Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
This is a must read for anyone who plans on living in Barcelona. Ruiz Zafon, a Barcelona native, has written a love-letter of a novel to the city in this beautiful book. It combines history, romance and mystery and has been on the international best-seller list for sometime. The vivid descriptions of the various parts of town will make you want to discover or re-discover them all over again.
Zorro by Isabel Allende
Although Allende is a Latin American author, she is hugely popular in Spain. Her most successful novel House of the Spirits was a prize winning work of fiction and if you are looking for a dramatic read to accompany you in your hammock, Zorro is just as much fun. Reading Allende in English will give you a feel for the cadence of Spanish too - there is something quite different about a translated book. An easy way to lay the groundwork for picking up Spanish.
Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
Not one to be carried in your beach bag - the paperback edition alone could put your back out. This (originally written in Spanish) epic by Falcones is a brilliant tale of Barcelona in the 14th century. It´s essentially a story of personal triumph (with a couple of side dramas and a love story or two), but the setting is pure Catalunya and will give you a very real sense of the region´s history. Perfect for evenings on the patio with a glass of Cava.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
This is more of a challenge than a recommended read. The classic (and incredibly complicated) tale of a misguided knight errant and his mule-riding sidekick has symbolised Spain for centuries. Even if you are fluent in Spanish, it is recommended that you read Quixote in English - the original Spanish uses tenses th…