Anything But Paella

Five Spanglophile Journeys

I can hear you now asking “What is a Spanglophile?” Well, I’m not even sure if the word exists. In fact, I suspect that it doesn’t but I have seen it on a couple of blogs and I quite like it. So there you are, a rebel with the English language! Put simply, a Spanglophile could well be an English speaker with a deep affinity for Spain and/or the Spanish language. With that in mind, I have decided to look at five books, or series of books, which have been written by my Spanglophile friends. Where possible, links provided are for Kindle editions and will go to the UK version of Amazon. It is relatively straightforward to then navigate to other versions and regions.

Zen Kyu Maestro: An English Teacher’s Spanish Adventure

Jeremy Jose Dean (Meesta Dee!) has kept me entertained for years with his tales of adjusting to life in Spain whilst teaching young learners in an immersive English school near Valencia. Thanks to Zen Kyu Maestro I have laughed myself to sleep many a time as I finished a chapter before closing my eyes. I won’t spoil the fun by telling you too much about the books but as an English teacher myself, it can be an extraordinary journey in order to simply understand what your young charges are saying to you. Jeremy also helps you with your Spanish by putting a few muy pertinente Spanish words into the text from time to time. To my delight, book two, “Cucarachas or Cucuruchos?“, came out this year. I can’t wait for the third instalment now!

Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca?

Next up are the adorable alpacas of Andalusia lovingly looked after by my friends Alan and Lorna. “Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca?” was the first in a series of books about how they came to Spain. It documents the highs and lows of raising alpacas. You’ll laugh and cry in almost equal measures, but what is certain is that you will fall in love with Alan, Lorna and their herd. Perhaps you will even want to visit them as we did a couple of years ago.

Their adventures have continued and you can read all about the subsequent years in the other books in the series:
Seriously Mum, How Many Cats?
Seriously Mum, Who’s that Chicken?
Seriously Mum, Where’s that Donkey?

Alan has also branched out into children’s books with the delightfully scripted and illustrated “The Alpaca That Saved Christmas” among others.

Journey To A Dream

Journey to a Dream is actually an abridged title of Craig Briggs’ debut book. The full title is a bit of a mouthful: Journey To A Dream: A voyage of discovery from England’s industrial north to Spain’s rural interior (The Journey Book 1). This five book series tells the tale of how Craig moved from Huddersfield in the North of England to a small Galician town in the Northwest of Spain. It wasn’t an easy journey, that’s for sure, as he navigated his way through bureaucracy and the mañana culture to finally realise his Spanish dream. Not being a prolific reader I have only read the first two books so far, but I have loved Craig’s writing and I will get around to reading them all!

Flamingos in the Desert

Flamingos in the Desert is all about the Almería region and I have learned so much thanks to Kevin Borman. He has travelled extensively throughout the region and gives you so many little snippets to enrich any visit. I haven’t got my hands on the sequel, Where Hoopoes Fly, but I love the name of the book and I’m certain it will be added to my bookshelf next year!

Cooking with Languages

My final offering is a different kind of journey – a culinary adventure if you wish! Lisa and her family have put together a delightful book, Cooking with Languages, exploring the world of cooking in English and Spanish. The illustrations will make your heart melt as Arthur Apple and his friends make you feel at home in the kitchen regardless of which language you and your children speak. I have been enchanted by this project since the very first day I discovered it.

There are of course, many more books in English about life in Spain as well as novels and guides. I hope to review more of them soon.

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