10 Must Read Spanish Books (2023)

Not only is Spanish one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, but also one of the most widely read. Spanish boasts an impressively large and diverse canon of literature, written across the entire world. Learning Spanish will give you the opportunity to read the works of some of the best Spanish authors in its original text!

Reading a book in translation is like asking a friend to go on holiday for you, then show you some pictures and tell you how it was. Reading a book in the original is like getting on the plane yourself and diving into a different world. When you first start out, it can be a bit intimidating if there are lots of words you don’t recognise, but don’t worry. The more you read, the easier it gets.

Tips to read in Spanish

Here are some top tips for reading in a foreign language:

  1. Don’t look up every word. Be strict with yourself, and only reach for the dictionary when you’re really lost.
  2. Take it slowly. Even just reading a page at a time in a foreign language is a great achievement!
  3. Read things that you enjoy. If you’re having fun, you’ll be much more motivated to keep going.

The books on this list are handpicked by our Spanish experts and are the best Spanish books. Beginners will have a tough time reading them - so if you’ve just started off your Spanish learning journey, download the Memrise App for the fastest (and most fun) way to learn real-life Spanish. If you’re confident with your Spanish and are already saying “I like to read in Spanish” to yourself, let’s read on!

Without further ado - here are 10 unmissable Spanish novels that you absolutely must read:

(Video) 10 Book Suggestions for Spanish Students (Beginner and Intermediate)

1.Cien años de soledad

10 Must Read Spanish Books (1)

Author: Gabriel García Márquez
Year: 1967
English Title:One Hundred Years of Solitude

This landmark novel by Colombian writer Gabriel García Marquez is normally the first to come to mind when you mention literature in the Spanish language. It tells the story of the different generations of the Buendía family, which takes place in the fictional town of Macondo, and has come to symbolise the story of Colombia, its civil wars, and its fate as a nation. It is influenced by Modernism and the CubanVanguardiamovement, and is an iconic work of Latin American Magical Realism. It has been translated into 37 different languagesand sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

2.Lasombra del viento

10 Must Read Spanish Books (2)

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Year: 2001
English Title:The Shadow of the Wind

This worldwide bestseller by Spanish writer Carlos Luis Zafón is a romantic thriller set in Barcelona. It follows a young writer who is approached by a mysterious unknown figure and asked to write a book, starting at the industrial revolution, leading all the way up to the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.La Sombra del Vientohas managed to sell 15 million copies worldwide in many different languages, making it one of the world’s most popular published books. There’s lots of magical realism in this one, but it doesn’t technically belong to the genre.

3. El corazón helado

10 Must Read Spanish Books (3)

Author: Almudena Grandes
Year: 2007
English Title:The Frozen Heart

Almudena Grandes was one of the biggest and most beloved female Spanish authors, with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez calling her "one of the most important writers of our time." Her recent death in November 2021 left the whole country in mourning. El corazón helado is one of her best books, in which she does an exercise of historical memory, digging into the uncomfortable past of the Spanish Civil War.

(Video) 7 Spanish books for beginners | Improve your Spanish

4.Crónica de una muerte anunciada

10 Must Read Spanish Books (4)

Author: Gabriel García Márquez
Year: 1981
English Title:Chronicle of a Death Foretold

The second book on this list by Colombian literary giant Gabriel García Márquez is here not least of all because of its extremely original style.Crónica de una muerte anunciadais written backwards. The book starts at the end and then progresses forward back towards the beginning.Its opening line is: “El día que lo mataron, Santiago Nasar se levantó a las cinco de la mañana“. (“The day they killed him, Santiago Nasar got up at 5am”). You know he has been killed, but over the course of the book you will find out who has done it and, most importantly, why. This is a short but thought-provoking read perfect for intermediate learners.

