My pre-trip reading list for Barcelona…
Barcelona, the Great Enchantress, by Robert Hughes
This book is part of National Geographic’s Directions series which publishes travel writing that weaves together a powerful sense-of-place, personal memoir, and historical perspective by “some of the world’s most prominent and highly regarded literary figures.” Susanna Moore’s book, I Myself Have Seen It, that I read in Hawaii earlier this year, is from this same series. Hughes’ book covers the history of his own relationship with the city starting in 1966, while incorporating the city’s larger history from its beginnings as an outpost of the Roman Empire to its modern identity as one of the foremost artistic and cultural meccas of Europe, featuring some of Barcelona’s foremost historical figures along the way.
Iberia, by James A. Michener
Another epic novel by the incomparable Michener, Iberia explores the history, culture, and lives of the people of a nation that became the author’s second home. Each chapter is centered around a different city or geographic locale ad its impact on Spain’s identity and place in history. Chapter ten is specifically about Barcelona.
Spain: A Traveler’s Literary Companion, edt. Peter Bush and Lisa Dillman
More from one of the best series for travel literature out there today, Whereabouts Press presents Spain: A Traveler’s Literary Companion featuring writing, arranged geographically, from some of its natives best-loved literary figures. The section on Barcelona includes four stories from authors such as Juan Marsé and Carme Riera.
Spain in Mind: An Anthology, edt. Alice Leccese Powers
Spain in Mind is an anthology featuring reflections and writings on Spain from some of history’s most famous authors including Langston Hughes, Lord Byron, and Ernest Hemingway. “…the glimpses of another world in Spain in Mind will enchant you.” [from the back cover]
The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
A post-WWII novel about an antiquarian book dealer in Barcelona who stumbles upon a mystery that leads him into “one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.”
Don’t these sound great? I can’t wait to get started!