Tag Archives: books

My Top 5 books about Andalucía

Recently I read a post by fellow blogger and Brit in Spain, Alastair Savage, reflecting on his favourite books about Barcelona. Challenged by Alastair to do the same exercise for Andalucía, here’s my choice. I have avoided ‘general’ books about Spain such as Giles Tremlett’s excellent Ghosts of Spain, one of Alastair’s picks, and have concentrated on Andalucía. Read Alastair’s guide to Barcelona books here.

‘Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalucía’ by Penelope Chetwode
Penelope ChetwodeI love my secondhand copy of this slim book for its pale blue cover. Penelope Chetwode, wife of poet John Betjeman, takes a circular ride on her horse Marquesa, around the countryside between Granada and Úbeda in Andalucía in 1961. Charming, quirky. Read my full review of Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalucía here.
‘Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalucía’ by Penelope Chetwode [UK: Eland]

‘South from Granada’ by Gerald Brenan
Gerald BrenanDecades before ex-Genesis drummer Chris Stewart bought a house in the Alpujarras, Gerald Brenan lived in Yegen. This is the Spain of the pre-Civil War, contrasting extreme rural poverty with the beauty of the surroundings in the mountains south of Granada. Read my full review of South from Granada here.
‘South from Granada’ by Gerald Brenan [UK: Penguin Classics]

‘Andalus’ by Jason Webster
Jason WebsterPart travel book, part memoir, Andalus tells how writer and journalist Jason Webster explored Spain looking for its Moorish heritage. After Andalus Jason Webster went onto write other travel books about Spain, each of which I enjoyed, before writing his Max Cámara crime novels set in Valencia. Read my full review of Andalus here.
‘Andalus’ by Jason Webster [UK: Black Swan]

‘Driving over Lemons’ by Chris Stewart
This is the Big Daddy of living-in-Andalucía books, with Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence it invented a new genre. Now part of the ‘Lemons Trilogy’ comprising A Parrot in the Pepper Tree and The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society, this is the first and best about life on a remote, hill farm. True isolation. Read my full review of Driving Over Lemons here.
‘Driving Over Lemons’ by Chris Stewart, #1 The Lemons Trilogy [UK: Sort of Books]

‘Death’s Other Kingdom’ by Gamel Woolsey
Gamel WoolseyThe American writer Gamel Woolsey was married to Gerald Brenan. This slim volume recounting their days at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War can be read in one day. She watches Málaga go up in flames from their villa at nearby Churriana, worrying for their safety and that of their neighbours, and what will happen to everyone. A very personal account. Read my full review of Death’s Other Kingdom here.
‘Death’s Other Kingdom’ by Gamel Woolsey [UK: Eland]

5 to remember
un paseo circular – a circular ride
el patrimonio moro – the Moorish heritage
verdadero aislamiento – true isolation
el escritor estadounidense – the American writer
ir en llamas – go up in flames

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
My Top 5 #books about #Andalucia https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2jh via @Spanish_Valley

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Book review: Granada, A Pomegranate in the Hand of God

Granada, a pomegranate in the hand of god by steven nightingaleAnyone who really wants to understand the magic of Granada should read this book. It combines the history of a city, of al-Andalus, its art, music, philosophy and poetry with the story of an American family moving into a house in the city’s Albayzín.

The author’s description of the delighted reaction of his new neighbours to his small daughter, and their welcoming generosity, mirrors exactly our experiences as newcomers in rural Andalucía. There is a charm about the people here, an old-fashioned courtesy and fascination with strangers, which the author also describes in Granada.

At times I wished for a little more about modern-day Granada and less of the history [this has the feel of an academic book] but it is written with an easy poetic style and is a broad introduction to Moorish Spain. It is a rich and complicated story which, when known, aids understanding of today’s Andalucía.

Click here for more about Steven Nightingale’s books.

If you like this, try these:-
‘The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society’ by Chris Stewart
‘South from Granada’ by Gerald Brenan
‘Ghosts of Spain’ by Giles Tremlett
If you like books, check out my book reviews at my website.