5.Las travesuras de la niña mala

10 Must Read Spanish Books (5)

Author: Mario Vargas Llosa
Year: 2006
English Title:The Bad Girl

This love story by Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, who was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 2010, is sure to be a favourite amongst language lovers. The protagonist is a conference interpreter based in various cities around the world. He starts in Lima, Peru, in the 40s and 50s then goes on to Paris, London, then spends some time in Tokyo before ending up in Madrid. Vargas Llosa takes thisopportunity to portray the different histories of these cities, and captures how they wereat the time. He describes the hippies and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in London in the 70s, Madrid in the 80s, the artistic boom in Paris and the worst of revolution and guerrilla war in Peru.

6.Como agua para chocolate

10 Must Read Spanish Books (6)

Author: Laura Esquivel
Year: 1989
English Title:Like Water for Chocolate

Mexican author Laura Esquivel’s popular novelComo agua para chocolateis a classic of the magic realism genre. A traditional Mexican family uses cookingand the mysterious mysticism that surrounds them to escape their dull lives, in which they are constrained by society’s expectations and prescribed gender roles, in order to truly express their feelings and fulfill their dreams. Laura Esquivel originally published the novel monthly in a magazine, with a different recipe accompanying each chapter. So by reading this book, you’ll also learn how to cook some delicious Mexican food!Como agua para chocolateis perfect for intermediate learners of Spanish, and was even made into a popular film in 1992.

(Video) The Best Spanish Book for Beginners? [Review: Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish]

7.20 poemas de amor y una canción desesperada

10 Must Read Spanish Books (7)

Author: Pablo Neruda
Year: 1924
English Title:Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda published this collection of love poems in 1924, when he was only 19. It is controversial for its strong imagery, especially given the author’s young age, yet to date remains the best selling poetry book in the history of Spanish literature, with over 20 million copies sold. It was also translated into English by the poet W. S. Merwin.Neruda’s memorable lines are regularly quoted by Spanish speakers, such as: “Quiero hacer contigo lo que la primavera hace con loscerezos” (“I want to do to you what Spring does to the cherry trees”)

8.Corazón tan blanco

10 Must Read Spanish Books (8)

Author: Javier Marías
Year: 1992
English Title:A Heart So White

Here’s another favourite for language lovers! Spanish writer Javier Marías tells the story of how the narrator, a conference interpreter called Juan, tries to use his newly-wed wife Luisa to get to the bottom of his father’s previous two marriages and their murky past. The novel makes use of its setting in decadent Havana, Cuba, and touches on the topics of politics, love, and –of course – the life of conference interpreters.

9.Lacasade Bernarda Alba

10 Must Read Spanish Books (9)

Author: Federico García Lorca
Year: 1945
English Title:The House of Bernarda Alba

If you’d rather read a play than a novel, Federico García Lorca’s outstanding workLa casa de Bernarda Albais an excellent place to start. This play is about a family of women and their matriarch (Bernarda Alba). The father of the family has just died, and the entire house in Granada, Andalusia is in mourning. The play takes place in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and so serves as a metaphor for post-war Spain. Its portrayal of the Catholic austerity and repression that characterised the post-war era is the perfect setting to tell this story about women, and how the different daughters react to the repression of their female characters. Some have suggested thatLa casa de Bernarda Albawas Lorca’s premonition of his own death.

(Video) The Best Book I've Read In Spanish (so far)

10.La casa de los espíritus

10 Must Read Spanish Books (10)

Author: Isabel Allende
Year: 1982
English Title:The House of the Spirits

A bestseller at the time, La casa de los espíritus is a book about love, death and spirits (ghosts) as told by a girl and her grandfather. The novel was named Best Novel of the Year in Chile in 1982, has been translated into over 20 languages (best read in Spanish, of course!). It’s also been adapted to the big screen in 1994, starring *the* Meryl Streep and Antonio Banderas.

If this list has you craving for more media in Spanish, check out these songs in Spanish that we think you’ll love too. 307 songs hand picked by our Spanish expert - there’s bound to be one that’ll suit your mood right now.

We really hope you enjoy reading these books. If you’ve mastered Spanish already and want to challenge yourself by learning a new language, why now download the Memrise App and get started on one of the 22 languages we teach? Then you can read even *more* books in their original text.

