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A selection of books to study the Spanish language

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > The Best Books To Learn Spanish

To learn a language, whether it’s going to be German, Portuguese, Italian or Spanish, theory is important! Indeed, without the basics, it will be difficult for you to progress.

Did you know ? Castilian is the most studied language in the world and spoken by 400 million people across the blue planet, especially in South America. So it’s up to you to get started!

You can of course take private or group lessons to get an introduction to the Spanish language, but it is a safe bet that your teacher will advise you a few books to improve your knowledge.

And if you prefer to self-teach on your own, then books to learn Spanish will be absolutely necessary!

Whether you want to go to Madrid or Barcelona, ​​to discover South America, or simply for the pleasure of speaking a foreign language, Superprof has put together a selection of the best books for you to learn Spanish.

The great classics

Reading great classics When we say classic, we don’t refer to Don Quixote, which is not an easy read in Spanish!

Let’s start with some classic books that will give you the basics of the Spanish alphabet, grammar, spelling, conjugation and vocabulary. This will help you prepare for a language course, perfect your accent or learn to pronounce complicated words correctly!

The Assimil method or its 600-page book to learn to speak Spanish

The author, Francisco Javier Anton Martinez, proposes a solid and effective method, which is based on:

  • work,
  • repetition,
  • intuitive assimilation.

The pack consists of a 612-page book and a CD / MP3 for less than 70$. This method consists of 100 lessons that cover the main points of Spanish grammar, the so-called common vocabulary (the one to communicate in everyday life) and exercises.

You will assimilate the language in two steps:

  • the passive phase: as its name implies, it is in this first phase to be totally passive. As to say: let yourself be carried by what you are asked. Listen, read, repeat but do not try to form your own phrases.
  • the active phase: hang on, in general, you can only move to the active phase after about fifty lessons of 20 to 30 minutes per day! During this phase, it is a question of repeating the passive lessons one by one by adding an active lesson. You will have two lessons per day.

At the end, the final level, called “without difficulty” will ask you to dialogue in a current conversation to verify that you know enough Spanish grammar and vocabulary. Have a native speaker on hand for this!

Half an hour a day to experience live dialogues, reminders of Spanish classes and easy exercises. Within a few months, you can chat with friends or strangers without difficulty. It’s common that an adult masters and uses easily 1500 words after practicing this method.

If you want to join this great family, this big book to learn Spanish seems like it will get you on the good track!

The Assimil method, which has already 85 years behind it, has succeeded in opening the doors of foreign languages ​​to millions of people. It remains to know if it suits you, too!

Keep in mind that learning a language requires rigor, discipline and great involvement, especially when you do it alone.

We love :

  • the method based on intuitive assimilation,
  • the time spent daily: 20-30 minutes,
  • evidence of the results from the use of the method.

We love less:

  • the price, a certain investment

Madrigal’s Magic Key To Spanish

Although Margarita Madrigal wrote this book in the 1950’s, it’s still a “magic key” to learning the basics! Simple and logical, this 496 page book is built around 45 lessons.

The method is mainly intended for beginner students coming from universities and big schools but it is up to you to see if it suits you in your own situation!

The idea is to learn by listening and to fix knowledge by exercises written in the book of exercises in Spanish included.

An evening on the ramblas of Barcelona to speak with locals while enjoying tapas, it is well worth to confront cheerfully the pages of a Spanish manual, right?

We love :

  • the price: less than 15$
  • the presence of both oral and written exercises, two essential elements for learning a living language
  • the clear objectives set before each lesson

15-minute Spanish

This updated language-learning guide, with a brand-new free audio app, helps you learn to speak Spanish in 15-minute lessons with each a different theme.

The 12 chapters are broken down into 15-minute daily lessons that combine vocabulary and grammar essentials about a range of themes, from socializing to doing business for the most user-friendly, accessible language guide on the market.

Hey yes, 15 minutes a day are enough to acquire the bases of the Spanish language!

For all those who feel overbooked, you can enjoy the cooking time of your paella or just part of your lunch break, to devote yourself to learning a grammar point, questions of understanding, or even a little game of conjugation.

This method includes:

  • dialogues,
  • written comprehension and expression exercises,
  • oral comprehension and expression exercises,
  • original activities,
  • grammar and vocabulary points,
  • cultural information because one does not learn a language without putting it in context,
  • tips to improve your pronunciation,
  • as well as self-assessments to take stock of progress.

