Why do you like reading? How does it make you feel? I think every genuine reader knows their answer to this question.
I love reading because it takes me to different places, and I can meet other cultures and points of view. I know, it can sound a bit cliché but don’t you feel the same?
I want to share nine different adventures from Spanish authors in this article. All of them are the best in their genre, and I bet you’ll enjoy any of them.
So, I recommend that yuo ask for some Amazon gift cards because you will want to get every single one of these books after reading about them.
1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote de La Mancha was written by Miguel de Cervantes and is one of the most read books after the Bible. This book is considered the first modern novel in Europe and is characterized by setting a genre of chivalric romances and impractical pursuits of idealistic goals.
The book was divided into two parts, something really common in our current movies. The first volume was published in 1605 and the second in 1615, ten years after the first book and one year before the author’s death.
Why is it one of the best?
Compared to other pieces of literature from that time, this Spanish book became a prototype for modern novels. To be clear modern literature began when authors broke the conventional ways of writing or telling a story by introducing humor next to various topics such as religion, politics, and love.
The books follow the story of Alonso Quijano, who can no longer identify reality from fiction after reading many books about traditional heroes and chivalry. This issue leads him to pursue a life of a knight, trying to save damsels, battling giants or windmills, and rewriting wrongs. The thing is that most of his adventures are in his head. Don Quixote’s loyal companion is his neighbor, Sancho Panza, who also has unrealistic dreams. But they make a duo that will entertain you for hours!
Don Quixote was immediately translated into English after the first volume came out and later on into other European languages. Although this book was published in the 17th century, it has been estimated that approximately 500 million copies have been sold through the years.
2. The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca
“La Casa de Bernarda Alba” or “The House of Bernarda Alba” is not a book, but a play by the recognized Spanish dramatist, Federico García Lorca. You might wonder why I am adding a play, not a book. If you don’t have the chance to see the play, you can quickly get it by text and enjoy reading it.
So, “La Casa de Bernarda Alba” was written in 1936 and is a dramtic tragedy. Lorca depicts the social circumstances under which single and widowed women lived at the beginning of the 20th century.
The play tells the story of Bernarda Alba and her five daughters, who are between 20 and 40 years old; and whose names directly represent their feeling or circumstances unde rthe same house. Before continuing with the summary, let me introduce them:
- Angustias or Anguish: alluding to her age, ugliness, and desire to marry.
- Magdalena: is associated with the idea of tenderness and crying, due to the memory of Mary Magdalene.
- Amelia: means “without honey, without sweetness”.
- Martirio or Martyrdom: she carries the cross of her illness, her ugliness and bitterness.
- Adela: “of noble nature”.
Throughout the play you’ll notice how each daughter’s name represents her nautre and story. To not say more, I can just share “La Casa de Bernarda Alba” is a play about freedom of expression and freedom of choosing your path disregarding society’s opinion.
In 1987, the movie director Mario Camus produced a movie for which he won a Goya Award.
To know more Spanish plays head to the following link!
The 9 Golden Spanish Plays You Will Love to Collect
3. Niebla by Miguel de Unamuno
If you want to practice your Spanish, this video is the audiobook of “Niebla”.
I am going to be super direct with this book.
Why is it important? With “Niebla” or Mist, Miguel de Unamuno proposed a new literary genre called “nivola”. Before getting into the summary of the story, I want to share why ” nivola” was so innovative.
Miguel de Unamuno was a Basque essayist, novelist, poet, philosopher, and playwright who some people describe as existencialist. Actually, “Niebla” puts a lot of thought into the existencial and sentimental questions that we, as human beings, have from time to time. This book crosses the line between reality and fiction, and reflects upon ideas through dialogue.
So, the books was published on 1914, seven years after the author wrote it. It tell the story of Augusto perez whose heart is broken after experiencing a love a t first sight and considers taking his life. However, an essay on suicide changes his thoughts and embarks a journey to meet with the author. And who is this? Augusto meets with his creator, Miguel de Unamuno and reflects upon life.
