Thursday, November 24, 2011

Recommended Books about Spain 1

Tales of the Alhambra is a collection of essays, verbal sketches, and stories by Washington Irving. Irving lived at the Alhambra Palace in Granada while writing much of the material for his book.

Gerald Brenan's best-known work is 'South From Granada (1957)' which is generally regarded as being one of the best travel books about Spain.

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) is an autobiographical account of an epic journey around Spain in the nineteen thirties. It is 1934 and Laurie Lee, the author, is a young man. He leaves the security of his Cotswold home to embark on an adventure.

Not only, in my opinion, is "Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada” by Washington Irving a jolly good read, but it appears to be a comprehensive history of the series of events and military campaigns that led to the expulsion of the Moors after 700 years on the Iberian Peninsula.

I enjoyed "Castilian Days" by John Hay. Unlike many travel books about Spain, it was not all about cathedrals, churches and castles. The book is a good balance between people and places. The first part of the book is dedicated to the habits and customs of the ordinary people of Castile in the late 19th century. The final chapters are mostly about some of the “must see” sights of this area of Spain – Madrid’s Prado, Segovia, Toledo, the Escorial and Cervantes hometown of Alcalá de Henares.

Robert Bovington
November 2011

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