IT’S that time of year again when everyone is heading to the beach.

Whether you’re a beach bookworm, a poolside peruser or just like to while away the afternoon in a shady cafe, the Olive Press’ top 10 summer reads will offer some inspiration.

Despite a diverse mix of cultures, characters and eras, all our favourites are united by their Spanish subject matter.

Andalucia has inspired a huge number of British and American authors over the years, and whether your heading to Mallorca, Barcelona or just up the road in Tarifa or Almeria a bit of Spanish lit would be a perfect travelling companion.

In no particular order here are our favourite 10 of the moment.

The Drifters – James Michener

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, six very different young people find themselves drawn to Torremolinos in the 60s, when the town was in its heyday

Last Days of the Bus Club – Chris Stewart, former Genesis drummer

Fourth (and most recent) in a series, starting with Driving Over Lemons, chronicling rural life in the Alpujarras mountains, south of Granada

The Telling Room – Michael Paterniti, an American journalist

Real-life tale of a master cheesemaker and love, friendship and betrayal set in Seville

Blood Med – Jason Webster

Fourth in a series of detective stories set in Valencia. Set in recession-hit Spain

Red Sky at Sunrise – Laurie Lee

Special collection of Lee’s books ‘Cider with Rosie’, ‘As I walked out one midsummer morning’, and ‘A moment of war’

Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes

Written more than 400 years ago, still Spain’s must-read classic, even if bound to baffle a few people.

South from Granada – Gerald Brenan

Charts a seven-year stay in an Alpujarran village, with some members of the Bloomsbury group

Ghosts of Spain – Giles Tremlett

Fantastic recent tome by the Guardian’s Iberian correspondent about Spain trying to come to terms with the legacy of the Civil War

The Basque History of the World – Mark Kurlansky

A good place to start for Basque Country beginners

The Queen of the South – Arturo Perez-Reverte

A rip-roaring page turner about drug cartels and trafficking in southern Spain, Mexico and Morocco



  1. I just finished ‘Margot’s Secrets.’ It’s about an ex-pat psychologist who lives and practices therapy in Barcelona. It’s a great read; a little mystery, a little suspense, and very place-specific, without reading like a tourist guide. It was written by Don Boyd, who is from Scotland but lives in London.