Can anyone suggest books set in Spain, fiction and non-fiction?
Robert Hughes' "Barcelona" is a very respected non-fiction book on Barcelona's history. It's highly readable but very long--not something you'd want to travel with unless in ebook form--and doesn't have much coverage of the period after the early 20th century. It may well be available from your local library.
I'm currently reading Amanda Vaill's "Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War". Its also non-fiction and focuses on the journalists who covered the Spanish Civil War, among them Ernest Hemingway. Again, really too heavy in physical form to tote along.
Rebecca Pawel writes historical mystery novels set in Civil War Spain. I've read only "Death of a Nationalist". I enjoyed it.
I see that the first two are on Rick's list and that he also lists Robert Wilson's "The Blind Man of Seville". I really like Wilson but have not read this particular book. Wilson's books have the feeling of being very well researched (but I'm no expert on Iberian history).
The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafón, 2005). This best-selling thriller is set in 1950s Barcelona; sequels include The Angel's Game and The Prisoner of Heaven.
I read all three of these books before my Barcelona trip this fall. I couldn't put the down, even though they were a little quirky.
I second the Zafon novels - he's a great writer. Here's another idea - set in the era of the Spanish civil war. It takes place in both Spain and Morocco. It's really a fun and rewarding read. https://www.amazon.com/Time-Between-Novel-Maria-Duenas/dp/1451616899
"Or I'll Dress You in Mourning" by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins (also the authors of the excellent "Is Paris Burning"). Ostensibly it is the story of El Cordobes, Spain's #1 matador in the mid-late 1960's, but it also uses his personal biography as a boy from a poverty-stricken Loyalist family as a motif to examine the story of Spain's peons at the end of the Civil War and their suffering under Franco.
Some humorous nonfiction:
Travels with my Donkey by Tim Moore
Spanish Lessons by Derek Lambert
Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart
It's Not About the Tapas by Polly Evans
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's Don Quixote de la Mancha
James Michener's Iberia
Death in the Afternoon - Ernest Hemingway
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - Laurie Lee
*The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner is one of my favorite books. It's historical fiction about Juana, considered to be the mad queen. This story about her is compelling. I've read this book 3 times and will likely read it again.
Another book I read and enjoyed is called The Last Jew by Noah Gordon. Historical fiction about a Jew during the time of the Spanish Inquisition . Couldn't put it down!
So much fun!
The Baztan Trilogy by Dolores Redondo.
Amaia Salazar is a police detective solving mysteries in the Baztan Valley in Navarra.
Thanks everyone. I can't wait to order some of these.
I enjoyed, and have recommended, James Michener's "Iberia." It's not a novel, but a memoir. He had evidently spent a lot of time on multiple trips to Spain, starting as a teen. Very good. I plan to reread it before our next (???) trip to Spain.
Cathedral of the Sea, by Ildefonso Falcones
A thrilling historical novel of friendship and revenge, plague and hope, love and war, set in the golden age of 14th-century Barcelona. Arnau Estanyol arrives in Barcelona and joins the powerful guild of stone-workers building the magnificent cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar, while his adoptive brother Joan studies to become a priest. As Arnau prospers, he secretly falls in love with a forbidden woman. When he is betrayed and hauled before the Inquisitor, he finds himself face-to-face with his own brother. Will he lose his life just as his beloved cathedral is finally completed, or will his brother spare him?