The A to Z of Spanish Culture...
Paul Read, Pilar Orti
Updated edition 2018, covering recent political events.
Planning on visiting Spain? Or maybe you are just interested in finding out what Spanish society is like, how its history, traditions, art and politics have made the country what it is today.
If any of the above apply to you, you will enjoy "The A to Z of Spanish Culture", as you compare how many of the Spanish stereotypes are really a part of Spain today.
The author Pilar Ortí was born and bred in Spain. She grew up in a society trying to figure out how to adapt to its new found freedom and how best to join the rest of Europe. Having lived in London now for over twenty years (time flies!), Pilar has written this "A to Z of Spanish Culture" with plenty of perspective, a bit of nostalgia and above all, a desire to demystify a country that is still represented abroad by toros and flamenco.
This light book about Spain is divided into different chapters, each headed by a Spanish word that opens up a whole aspect of Spanish culture: Spain's history, its society, traditions, art, gastronomy or language.
From grape-eating on New Year’s Eve to the re-enactment of 13th century battles; from the failed military coup in the 80’s to the recent fall from grace of the King; from the origin of the fideua (the pasta-based version of paella) to the origin of the popular tapas, "The A to Z of Spanish Culture" will get you closer to Spain. (And if you're left wanting more, check out the Spain Uncovered podcast.)
When you hear the word "España", you will never think of flamenco dancers again.
From the readers' mouths:
"There is so much that I have learnt from the book as well as being so amused by it. I need to read it again and then go and explore the artists, food etc and desperately improve my Spanish language skills.
The Christmas traditions had a particular resonance as Nigel and I try to 'do' the grapes even when Rich and Sila aren't here. This has led to much hilarity as we try to find the right channel on the radio and then catch the right 'bongs' to eat them to! Sila says it is easier in England because we have grapes without pips and the whole country isn't trying to buy them!!!
Thank you so much for writing it ."
(From a reader's e-mail.)
"El libro es una herramienta indispensable para acercarse a la cultura y a la idiosincrasia española. La autora hace un repaso por diversos hitos culturales, sociales, geográficos, gastronómicos e históricos que revelan mucho de la conciencia de un país y de una sociedad que se encuentra a medio camino todavía entre la tradición y la modernidad.
Me lo he devorado en pocas horas y lo he disfrutado mucho. Realmente merece la pena comprarlo."
"The book is an essential tool to get closer to Spanish idiosyncrasy and culture. The author presents various cultural, social, geographical, gastronomical and historical aspects which reveal much about the conscience of a country and society still half-way between tradition and modernity.
I devoured it in a few hours and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Really worth the purchase."
(As reviewed on Amazon.es.)
"Prima, there are many things in here I didn't know about. Guay."