Now that sounds exciting. What are you waiting for? Get started today!

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What is the most read book in Spanish? ›

La Sombra del Viento has managed to sell 15 million copies worldwide in many different languages, making it one of the world's most popular published books.

What is said to be the most famous Spanish book of all time? ›

1. "Don Quixote" — Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. There's no better place to start your journey into classic Spanish literature than with "Don Quixote." Published in two volumes in 1605 and 1615, many consider it one of the greatest novels ever written and the first modern novel.

Can I learn Spanish by reading books? ›

Just like watching TV and listening to podcasts, reading Spanish books is a great way to learn new vocabulary, get a feeling for the grammar, and help your mind start thinking in Spanish. Although reading a whole book may seem like a difficult task as a beginner, it doesn't have to be that way.

What is the most read book ever? ›

The most read book in the world is the Bible. Writer James Chapman created a list of the most read books in the world based on the number of copies each book sold over the last 50 years. He found that the Bible far outsold any other book, with a whopping 3.9 billion copies sold over the last 50 years.

Which is the most read book on earth? ›

The Holy Bible is the most read book in the world. In the past 50 years, the Bible has sold over 3.9 billion copies. It is the most recognizable and famous book that has ever been published.

What is the best Spanish book for beginners? ›

Beginner Spanish Textbooks
  • “First Spanish Reader: A Beginner's Dual-Language Book” ...
  • “Easy Spanish Step-by-Step” ...
  • “Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish” ...
  • “Complete Spanish Grammar” ...
  • “The Everything Learning Spanish Book: Speak, Write, and Understand Basic Spanish in No Time” ...
  • “Ultimate Spanish: Beginner-Intermediate”
30 Aug 2022

Which work is considered the greatest novel in the Spanish language? ›

We believe in the free flow of information

This line, arguably the most famous in the history of Spanish literature, is the opening of The Ingenious Nobleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes, the first modern novel.

Which is the best-selling book of all time answer? ›

Guinness World Records estimates that over five billion copies of the Bible have been sold, making it the best-selling book of all time.

How can I become fluent in Spanish fast? ›

How to become fluent in Spanish: Takeaways
  1. Try a Student Exchange with a Spanish Family.
  2. Take Spanish at School or College or even a Spanish language course.
  3. Travel to Spain or South America.
  4. Live abroad (temporarily or permanently)
  5. Make Spanish friends in person or online.
  6. Listen, speak, read and write as much as you can.
14 Mar 2022

What is the best way to learn Spanish fluently? ›

7 tips on speaking Spanish fluently and confidently
  1. Read aloud. Spanish pronunciation is easy as each letter of the alphabet can only be pronounced one way. ...
  2. Practise, practise, practise. ...
  3. Buddy up. ...
  4. Build your own phrasebook. ...
  5. Stick to one Spanish variety. ...
  6. Sing along. ...
  7. Exercise your brain.

How can I learn Spanish very fast? ›

Tips to Learn Spanish Fast
  1. Immerse Yourself. ...
  2. Use Spanish in Your Daily Life. ...
  3. Make Studying a Habit. ...
  4. Practice Listening. ...
  5. Make Learning Fun. ...
  6. Find a Language Partner. ...
  7. Learn By Socializing. ...
  8. Make Your Own Vocabulary Lists.
12 Aug 2022

What level is beginner Spanish? ›

A1: Breakthrough or beginner.

How many hours should I spend to learn Spanish? ›

According to an FSI study, i.e. the Foreign Service Institute, it should take a new learner approximately 600 classroom hours to achieve conversational fluency in Spanish. They also suggest an approximate 1:1 ratio between the time spent independently studying Spanish and the time spent in a classroom.

Which Spanish is easiest to learn? ›

There isn't one version of Spanish that is easier or harder to learn than another. While the accents and dialects vary from place to place, you can still understand most of what people are saying, regardless of which Spanish you've learnt.