‘Granada, A Pomegranate in the Hand of God’ by Steven Nightingale [UK: Counterpoint]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
GRANADA by Steven Nightingale: an insight into al-Andalus #bookreview via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1AQ

On the radio in Spain

When an e-mail dropped into my Inbox, it was easy to answer the questions:-
Did I fancy a day trip to San Pedro de Alcantara, near Marbella? Yes.
Could I talk about my novel, and about adoption? Yes.
Was it okay to speak in English, not Spanish. Bueno? Absolutely, yes! day of the interview - me @ San Pedro 26-1-15aI was thrilled to be asked to appear on The Book Show, the weekly book discussion programme on Spain’s biggest English language radio station for ex-pats. The Book Show is broadcast every Thursday evening in Spain by Talk Radio Europe to half a million listeners. I really enjoyed chatting with presenter Hannah Murray [below] who explained the personal appeal which Ignoring Gravity has for her, she has two friends who were adopted, with differing experiences: one had a happy childhood, the other experienced a rockier road.

hannahmurraymediumThese friendships gave Hannah a key insight into the adoption storyline of Ignoring Gravity and she asked me some really interesting questions. To listen to my interview, click below.

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

 

Buy Ignoring Gravity now at Amazon UK and Amazon US. Available as e-book and paperback.

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Talking about books in Cómpeta

I guess 80% of the conversation at the Cómpeta Book Group in Spain earlier this week was about Ignoring Gravity, I was the guest speaker, but I loved talking books with other book lovers. I came away with more books to add to my own To-Read list – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. Most of all, I was impressed with the Group members’ analysis of Ignoring Gravity and their curiosity about how the story evolved. Competa Book group - after dinner 1-4-15As often happens when I talk about Ignoring Gravity and the immensely complex subject that is adoption, I meet more people touched by adoption itself. The conversation about books continued at dinner and one member told me the story of a friend of a friend. This retired lady recently received contact from the daughter she gave up for adoption in the Sixties. She had told no-one about her pregnancy, at the time, or since. Her husband, her children: no-one else knew. What could have been a traumatic reunion turned into a positive family occasion. The similarities between the birth mother and her daughter – both physical likeness and musical ability – were breath-taking to the observers.

I found the experience of that teenage girl in the Sixties very moving: dealing with her dilemma, alone; living through her pregnancy, alone; taking the decision to give her child away, alone; facing every day since giving birth, alone. And I was amazed at the parallels with Ignoring Gravity and with book two in the series which I am currently writing. Connectedness features a teenage art student who, finding herself pregnant, also deals with her situation alone.

Thanks to the members of the Cómpeta Book Group for such a friendly welcome and lively discussion. What a beautiful part of the world to live in. This was the view from our hotel balcony the morning after. Competa Book group - early morning sun2 2-4-15Competa Book group - early morning sun1 2-4-15If your book group would like to feature Ignoring Gravity, click here for a Reading Group Guide suggesting topics for discussion.
If you would like me to visit your Book Group, please use the Contact Form here.

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra DanbyBuy Ignoring Gravity now at Amazon UK and Amazon US. Available as e-book and paperback.

Publication Day

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra DanbyThe day is here at last, my novel Ignoring Gravity is published today as an e-book. Click here to buy now at Amazon

To find out what it’s about, click here to watch the book trailer.
To hear me talk about how I wrote the book, click here.

Coming soon… the Ignoring Gravity paperback. To keep up-to-date with news about my books, sign-up here to receive my e-newsletter [published 1-2 times a year]

Pre-order ‘Ignoring Gravity’ now

Reserve your copy of my novel Ignoring Gravity by pre-ordering at Amazon. Simply click here to pre-order and the e-book will be sent to your Kindle on the day of publication: November 21, 2014. IG's pre-order button on Amazon 11-11-14To find out what it’s about, click here to watch the book trailer.
To hear me talk about how I wrote the book, click here.
Coming soon… the Ignoring Gravity paperback.

Coming soon… the Ignoring Gravity paperback. To keep up-to-date with news about my books, sign-up here to receive my e-newsletter [published 1-2 times a year]
Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

 

‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press]

Explaining the silence

Those of you who also follow my writing blog may have noticed an absence of posts this week. That’s because my writing blog is being transferred to a new author website, to coincide with the publication of my debut novel Ignoring Gravity later this month. More details coming soon…
5 to remember
a falta de – in the absence of
ésta semana – this week
el autor/la autora – the author
el sitio de web – website
la novela de debut – the debut novel
Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah]