father finds his own identity. Yet another enchanting account about living in Spain.
Sacred Sierra by Jason Webster
This is a romantic, utterly alluring leap into Spanish sunshine, remote mountains, rural life and living in Spain. Jason Webster had been living in Spain for several years before he and his partner, the flamenco dancer Salud, decided to buy a deserted farmhouse clinging to the side of a steep valley in the eastern province of Castellon, near the sacred peak of Penaglosa. With help from local farmers – and from a twelfth-century Moorish book on gardening – Jason set about creating his dream. Slowly he and Salud cleared the land, planted and harvested their olives, raised the healing herbs they learned about from local people, set up bee-hives and nurtured precious, expensive truffles, the black gold of the region. And beyond all this they started to fulfil another vision, bringing the native trees back to the cliffs ravaged by fire. At the same time they became drawn into the life of the valley: this is a book rich with characters as well as plants. It follows the people of the village from the winter rains to baking summer heat, from the flowering of the almond trees in spring to the hilarious, fiery festivals and ancient pilgrimages, and tells the history of the region through folk-songs and stories of the Cathar and Templar past.
Humorous Accounts about Living in Spain - Books4Spain has over 30 books in this category and here is a very small sample:
Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart
Chris, eternal optimist and itinerant sheep shearer, moves with his wife Ana to a mountain farm in Las Alpujarras, an oddball region in Andalucia, southern Spain and where Gerald Brenan spent a number of years living in the 1930s. Misadventures gleefully unfold as Chris discovers that the owner has no intention of leaving and meets their neighbours, an engaging mix of peasant farmers and shepherds, travellers and ex-pats. One of the classic books about living in Spain.
Taking the Heat, An Expat under pressure in Spain by Nick Snelling
High in the Spanish mountains, life at Casa Desolada is nothing if not fraught. Embattled and bemused, Nick Snelling, ex-soldier, antiques dealer, builder, legal executive, consultant, author, estate agent and equity trader has finally become an ex patriot by living in Spain.
A doomed romantic, Nick lurches from the shortest TV career in media history to a disastrous attempt at becoming a wine merchant of fine Riojas. Along the way, he battles sex obsessed English language students, lethal barbecues, the temptation of topless beach beauties, the mysteries of Iberian building and the ultimate peril of a wife ruinously seduced by Spanish shopping. Meanwhile, Nick’s attempts to impose Spanish patriarchal machismo upon his family repeatedly back-fire!
Nick Snelling operates the highly regarded Culture Spain website which is regularly updated with articles, news and views etc. related to Spain.
A Lizard in my Luggage, Mayfair to Mallorca in one easy Move by Anna Nicholas
Anna had never liked the idea of Mallorca, thinking it was for the disco and beerswilling fraternity. That was until her sister hired an au pair from a rural part of the island who said it was the most beautiful place on earth. On a visit, Anna impulsively decided to buy a ruined farmhouse with a plan to start living in Spain. Despite her fear of flying, she kept a foot in both camps and commuted to Central London to manage her PR company. But she found herself drawn away from the bustle, stress and the superficial media world towards the tranquil life. She soon realised that her new existence was more enriching and fulfilling. She was learning to live life for its moments rather than race through it in the fast lane.
“A Lizard in My Luggage” explores Mallorca’s fiestas and traditions, as well as the ups and downs of living in a rural retreat. It is about learning to appreciate the simple things and take risks in pursuit of real happiness. Most importantly, it shows that life can be lived between two places. Hear Anna’s interview with Mark Curry of Talk Radio Europe here.
Books4Spain has a varied and interesting selection of books about Spain and it history and culture, ranging from subjects such Flamenco, the Spanish Civil War, Camino de Santiago as well as Spanish Literature in translation, Crime Fiction books set in Spain, books about Living in Spain, Novels set in Spain, Spanish Cook & Recipe books, and Travel and Holiday books about Spain and much more as well as books about Spanish authors and artists such as Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dali, Picasso, Franco, Bunuel etc.
Come and browse – Books4Spain can entertain, educate and stimulate!