For less than 15$, it’s tempting! If you are not satisfied, you can always devote your 15 minutes to write an email to its author…

We love :

  • the price
  • the formula: 15 minutes a day, it really is not much, everyone can get away this time!
  • its exhaustiveness

Michel Harrap’s method

This new method, published by Harrap’s, was developed by Michel Thomas, a famous American linguist who studied foreign language learning for 25 years.

We’re cheating a bit because if this method is proposed by an editor, it is not strictly speaking work! It is a 100% audio method in 7 CDs: no book, no notes, no memorization requested (it is done without even you realize it).

The goal of Michel Thomas is to make you learn a language as easily as if it were your first language!

You are initially confident in explaining and pointing out the similarities between Spanish and English. This is true after all: they are two Latin languages, therefor etymologically close to one another! You will also quickly see that Spanish grammar is just as complex as ours!

In just a few hours of active listening, you will be able to acquire a solid foundation in grammar and structure of the language to form your own phrases!

But how ?

The CDs are actually a private lesson with a teacher and two students. You slip into the skin of the third student and answer the questions of the teacher by pausing, before the students of the private course answers and gives you the correction!

Very useful to teach you the basics of the Spanish language in a few hours and allow you to take insurance for your future travels and exchanges with native speakers!

On the other hand, this revolutionary method is not necessarily within the reach of all the scholarships: 70$!

We love :

  • the original approach of the method,
  • the very complete lessons.

We love less:

  • the price
  • the absence of a book: if you need to see or write to assimilate, this method is clearly not for you!

Spanish for Dummies!

You have a beginner level and you are lost as soon as you are asked “¿Cómo te llamas? “,” ¿Que tal? “Or” ¿Cuántos años tienes? “?

The purpose of this Spanish conversation booklet to learn Spanish is to enable the student to integrate current Spanish, as it is spoken today, quickly and well.

The formula is enticing and rather fun, but it is aimed at motivated and autonomous people who are not afraid of potting books on their free time. You need to know that for interactions, we are close to none!

But for less than 8 €, the promises are kept and the results are there if you stick to it, it’s up to you to see!

Otherwise, for those who want a bit more audio, Dummies offer the Spanish “mega audio kit” for dummies with a book, 5 audio CDs, online exercises and a mini lexicon offered.

This book, developed by Spanish teachers, is fairly well structured into chapters (in the office, holding a conversation, at the bank, at the restaurant, in the shops, etc.) to learn the basics in all situations of everyday life. However, you can expect to put in around 50$.

We love:

  • the diversity of prices in the formulas proposed to suit all scholarships
  • the fact that it proposes a current Spanish to converse quickly with Spaniards

We love less:

  • the classic method may not be suitable for everyone

The most fun

Working can be fun, try out our methods It is good to soak up the culture of the country, but we don’t recommend a glass of sangria between two readings!

If the idea of ​​learning a foreign language in a book discourages you, we’lll have to find a more amusing way to convince you to open a book! Here is our selection of more fun books to put you back on the Spanish tracks in a fun way!

Learn Spanish with a fun book

Learning Spanish, El Nuevo Compañero de Cuarto, proposes a new method to learn the basics of the Spanish language and develop vocabulary in record time. It also helps to refine its understanding of Spanish grammar by reading stories in English and Spanish.

It’s for you if:

  • you have Spanish leftovers that you want to reactivate,
  • you like stories and you are interested in learning Spanish by reading stories,
  • you want to expand your vocabulary by reading history in two languages ​​at the same time,
  • you like to compare the structures of sentences in English and Spanish to understand them,
  • you love challenges,
  • you want to acquire an intermediate level in Spanish (B1 / B2)

This book to learn Spanish is a real game: will you recognize all the pairs of antonyms in history?

What are antonyms? Adjectives having opposite meanings: for example true and false, polite and rude, or beautiful and ugly.

This is to find the 100 pairs of antonyms in the text and to list them in Spanish of course! Enhance your vocabulary quickly and in a fun way!

It will then leave the book a few days and then resume it to reactivate the memory and test what you can remember.

Two key words: fun and love! And for less than 5$, yes, you read well!

We love:

  • the price,
  • the playful aspect,
  • the original approach.

We love less:

  • it requires having Spanish basics.

300 chistes españoles e hispanoamericanos

We recommend you the small collection amusing 300 chistes españoles e hispanoamericanos (300 Spanish and Spanish-American jokes) for less than 8$.

To understand some jokes, it may be useful to know some phrases like:

  • Esta chupado, literally “it is sucked” but the English equivalent of the expression “a piece of cake”,
  • Merterse in camisas of ounce varas, literally “to introduce in shirts eleven sizes too big”, which is rather amusing since in English this corresponds to the expression “to put in two cents”,
  • Cuando las ranas crien pelos, literally “when the frogs have hairs” or in French “when pigs fly”,
  • Pegársele a uno las sabanas, literally “to be glued to sheets” and in English “to sleep in”,
  • Pájaros in the cabeza, literally “birds in the head” and in French “to have bats in the belfry”, etc.