Does this sound familiar to you? Miguel de Unamuno innovated novels like Miguel de Cervantes did with Don Quixote. They wrote from their heart and imaginaiton to achive something utterly different from what people were used to reading.
4. El Criticón by Baltasar Gracián
“El Criticón” or “The Critic” is a three-part novel by Baltasar Gracián. The author was a Spanish Jesuit, baroque prose writer, and philosopher that delivered his vision of humanity through a fictional allegory.
So, “El Criticó” was released in three parts. First, “The Spring of Childhood” in 1651, then “The Autumn of Manly Age” in 1653, and “The Winter of Old Age” in 1657. Gracián uses character actors to deliver his vision of morality and life and applies the tool of allegories to describe the three major stages of life through symbolic elements.
This book was necessary due to the multiple literary tools such as allegory or proverbs to depict life. Gracián had a very pessimistic vision of life, and people called him the Spanish Nietzsche.
5. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Just like “El Criticón,” “La Sombra del Viento,” or “The Shadow of the Wind” is a story divided into four books, it s a tetralogy on a mysterious book called “The Shadow of the Wind.”
Carlos Ruíz Zafón was the author of this literary masterpiece, of which he sold around 15 million copies and became an international best-selling author. The Shadow of the Wind was published in 2001, and its genre falls between drama, mystery, gothic and historical fiction.
The story unfolds in twentieth-century Barcelona, a post-war Spain with a sad and nostalgic feeling flooding people. The main character is a young boy, Daniel Sampere, who found the book “The Shadow of the Wind” in the cemetery of forgotten books. From then on, the boy experiences a series of mysterious events and adventures that are revealed at the end of the tetralogy.
I haven’t read this book yet, but friends of mine have told me that you can’t take your eyes off the story until the last page!
6. The Time Between Seams by María Dueñas
“El Tiempo entre Costuras” or “The Time in Between,” is a historical fiction and spy thriller published in 2009. María Dueñas became an international bestseller with her debut novel, The Time in Between. From then on, she has published four other books, including the sequel of the book we are discussing now.
So, why is it one of the best? Well, María Dueñas put Spain back on the map with her book, which was later turned into a series by one of Spain’s most prominent producers, Antena 3.
But what is it about? The book follows the story of a young woman named Sira Quiroga. Sira is a dressmaker and seamstress in 1930s Spain who falls madly in love with a man for whom she leaves everything and moves to Africa. Red flags? Maybe.
Sira relocates to Tetuan and begins working as a seamstress for a luxury workshop where important historical characters make some appearances. Later, she became an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II.
I think this one is perfect for a new (literary) adventure.
7. Heart So White by Javier Marías
Javier Marias was a Spanish writer, translator, and editor who published fifteen books over his life, including several short stories and essays. He has won several awards for his writings, including the honor of being named Literary Lion by the New York Public Library.
“Corazón tan Blanco” or “Heart So White” is a domestic fiction published in 1992. I think its genre describes it pretty well the essence of the book. The story unfolds in La Habana, where Juan Ranz overhears a conversation that he shouldn’t have and has repercussions in his new marriage.
The French magazine, le Nouvel Obs, gave the following review:
“The writing shows tremendous cunning and a devilish degree of patience….. It achieves the precision of a miniaturist.”
The text below is a very famous extract from the book, and I think it is strong enough for you to convince you to read it:
“I have not wanted to know, but I had learned that one of the girls when she was no longer a child and had not long since returned from her wedding trip, went into the bathroom, stood in front of the mirror, opened her blouse, took off her bra and searched her heart with the tip of the gun…”
Ready for some drama in La Habana?
That’s it for today! Now you have seven new books to add to your reading list. If your birthday or Christmas is close, ask for one or two gift cards!
If you have already read any of these books, let us know! We would love to see what you thought of them, and we could add your review to this article! We look forward to hearing from you!