Which is the 2nd most read book in the world? ›

The most read book in the World is Bible. This holy book so far has outsold any other in the world. During the last 50 years, a whopping 3.9 billion copies has been sold. The second most read book in the world is the Holy Quran.

What is the name of 10 famous book? ›

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Which book should I read first? ›

At the same time, it keeps you wondering, “what would I do” at every decision point. The Alchemist is one of many books written by Coelho, and his works are considered among the best books to start reading habit.

What is the best book that has ever been written? ›

The Greatest Books of All Time
  1. 1 . In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. ...
  2. 2 . Ulysses by James Joyce. ...
  3. 3 . Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. ...
  4. 4 . One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. ...
  5. 5 . The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. ...
  6. 6 . Moby Dick by Herman Melville. ...
  7. 7 . War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. ...
  8. 8 .

Which country read the most? ›

The country that reads the most books is India! They led every country on the map with an average of 10 hours and 42 minutes. That is a good average amount for a country as a whole.

Does reading in Spanish help fluency? ›

Reading in Spanish is educational, entertaining, and even soothing! Another perk it's that it's proven to enhance language learning and fluency. Language learners need to find the best way to learn Spanish reading that adapts to their needs and abilities.

What are the 10 tips for learning Spanish? ›

Read out loud.
  • Don't expect to be perfect! Can you remember when learned to ride a bicycle? ...
  • Work on developing an “ear” for Spanish. Remember that language is first and foremost oral communication. ...
  • Practice SPEAKING! ...
  • Be consistent. ...
  • Talk to yourself. ...
  • Use flashcards. ...
  • Label your surroundings. ...
  • Be patient.

Who wrote the most famous Spanish novel? ›

Miguel de Cervantes

Most of his surviving writing came out of his last three years of life. De Cervantes is most famous for his novel Don Quixote, considered the first modern novel, but his first novel was La Galatea, which he published in 1585.

What is the oldest book in Spanish? ›

Amadís de Gaula—the oldest known version of which, dating from 1508, was written in Spanish by Garci Rodríguez (or Ordóñez) de Montalvo, although it may have begun circulation in the early 14th century—is another chivalric romance related to Arthurian sources.

What famous Spanish book has sold more copies than the Bible in the world? ›

Known as the world's "first modern novel," "Don Quixote" is the best selling novel of all time, It has sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. Written by Miguel de Cervantes in 1605, Don Quixote is one of the most important novels from the Spanish Golden Age, and has been translated into 145 languages.

What is the #1 book ever sold? ›

According to Guinness World Records as of 1995, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed.

What is the number 1 most sold book? ›

The Bible. The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, having sold around 5 billion copies to date. The book had several authors and can be roughly divided into two parts: The Old Testament and the New Testament.

What is the #1 best-selling book series of all time? ›

The Harry Potter series is far and away the highest-selling series of novels ever. Written by British author J.K. Rowling, the series has sold at least 500 million copies, 150 million more than the next-highest selling series.

Can Duolingo make you fluent? ›

Can Duolingo make me fluent? Research shows that Duolingo is an effective way to learn a language! But the truth is that no single course, app, method, or book can help you reach all your language goals.

Can I learn Spanish in 3 months? ›

It is possible to learn Spanish in 3 months, but it is true that to fully master the language to a native level, you will need more time. An intensive Spanish course covering all levels (from A1 to C2) consists of 62 weeks (about 15 months in total).

What is the hardest language to learn? ›

Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.

What are 5 easy Spanish words? ›

Basic Spanish Words
  • Hola (Hello)
  • Adios (Goodbye)
  • Gracias (Thank you)
  • Por favor (Please)
  • Si (Yes)
  • Claro (Of course)
  • No (No)
  • Amor (Love)
25 Aug 2021

Why do Spanish speakers talk so fast? ›

A Spanish speaker would almost always link the vowel sounds and pronounce the whole thing as a single word: Todoestoestaquí (To-does-toes-ta-quí). This is another factor that makes Spanish seem faster than English.

