One Recommendation

School is finally out! That means plenty of time to catch up on all those things I put off during the year, such as:

– deleting duplicates of photos / organizing my computer docs

– catching up on e-mails

– showering

Actually, scratch all of that. Summer always finds me making my way through a stack of books. I’ve recently acquired  The Museum of Innocence (Orhan Pamuk), Cazadora de Astros (Zoé  Valdés), and The Basque History of the World (Mark Kurlansky), so who am I kidding by making to-do lists?

If you’re looking for a quick, summery thriller, those of you in Spain can pick up a copy of Carme Riera’s El Verano del inglés. It gives you ideas for what to do if, by some chance, a batty woman locks you in her houses and forces you to learn a second language. (Hey, don’t we language teachers do that to our students every day?)

“- Mire, Laura – dijo – , ahora que está usted aquí, encerrada odiándome, he pensado que es un buen momento para enseñarle tacos, los peores tacos ingleses. Son útiles, ya lo creo, relajan. Tacos, blasfemias, palabrotas y oraciones para que rece pidiéndo ayuda a Dios. En su situación es lo adecuado.”

–          Page 123


What’s on your summer reading list?

← Previous post

Next post →


  1. I’m going to get this on my kindle tonight! I’m been wanting to read a Spanish book for weeks but have been too lazy pick one out. I definitely need reading practice!

    I’ve been reading a lot of books on Japanese culture lately. I just finished Geisha: A Life , it was fantastic! My favorite read this past year was Nothing to Envy –a book about life in North Korea. Happy summer! 2 more weeks until summer vacation here in Korea!

  2. Cassandra

    Your summer reading comes early, then! Glad to be of help, I hope you like the Riera. I recommend her in general–“La mitad del alma” is also a page-turner.

    Thanks for your recommendation! I’ll have to check it out, as well.

  3. showering, casey? showering?
    as for reading im currently test driving a few books: the tigers wife, middlesex, and Beautiful Ruins (inspired by cinque terre). i still havent found that book that really engancharedme

  4. I’m curious to hear what you think of Kurlansky’s book on the Basque. As a food historian I’ve read two other books by him, Cod and Salt, and always wondered about that one. There is a kind of funny logical relationship between his book topics for a period of years in his career… first he writes about Cod, and then, because of the Basque cod fishing in the Atlantic, he writes about the Basque. And then, because it is common to salt cod, he writes about Salt. I’m curious to know what his thesis is on the Basque. The basic thesis for Cod and Salt is that they were central to the empires/cultures that they built.

    • Cassandra

      When I started reading “The Basque History of the World” I was specifically interested in the linguistic side of the story. But the book is so much more involved than that, tying in information on language, culture, and traditions, along with personal stories.

      As a food historian you’d find it interesting–Kurlansky discusses the importance of whaling, as well as cod and other culinary aspects unique to the Basque. In fact, the first section starts out discussing a Basque cake made with cherries!

Leave a Reply

Read previous post:
The football post

 Football fans celebrate Spain's Eurocup victory on Monday I've seen more fútbol in the last 2 months than in past...