The best part of this kind of book as part of your Spanish course?

  • Learning a contemporary and spoken Spanish (and not a frozen Spanish in a schoolbook),
  • Discover idiomatic expressions,
  • Relax the atmosphere in any situation (even dredging if the jokes fit),
  • Notes to understand the subtleties of the language.

The less interesting aspect:

  • again, it is better to have a certain level in Spanish, at the risk of not understanding the jokes!

So, when will your next laugh be? By the way, to have a laugh in Spanish is said to “tener an attack of risa”, so better start early.

And if you laugh in Spanish and you want to transcribe it in writing, you should not say “ahahah” but “jajaja” (with the guttural pronunciation of the Spanish jota)!

Tackling Spanish literature to tame the language

Go looking for some great Spanish books in a library Go rummage through your city’s library! There is necessarily a shelf of literature in original language, you will find your happiness at a low cost!

The best books to learn Spanish are not only Spanish course books and exercises!

Indeed, you can approach the Hispanic language through novels, a good way to take pleasure in learning. Just as one does not begin by reading Shakespeare in sixteenth century English, you will have to prefer easy-to-understand literature such as airport novels.

Here are some ideas to start smoothly:

  • GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, Gabriel, El relato de un náufrago: it is a non-fictional work made of a series of interviews of the author with the only survivor, Luis Alejandro Velasquez, out of 8 Colombian sailors of a warship that sunk. If you like polemics, the book is surrounded by it: the government explained that the men drowned in the water during a strong storm, while Velasco maintains that they drowned because of an illegal loading badly stowed and which detached itself, causing the sailors to fall.
  • JOSEPH JOFFO, A saco de canicas (A bag of marbles): it is an autobiographical narrative that you may have read in English, which will make it easier for you to read it in Spanish. If you like the stories of war, you’ll enjoy it. The story takes place between 1941 and 1944 and two young Jewish brothers have to flee across France under the German occupation.
  • ARMANDO PALACIO VALDES, The hermana San Sulpicio (Sister Saint-Sulpice): a great classic of Spanish realism! The book tells the story of the impossible love affairs of a nun and a Galician physician. If you like romantic stories, you’ll love this book!
  • CARMEN MARTÍN GAITE, Caperucita in Manhattan: inspired by The Little Red Riding Hood, this story tells how Sara Allen who lives in Manhattan learns to read, write and think in an original way thanks to her grandmother’s last boyfriend.
  • CARLOS RUIZ ZAFON, La sombra del viento: in the post-war Barcelona, ​​this novel mixes suspense, love and literature around its main character Daniel Sempere. His life changed completely after the discovery of a new author, Julian Carax. It is a bestseller of Spanish literature that has been translated into no less than thirty-six languages!

Bilingual editions are also a good option to start reading in Spanish because they allow to study the structure of sentences and compare. Don’t hesitate to stay on the lookout for books that we present to you or others that might please you in bilingual edition.

If you buy your books in bookstores, ask the sellers for advice. They are often specialized in their department and will guide you towards a book rather than another according to your tastes and not only according to the place of the author in the best sales.

The short format of tales also appears as a good compromise, here are 3 examples to less than 10$:

  • COLLECTIF DIRECTED BY HENRI YVINE, Cuentos fantasticos de America: to discover or rediscover the pleasure of reading the works of the greatest contemporary authors in their original language.
  • ISABEL ALLENDE, Cuentos by Eva Luna: between dream and reality, the characters meet, love each other and separate.
  • MANUEL VASQUEZ MONTALBAN, News (The soledad acompañada del pavo asado, El Exhibicion, Tal como éramos and El coleccionista): a real favorite for the latest news of the famous Catalan author who died in 2003, who tells Marilyn Monroe’s surveillance by the CIA…

The short format has several advantages: first of all you read a story fairly quickly, and therefore feel a quick satisfaction, then you can read without losing the thread.

This is definitely a format to start to read in Spanish without getting discouraged!

Audio books in Spanish: a great idea

Listen to your favorite audio books With audio books, you can listen to your favorite stories everywhere, even while cycling!

Don’t just put aside audio books in Spanish! It is a great way to learn the pronunciation, the rhythm of the phrases, the accentuation, and to be charmed by the musicality of the country of Flamenco!