Can I become fluent in Spanish in a year? ›

Your deadline will depend on how much time you can put aside to study each day. If you're starting from scratch, you could reach this level of fluency in 1 year by studying for 2 – 3 hours per day. If you're already at an intermediate level, you could get there in about 6 months.

Can I become fluent in Spanish in 6 months? ›

If you can manage to combine being surrounded by native Spanish speakers and by the Spanish language itself, you will be able to become fluent in 6 months (given that you will put efforts into study).

Is Spanish more difficult than English? ›

Spanish has 25 phonemes; it's generally agreed that English has 44 phonemes. (Phonemes are speech sounds.) So it's generally harder for a Spanish speaker to pronounce English well. It means learning entirely new sounds.

Is B1 Spanish fluent? ›

B1 - Conversational I: low intermediate level. B2 - Conversational II: independent, spontaneous. C1 - Fluency I: fluent Spanish in complex manner. C2 - Fluency II: same abilities of a native speaker.

Is B2 fluent? ›

Reaching B2 is generally considered by most people as having basic fluency. You'll have a working vocabulary of around 4000 words. It's not always effortless and it's not always perfect, but neither you nor your native speaking partners are having a really hard time in most circumstances at this point.

What level is fluent? ›

Level five means you are entirely fluent in a language. You were raised speaking the language or have spoken it long enough to become proficient in it.

How many years does it take to speak Spanish fluently? ›

The bottom line

If you start out as a beginner and spend an average of 1 hour per day working on your Spanish, you should able to reach conversational fluency within 8 – 12 months. That translates to roughly 250 – 350 hours of time spent.

What is considered fluent in Spanish? ›

Therefore, we can say that fluency in Spanish is the ability to express yourself in the language without even thinking about what you need to do in order to keep a conversation going. Being fluent presupposes a large vocabulary, strong listening comprehension, and grammar knowledge.

What's the easiest language to learn? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
24 Oct 2021

Who speaks the clearest Spanish? ›

Two countries which are recognized for a clearly spoken, standardized accent are Colombia and Costa Rica; while there are indigenous languages spoken by some citizens, the primary language is Spanish.

What is the clearest Spanish accent? ›

Known as the “purest” form of Spanish, the Castilian accent specifically stems from Castilla-La Mancha and Castilla Leon, two autonomous communities in Spain; however, the Castilian accent is one that is spoken by those who live throughout Spain.

Where is the purest Spanish spoken? ›

If you're looking to learn the purest Spanish, Mexico is the place to go. It has all the grammar conventions from the Spaniards, but with the clear enunciation of indigenous languages.

What famous Spanish book has sold ever? ›

1. Don Quixote of La Mancha. Or the full title El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes, the pinnacle of Spanish intellect as far as literature is concerned.

What is the highest level Spanish? ›

Levels of Spanish: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
  • A1: Breakthrough or beginner. ...
  • A2: Way stage or elementary. ...
  • B1: Threshold or intermediate. ...
  • B2: Vantage or upper intermediate. ...
  • C1: Effective Operational Proficiency or advanced. ...
  • C2: Mastery or proficiency.

What is red book in Spanish? ›

El libro rojo / The Red Book (Spanish Edition)

What is the #1 sold book of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records as of 1995, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed.

Who is the most widely read Spanish-language author? ›

Isabel Allende is one of the most read and most celebrated Spanish-language authors of all time. Many of her novels are based on true historical events and her own experiences, blending myth and realism.

How many years of Spanish is considered fluent? ›

Frankly, each scenario presented requires a different level of Spanish. According to best-selling author and podcaster, Tim Ferris, “To understand 95% of a language and become conversationally fluent may require months of applied learning; to reach the 98% threshold could require 10 years.”

What gender is a book in Spanish? ›


What does DRA mean in Mexico? ›

(masculine Dr.) (medicine, sciences) abbreviation of doktora: Dr. ( as a female title) Dra.

What are Spanish books called? ›

“book” in Spanish – libro.


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