6 Must-Read Novels to Practise Your Spanish

Teachers and experts agree that when studying a foreign language it’s best to spend at least 15 minutes a day reading out loud to yourself. Nothing will improve your Spanish accent and vocabulary the way reading will, but sometimes it can feel more like a chore than a fun pastime. When this happens, it’s usually a good idea to take a look at what you’re reading. If your book is too boring, you’ll end up putting it aside, procrastinating, or cutting your reading time short. Tired of your reading list or looking for something to give your Spanish reading time a boost? We’ve got a suggestion (or two) for you!

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La Sombra Del Viento (The Shadow of the Wind) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Best for: Intermediate

Zafón is a well-known literary talent with a remarkable penchant for mixing history with a little bit of magic. This novel follows the adventures of a young boy still reeling from the effects of the Spanish Civil War (see? A little history!) who discovers a mysterious book (see? A little magic!) by an author whose works are being sought out and destroyed. The great thing about Zafón’s work is that it’s aimed at a younger audience so it’s perfect for someone in the throes of learning Spanish!

El Túnel (The Tunnel) by Ernesto Sabato

Best for: Intermediate/Advanced

Sabato’s psychological thriller may have been written all the way back in the 1940s, but it still continues to have an impact even today! As a set text for teens in Argentina, this book isn’t considered extremely difficult to read. The plot revolves around a painter who has killed a woman and at times delves into existentialism. This is a book that will definitely make you think and keep you on the edge of your seat at the same time. Your daily 15 will just fly by!

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El Alquimista (The Alchemist) by Paulo Coelho

Best for: Beginner/Intermediate

Coelho’s famous adult fairytale made quite the impact worldwide when it was first released and has since been translated into countless languages. Although this novel is originally written in Portuguese, Spanish is a close brother to this language and the Spanish translation is spot on. You’ll love this book because the plot is easy to follow and the vocabulary and grammar structures aren’t too advanced. This may just be one novel you’ll find yourself reading again and again.

La Casa de los Espíritus (The House of the Spirits) by Isabel Allende

Best for: Intermediate/Advanced

With the release of La Casa de los Espíritus Allende cemented herself as one of the best Chilean authors out there. Her novel packs a linguistic punch and is beautifully written. Allende is known for being a writer of magic realism which means she combines the supernatural with average daily life. Her cheeky book follows the adventures of a family living in Chile whose women have clairvoyant abilities. Trust me on this one; you can’t go wrong with Isabel Allende.

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Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) by Laura Esquivel

Best for: Intermediate

If you like the culinary arts and a good dose of romance, then Mexican writer Laura Esquivel’s novel is definitely for you! Each chapter opens with a recipe and the novel follows the plight of a young woman who turns to cooking in order to sooth the wounds of an impossible love. The best part is, the book was adapted into a movie so after you finish reading it you can practise your Spanish comprehension skills by watching the film!

El Príncipe de la Niebla  (The Prince of Mist) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Best for: Beginner/Intermediate

Zafón is such a great writer that we really couldn’t resist mentioning just one more book! Set around the same time as La Sombra del Viento (1943), this book  features child protagonists fleeing the aftermaths of war and finding a rather fascinating mystery in the process. This book is also aimed at younger readers but is particularly great because Zafón loves to portray the children in his work as very capable and independent. The clear and concise manner of writing will make it easy for you to get hooked and hard for you to put it down!

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What are some books in Spanish you’ve enjoyed? Share your suggestions with us!