There are many websites that offer Spanish audio books as a free download:

  • Librivox.org: a gold mine that contains Spanish literature that has already fallen in the public domain.
  • Ivoox.com: audio books and podcasts. One feels bilingual from the home page with a beautiful phrase clear as rock water: “Escucha lo que interesa, cuando quieras, donde quieras. (Listen to what you’re interested in, whenever you want and where you want.).
  • Albalearning.com: the design isn’t amazing but the site contains many great texts in Spanish. This is where you can discover the folk tales!

Now that you know what books to learn to learn Spanish, do not deprive yourself of free sites to learn Spanish to better master the language of Cervantes! So, what book will you allow yourself to try to shine in Spanish?

Summary:

  • There are many ways to learn Spanish in books. Do not think this must be boring!
  • It is important to learn the theoretical foundations in “classical” books before tackling more fun books and Spanish literature, strictly speaking!
  • Be persistent and motivated! And if you can’t manage to be rigorous on your own, you can always take private lessons. You will find many teachers of Spanish on our site who teach everywhere in France and even remotely!

The best books of Spanish literature to improve your level

Improve your comprehension skills in Spanish Reading children’s books is a good way to improve one’s level of Spanish.

Whether you are in the middle of a language school, during evening classes or summer courses, nothing is worth a book to improve your vocabulary, grammar and conjugation!

Less popular than French literature, Spanish literature is full of authors and writers who have improved or changed the Spanish Language

The novels, tales and poems allow to know more about the Spanish culture, about the history of Spain while enriching your vocabulary with new Spanish words.

The beauty of the narrow streets of Seville, the charm of the monuments of Andalusia and the various populations that participated in the rise of a country recognized today for the beauty of its landscapes, the richness of its language and culture.

For the beginners we turn to books of the Spanish literature easier to access as:

  • Los ojos de mi princesa, a novel written by the Mexican author Carlos Cuauhtémoc Sánchez and published in 2004.
  • Pedro Páramo – El llano en Llamas (1959): a tale of the Mexican writer and photographer. Translated into more than 30 languages, it is a bestseller in the United States with more than one million copies sold.
  • Juan Rulfo Cartas a Chepita: a series of letters that can be likened to the poetry of contemporary Mexican poet and author Jaime Sabines.

More accessible for intermediate and advanced students, the classics of Hispanic literature are at hand:

  • El Quijote or Don Quijote de la Mancha: by his author Miguel de Cervantes, this book is probably the most popular of Spanish literature.
  • Lazarillo de Tormes: written in 1554, the author of this book is still unknown to this day.
  • La Regenta: adapted to cinema, television and theater, this book is a classic of Spanish literature.
  • La Celestina: written by Fernando de Rojas, this book is one of the most beautiful works of Spanish literature; it is read at an early age in schools.
  • La vida es sueño: this novel is not easy to read, it is better to have a level higher than B1 to start reading it.
  • Song of the Cid: written a thousand years ago, this book will allow lovers of the language to discover poetry.
  • The Book of buen amor: considered as the most important “THE BOOK” of medieval Spain, it was written by the one who bears the nickname of “the archpriest of Hita” or Juan Ruiz.
  • El alcalde de Zalamea: by the author Pedro Calderon de la Barca, this book is still considered as a masterpiece of the Spanish Golden Age that has nothing to envy to our century lights.
  • Cañas y Barro: if the opportunity arises to make a trip to Spain, to Valencia, it is the most suitable book to discover the city through one of its most respected authors: Vicente Blasco Ibanez.
  • Fortunata and Jacinta: written in the 19th century by Benito Perez Galdos this book is one of the classics of the Spanish realistic genre.

Discover Spanish through Comics

The best comics in Spanish What can you read when you are a beginner in Spanish?

To learn Spanish, to improve one’s language or to master the Latin language, one can also use comics. Nice for a family setting, easy to access and inexpensive – compared to books in Spanish literature – they provide the learner with an ideal sense of comfort to learn Spanish.

Our little hands that opened this great book, our fleeting eyes that were only passing along the bubbles, and the emotions that each cartoon allowed to grow in us… Ah the beautiful time!

For those who grew up in the 90s, these are imperishable memories and although the mangas are now attracting more interest among the younger generations, one would not deprive themselves of a return to the comics, but this time in a foreign language !

Allergic to reading, tired (cansado) of textbooks or curious to rediscover the world of comics, there are for all tastes, all levels of Spanish and all styles.

