12 Books to read in Spanish
These days there are a lot of trendy ways to learn Spanish, such as various online courses, applications for your mobile phone, sites with exercises, computer programmes. If you are looking for some extra options to improve your Spanish , then graded readers will be a great choice! And yes, sometimes old ways are the ones you can always rely on!
Here are a few recommendations how to improve efficiency of reading in Spanish:
- Pick books taking into account your language level and your reading preferences
- Keep a reading journal where you can write down new words but only the ones which might come in handy in everyday conversations or the ones you have liked. There is no use in noting down all new words. After reading a chapter , try noting down the main ideas (3-5 sentences), preferably using words which you have just written.
- If you want to enhance the effect from reading and improve your listening skills, you should try listening to audiobooks which come with a lot of graded readers.
- You shouldn't start with fairy tales or historical novels. Language of fairy tales might be difficult to understand and full of archaisms and outdated grammar. You always have to remember that language is a living entity. It is always evolving and changing. In fairy tales and historical novels set in the 17th century you are unlikely to encounter modern lexical units, like "chateat" - "to chat", "guasaper/wasapear" - "sending texts on whatsapp", "guay" - "cool", "rollo" - " bullshit" and so on.
Here is a selection of the best books to read in Spanish from an online school Skype-language:
«Aventura joven», Elvira Sancho, Jordi Surís
Together with five friends - Laura, Serjio, Monica, Guermo and Martin you will be able not only increase your vocabulary but also experience exciting adventures in Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Peru.
Most of the narration is done in the present tense which makes it easy to understand even for beginners. Chapters include lexical and culturological references. There are also some simple exercises designed to help memorise new words. The series comes with an audio version to practise Spanish listening skills.
Series «Lola Lago, detective» by Lourdes Miguel and Neus Sans (level A1-A2)
It tells about an exciting life of Lola Lago, a female detective. With the protagonist you will have a hot holiday on Costa Brava, save a famous singer from being kidnapped in Madrid, help Lola's ex-fiance who is charged with murder, and solve a lot more interesting cases.
The book ¿Eres tú, María? is suitable for learners with B1 level.
This series also comes with an audio version. The language of the story is quite simple but it doesn't affect the plot in the slightest. Aa a result, reading will be both useful and pleasurable for you .
Series «Pepa Villa, Taxista en Barcelona» Alicia Estopiña and Neus Sans. (Attention 18+)
Levels А1, А2, В1
This is my most favourite series among graded readers. A lively and funny Spanish woman Pepa , who works as a taxi driver in Barcelona, will not leave anyone indifferent. Her problems are very relatable: not enough money for a holiday , problems with men, crazy friends who are the reason she is constantly getting caught up in different risky situations.
But the most valuable thing about these books is that characters speak very modern youth language , use slang and some swear words. At the end of each story there is a dictionary with definitions and examples of some slang and swear words used in sentences. After reading these books, there is no doubt you will understand every day spoken speech of the Spanish, use the words like "cool" and "bullshit", and it will be super easy for you to explain annoying admirers that they are just nuisance.
Books «Fantasmas en la escalera»and «Apartamento en la Costa Brava» are designed for learners with A1-A2 levels.
«Una operación arriesgada» и «Cenizas calientes» - В1. But if you manage to read first books, the other two, despite the stated level, will not cause any difficulties.
The series comes with an audio version.
«El Viaje» Palmira López Pernía, Nuria Sáez, Lourdes Gómez de Olea Vicenta
Alba, a Spanish journalist, is going on a business trip to Latin America.
This book is a journey. The book-travelog. In my opinion, it's the best educational handbook on regional geography for elementary level students. While reading and listening to this book you will learn a lot about culture, customs and history of Spain, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Columbia. It also gives you a unique opportunity to get acquainted with different national variants of pronunciation of Spanish.
«El Camarero De La 7 Avenida» Montilla A.L., Naranjo F.G., Moreno C.
If you are an African American and eager to work in Manhattan , but you don't speak Spanish, you might be in trouble . Someday a person with a last name like Rodriguez or Martinez will become a mayor of New York. Definitively. The book reflects a current situation with the Spanish speaking population of the USA. The handbook includes vocabulary exercises and culturological references.
«Volver» Raquel Horche Lahera
Alejandra has been living with her grandmother in Madrid since she was a child. She had to move to Spain from Argentina after her parents' deaths. When her grandmother dies, the main character goes back to Buenos Ayres. This is where she learns all the secrets of her family's past, which used to be hidden from her for many years.
The book is accompanied with an audio version , listening to which a student can practise listening skill not just in Castilian, but also in Argentinian national language variation.
«Сhe: Geografías del Che» Daniel Cabrera
It's a biography of Ernesto Gevara , a person who needs no introduction. In this book the author emphasizes Che's personal life. The reader will get to know about childhood of a future revolutionist in Argentina, his journey around Latin America and his key role in the Cuban revolution.
«Frida Kahlo: Viva la vida» Aroa Moreno
It's a biography of Frida Kahlo, the most famous Mexican artist of the 20th century. With her incredible will power she not only created art, but got through physical and emotional suffering caused by her illness and problems in personal life with a lot of dignity.
«En agosto del 77 nacías tú» Pedro García García
A son is trying to find some pieces of information about his father. And his mother refuses to share anything about him. Eventually, he got what he had been looking for. But is it always worth knowing all the secrets of the past? Modern view of Spain after Franko's death and the first years of the transition period.
«Incomprensión» Eulália Solé, Silvia López
The novel "Misunderstanding" tells a love story between Alberto and Eliza , two people with absolutely different personalities and views of life. The only thing which brings them together is desire.
The book includes vocabulary exercises and tasks to check comprehension. There is also an audio track.
«Entre naranjos» Ibáñez V.B.
Levels С1 – С2
Vicente Blasco Ibanes is one of the biggest Spanish writers of the ends of the 19th century- first quarter of the 20th century. "In orange gardens" unfolds a love story between a lawyer named Rafael, coming from a narrow-minded bourgeois family, and a singer Leonora. The novel perfectly pictures diversity and ambiguity of the character of Spanish people: wild passion and tender love which turn into hatred, betrayal and cold revenge. But what leaves the brightest impression is the way blossom of orange gardens is described. The author very skillfully manages to surround a reader with a subtle fragrant floral scent.
The text also contains some phrases which aren't very common in modern Spanish, but they will not cause any difficulty for a person with an appropriate level of the language.
«La última novela» Raquel Horche Lahera
Writing might be something more that just a way to make a living. Sometimes it helps to solve different problems in life. What what is going to happen if inspiration disappears? The author offers the reader to distinguish themselves where fiction ends and reality starts.
When choosing a book it's important to consider your interests so reading will only bring you pleasure. So if you understand that this book isn't "yours" and it makes you feel bored, don't hesitate to put it aside and take another one.
Everything related to language learning has to be inspiring and it's supposed to make you want to move forward. By reading book you can not only get to know the culture of the Hispanic world but also memories useful phrases more quickly.
Read in Spanish for your own use and pleasure!