Category Reading

On the new English translation of Eduardo Mendoza’s “Rina de gatos” and the joy of finally being able to satisfy Books on Spain’s web searchers

In 2010, a novel by Eduardo Mendoza called Riña de gatos: Madrid 1936 won Spain’s prestigious Premio Planeta and in January 2011, I reviewed it on this blog. It’s quite a fun novel, and I rather enjoyed it, mostly thanks to Mendoza’s imaginative recreation of a slightly daffy Englishman’s perspective on the all-too-familiar events of the […]

Anglo-Spanish Edwardians (an occasional series) II: The Secret Life of Tomás Enrique Gurrin (1848-1913)

Sometimes in the course of research, a neat little mystery just falls right into your lap and upsets all your best laid plans, and everything else gets put on hold until you’ve solved it. Or is that just me? (I always did have a problem with focus…) As those of you who follow me on […]

On criticism, generosity and gratitude: the travels of “Writing Galicia into the World”

Those of you with long memories may remember that nearly two years ago I published my second academic book, Writing Galicia into the World: New Cartographies, New Poetics, with Liverpool University Press (you can read about it here on the LUP website). The book explores the writings of and about Galicians in London and the wider world, by authors […]

A note on the other (Spanish) North and South in Mrs Gaskell’s North and South (1855)

So I was enjoying my annual appointment with the BBC series North and South (2004), based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1855 novel of the same name and starring (oh joy!) Richard Armitage as John Thornton (left) and poor Daniela Denby-Ashe, excised from this version of the DVD cover (because the BBC are nothing if not pragmatic in […]

Newsflash! Free excerpts of María Dueñas’s new novel, Misión olvido, take over the web. How many can you find?

Remember Spain’s mega-blockbuster El tiempo entre costuras? Of course you do. It’s been inescapable in Spain for the last couple of years. I even reviewed the English translation over at Books4Spain, although I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the TV series yet. And its author, María Dueñas, hasn’t been slacking. Her second novel Misión olvido (Mission: Oblivion) […]

Holiday Reading (2): On not reviewing Clare Clark’s “Beautiful Lies”, or, the stranger-than-fiction lives of Gabriela and Robert Cunninghame Graham

So, back to The Holiday. As I think I might just possibly have mentioned before, the major priorities for the week, other than a touch of sightseeing and a generous sampling of sack, were swimming and reading, reading and swimming, swimming, reading, and swimming some more. And as you can see (left), the conditions were […]

Holiday Reading (1): La Catedral del Mar = the Spanish Pillars of the Earth (sort of)

So as you know, I’m interested in bestsellers, especially (but not only) in their Spanish incarnation. In fact, I have a whole blog category about them. But the problem with bestsellers is that they tend to be really, really long and, as last spring’s reading marathon showed, they seem to be getting longer all the time. What […]

In which I send my readers over to Books4Spain to read my review of Maria Duenas’s blockbuster The Seamstress

*brushes cobwebs off blog* Well hello again. Did everybody have a good Easter? Mine involved Scotland, snow, a(nother) massive Kindle binge, and a disappointingly small amount of chocolate. On the other hand I did spend a lot of time reading up about Sugar, Cod and Salt, (yes, I was on a commodities kick), so maybe there’ll be time […]

This is not a review of Inma Chacon’s Tiempo de arena (runner-up, Premio Planeta 2011)

This was going to be a review of Tiempo de arena [Time of Sand], by Inma Chacón (above), which I picked up in Tenerife airport a couple of weeks ago and have been gripped by ever since. And then I finished the novel and did a bit of googling and discovered that it’s a sequel! A secret sequel! […]

Not dead yet! And here’s what I’ve been up to…

Gosh. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? So, you’ll be pleased to know (I hope) that the post title is true. The blog and I are Not Dead Yet (look out – sound!); it’s just that various professional obligations have been keeping me busy and travelling – although my newly-acquired toy-cum-travelling-companion  means that my books […]

Book Review | Lucas Malet’s ‘The Far Horizon’ (1907), or, the Twilight Renaissance of an Edwardian Bachelor

One of the perks of researching a new project – in this case, From Cervantes to Sunny Spain – is that until you actually nail down the final structure, pretty much anything can count as research. And so, aided by my newly-beloved Kindle, I’ve been splashing around in the balmy waters of late Victorian and […]

Premio Planeta 2011 | Javier Moro, El imperio eres tu (The Empire is You)

 This past weekend saw the award of Spain’s most prestigious prize for fiction, the Premio Planeta. This year’s winner – the Spanish novelist Javier Moro, for El imperio eres tu (The Empire is You), about the first Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro I (1798-1834). This, the 60th Planeta Prize, received nearly 500 entries, which is hardly […]

Un coup de foudre littéraire, or, My First Week With the Kindle

So I’m going to be travelling a lot over the next four months – three or four work trips to Spain and two to the US. And as you know, I love to read. I have a long history of schlepping piles of books across international borders (you have to take a lot because you […]

Books on Spain 2.0 | Rants, Reviews and a new book-in-progress

First up, thank you everybody for the lovely comments on my blogiversary post! Of course, I wrote it and promptly went off on holiday, hence this belated acknowledgment- but now I’m back and raring to get started on the next 12 months of rants and reviews. From September, this blog will also be home to updates […]

Books on Spain is One Year (and a few days…) Old!

Goodness gracious me, but I appear to have let the Very Important Anniversary of my first-ever post here at Books on Spain pass me by. How remiss! So, let’s pretend it’s last Wednesday, and this is my one-year blogiversary post. A year ago, I didn’t know if I’d be able to keep this up for […]

Summer Reading Marathon: Maria Duenas’s EL TIEMPO ENTRE COSTURAS, or, the ultimate in mid-career academic self-reinvention

Ready … get set …. read! Now I’ve recovered from the marathon that was Julia Navarro’s Dime quien soy, and after a couple of months devoted largely to trashy Edwardian fiction, I’m finally ready to begin the next Project Bestseller marathon read. As promised, my next big Spanish bestseller is María Dueñas’s El tiempo entre costuras (The Time Between Seams). […]

Trashy Edwardian novelists do Spain, or, castles, jewels, harlots, and those damn Tourists

Spain has been a mainstay of the Anglophone literary imagination for at least two centuries.  Most of us are all too familiar with the main co-ordinates of a literary landscape that began (in its modern version at least) with the Romantics and is still in circulation today: Andalusia and the south, Carmen, Don Quixote, bullfighting, sangria, sun, sea, orange […]

Review (and FIELDTRIP!!!) | Arthur Behrend’s THE HOUSE OF THE SPANIARD (1935)

This is a rarity – a novel of Liverpool-Spanish connections, which I came upon while digging around in the Liverpool Record Office archives for sources for my Hispanic Liverpool project. It’s the first of three novels published by the Liverpool ship owner Arthur Behrend (1895-1974), scion of the famous Bahr, Behrend shipping firm, and my copy […]

Review (finally!) | Julia Navarro’s DIME QUIEN SOY

So I finished it. A couple of weeks ago now, actually. I made it through all 1097 pages of Julia Navarro’s epic bestselling novel Dime quién soy (Tell me who I am; Plaza y Janés, 2010) and ever since I have been trying to figure out what to write in this review. See, it’s not that I […]

Some Postcards, a Royal Wedding (no, not that one), and a Review

Wherever you are in the world, especially if you’re in an English-speaking country or Northern Europe, the great excitement over the upcoming British Royal Wedding probably won’t have escaped you. Prince William and Kate Middleton will be tying the knot in Westminster Abbey this Friday, 29th April, and the nation is rejoicing (largely, it must be […]