We can already turn to comic strips that have brightened our childhood and are now translated into several languages, including Spanish, such as:

  • Tintin
  • Black & Mortimer
  • Largo Winch
  • XII
  • Enki Bilal
  • Manu Larcenet
  • XIII
  • Lanfeust
  • Corto Maltese
  • lucky Luke
  • Asterix
  • Los Pitufos (the Smurfs in English)
  • The Mickey Journal
  • Lupo Alberto
  • Mafalda
  • Peanuts

Now available on tablets, iPad and PC, it can be found on all legal download platforms such as the iTunes Store and Google Play.

For the more “old school” of us, we can always go to his bookseller or simply get delivered comics paper version directly at home after ordering on amazon.fr.

Books of training or personal development in Spanish

Get a book that is good for your level What kind of book can you read when you have a B1-B2 level in Spanish?

Aside from learning Spanish, many of us aspire to improve our intrinsic qualities, skills and level of understanding in our respective fields.

Thus, a farmer could be interested in books on the evolution of ecology, a teacher on new forms of pedagogy and a translator on new techniques to improve his productivity for example…

For Spanish students who are trying to learn the foreign language, it is a way of combining usefulness with pleasure since they can both progress in Spanish while improving their quality, their work or their daily life.

These training books being specific to each of us, I preferred to cover a theme that will appeal to the greatest number: personal development.

Indeed, personal development books are riding high, so I thought it would be interesting to discover some works in Spanish that can have a positive influence on your life or that of those around you.

Moreover, for those whose Spanish is closer to level A1 than level B1, these books have – like Spanish lessons on the Internet – the advantage of being easier to understand. Here we can not find a chastised language, derived from the medieval Spanish or the structures of sentences closer to the Spanish of Latin America than that of Spain.

Here is a small but non-exhaustive list of the books of personal development impossible to circumvent when you learn Spanish:

  • Amar es liberarse del miedo. Jampolsky.
  • Aprendiz de sabio. Bernabé Tierno
  • Brújula para navegantes emocionales. Elsa Punset.
  • Buena crisis: Hacia a mundo postmaterialista. Jordi Pigem.
  • Coaching para el éxito. Talane Miedaner.
  • Conversaciones con Dios. Donald Wash.
  • Curso de psicología de la autorrealización. Antonio Blay.
  • De la codependencia a la libertad. Krishnananda.
  • ¿Dónde están las monedas? Joan Garriga.
  • Ecologia mental. Jorge Lomar.
  • Vivir El Perdón on Amazon
  • El alquimista. Paulo Coelho.
  • El camino más fácil. Mabel Katz.
  • El camino que no conduia a ninguna parte. Giani Rodari.
  • El faquire. Ramiro Calle.

The best books that have been adapted to the cinema

The greatest books for all level Should we go through the classics of Spanish literature to learn this Latin language.

We are used to complaining about contemporary cinema, its inability to produce films of good quality and its focus on the best of the “box office”.

Nevertheless, the film industry can sometimes, in its heyday, sublimate a literary work to give it a more real, visual and eternal character.

Several works of the world literature have already been revisited for the big screen without destroying their nature such as:

  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
  • The saga “The Lord of the Rings” by Tolkien.
  • The saga “The Planet of the Apes” by Pierre Boulle.

These literary examples of which the Hollywood success is obvious are the best known.

Nevertheless, behind the comfort gained by its independence and behind the success-film there are less exposed world-wide – except in the Hispanic-speaking countries – movies, cinematographic adaptations of Hispanic works.

Again, this is a way for Spanish neo-speakers to tame Spanish literature and culture in the most contemporary ways.

Thus, streaming, dvd or video on demand can be cultivated in other ways than by learning Spanish online with online courses, podcasts, or other methods:

  • Tristana: nominated for the Oscar of the best foreign language film in 1970, this adaptation of Benito Pérez Galdós’ work by Luis Buñuel was a real success on the part of critics and the public.
  • La Colmena: published in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1951 by Camilo José Cela, this work was adapted to the cinema in 1982 with in the main roles José Sacristán and our beloved Victoria Abril.
  • Los santos inocentes: directed by Mario Camus, adaptation of the work of this legend of post-war literature, Miguel Delibes, allowed Alfredo Landa and Francisco Rabal to win the award of the male performance at the Cannes Film Festival. 1984.

So whether you’ve been speaking Spanish for a while of have started this as a new language, you see that there are many ways for you to learn. If you no longer wish to take a Spanish teacher, you can also find Spanish speakers with who to converse, travel in Spanish speaking countries, learn Spanish online with apps, or be an auto-didact and learn by reading books and methods that others have tried before. Language courses aren’t for everyone, so if you feel like this is how you can become more fluent, then go for it!

Does your child have issues with reading in Spanish?

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