Things I have to read that I don’t have to read

I’m not sure whether enjoying learning Spanish motivates me to read, or enjoying reading motivates me to learn Spanish. I loved reading in my early teens but a lack of time slowly pushed me further and further away from that pastime. In recent months I’ve tried a few times to recapture it, both in English and in Spanish. I find reading particularly good for gathering new vocabulary quickly and for learning more advanced words that are rarely used in spoken conversation. It’s also useful if you want to sit by yourself in a café and stare at more than just your slice of tortilla española.

I have more Spanish reading materials than the three I am about to list, but these are the ones I have with me in Salamanca:


From left to right: El ladrón de paraguas by Raúl Argemí, a copy of Súper Juegos magazine and El fantasma de la ópera by Gaston Leroux (translated by Rafael Sender).

The first is a children’s book that I bought last year in Granada. The title translates as: ‘The umbrella thief’. I was looking for something that wasn’t too difficult for my reading level at the time, and I never finished it. In its original language, too, and illustrated, two little bonuses. The writing is funny and endearing; although I still haven’t finished it, I would recommend it to anyone.

The second is a gaming magazine I bought yesterday. Videogames are a hobby of mine, so the magazine serves the dual purpose of being another source of Spanish whilst keeping me (relatively) informed about an interest I would otherwise be neglecting right now. It’s always good to read about something you’d naturally be interested in and enjoy, which makes a lot of sense and yet often doesn’t happen. I can count a few times where I’ve thought ‘ooh, that would be good for my Spanish’ or ‘this is very culturally/historically relevant’ and bought books that I haven’t read due to a Iwouldn’t-read-this-in-English lack of interest. Good intent is all well and good, but no need to sacrifice all enjoyment (and therefore Spanish progress) for it.

The last is a book I also bought yesterday from a charming shop called Re-Read. All the books there are second hand, and cheap. Whilst it is a translation from the original French book Le Fantôme de l’Opéra rather than originally Spanish, I opted for it due to the reason above — personal interest. I fell in love with the film version of The Phantom of the Opera years ago, then later with the musical and then its sequel (okay, less with the sequel). I’ve been curious to read it since I saw the film and now I will.

Alas, to keep my luggage light I won’t be buying any more books until I reach Seville unless my self-control is ruined by the sheer abundance of beautiful bookshops here but I’ll be sure to post more of my thoughts on these three when I finish them.

My reading breaks don’t end with these though — it’s time for me to go on a travel blog hunt! Inspiration is wood in the fire. I’m going to take a pause before my next post here — a day or two probably — and go reading around instead. Thank you to everyone who’s followed me so far!

Coming up: Personal reflections on my Spanish level