Category: Bookshelf (Page 2 of 2)

“In the Garlic” = “estar en el ajo”

“In The Garlic” a delightful read by Valerie Collins and Theresa O’Shea, must definitely be Number One book on “Must Have – Must Take ” list of everyone thinking of relocating or retiring out to Spain.

The lovable, little Señor Garlic man on the cover will become your best friend and save cover11.jpgyou many headaches. It will regenerate smile upon miles you explore. It is also a jolly good “holiday read” if you just like visiting the Mediterranean.

My sons will claim I have no sense of humour. But I chuckled my way through page after page. Things I wish I knew before I left “olde Blighty”. Situations I struggled with through mis-pronunciation and malapropism. If only someone had even lent me a copy before I became an Expat, things would have been so much easier!


A book I treasure weekly. Even though I am well-versed in daily living in Catalonia since 2004, I still find it valuable reading. It is totally different and exciting reading to what I expected from the title as it is not a cookery book (though it does deal with some cuisine mysteries). You will retain a good command of Spanish, essential terminology for information for legalities, festivities, quirks and quintessential survival and siestas fulled with belly laughter.

This is one of the few books where you can read any chapter or any page in which ever order takes your fancy. Every Expat, ( irrespective of your home language) should keep this book on your coffee table. Even explanations of boring bureaucracy are written accurately but with a hilarious slant.

Profound colloquialism can too come in handy if the need arises . A fabulous way to grasp the language and to know the score by the time you close the book.


Also read what Valerie Collins wrote about us in her and Theresa O’Shea’s blog and more snippets from their book:

“Archive for the ‘Catalunya’ Category

Chickens (and their heads)… again

April 4, 2008

Talking of Spanish chickens (as did we in connection with El Prat airport), did you know that when you buy a chicken at the supermarket, the head is still on it? I had forgotten this detail of Spanish life, one of the 101 Things They Never Told Us Before We Came To Spain featured at Brighter Spain. Go and read them here. And send in your own for the next 101. Brighter Spain (and Brighter Catalunya) is based near Tortosa in the Baix Ebre and they have some gorgeous holiday accommodation for rent and lots of info about the area.



Bookshelf No. 4 from the Voice of Ebro – 29th September – A Brighter Read

Well, the rain sure came down last Friday night in Catalonia! It was on a par with a monsoon. Delightful for my olives and a disaster for the rice harvest in the Delta as the rain brings the price down. Yet, just the weather for a good read, discover a new hobby or craft away indoors or take over the garage (again!) and try out some more painting attempts.

The wind off Mont Caro this morning, will definitely blow away any cobwebs you might beneweurope1.jpg feeling now all the family have returned overseas.

1. “New Europe” by Michael Palin. If you have watched his other TV series or read ‘Sahara’ or ‘Pole to Pole’; you just have to have this one. He has such a knack of narrating in a way you feel you are the kestrel on his glove, with an eagle eye-view of all his adventures.journeytothesouthanniehawes.jpg

2. “Journey to the South” – Annie Hawes. Another great read from the authoress of “Extra Virgin”, except she has fallen in love with an Italian from the south.

myearhtmybutt.jpg 3. “The Earth, my Butt and other Big Round Things” by Carolyn Mackler. A realistically and funny portrayal of a high school aspiring young adult trying to desperately loose weight for all the wrong reasons. A most enjoyable read for mothers and grandmothers too.

4. “Red, White and Drunk all Over” by Natalie MacLean. Oh what a read! A wine soaked journey from the grape being harvested, to the glass. A lovely stocking filler to accompany some Christmas “plonk” for your best friend.

5.restofherlife.JPG “The Rest of her Life” by Laura Moriarty has sensitively captured how the fears and realities of one innocent action can spiral our lives downwards into a whirlpool of emotion. She writes frankly but weaves in tales with grace and without coyness leaves the reader exposed to very raw questions.

6. “Flying Upside Down: True Tales of an Antartic Pilot” by Mark. A.Hindebaugh. Try this book for an adventure read with a different twist to “living your dream.”

7. “You can Paint Water Colours” by Alwyn Cranshaw. What a wonderful place Catalonia is to take up a hobby you have always wanted to do. This is a “must have” for you totheadsensecodejc.jpg help you to start painting away the days in glorious colours.

8. “The AdSense Code” by Joel Comm. A valuable and informative book for all internet marketing and e-business enterprises – or those who would like to do likewise.

9. “The Complete Idiot´s Guide to Fishing Basics” by Mike Tooth. A book that is well dog-eared and courted by carp and catfish anglers the world overatfirstsight1.JPG

10. “At First Sight” by Nicholas Sparks – a great novel laced with a sweet twist of romance, and other amazing attributes of surprise, shock and even tragedy, makes this an easy attention grabbing book to loose yourself in for a couple of wonderful hours.

11. “Alone in the kitchen with an Eggplant” edited by Jenni Ferari-Adler of 26 contributors expelling their cooking and dining solo experiences, while exploring guilty pleasures in bizarre and unusual food choices or combinations.The pages are entdangerousboys.JPGwined with recipes and it makes a jolly good read too.

12. ” The Dangerous Book for Boys” by Conn Iggulden & Hal Iggulden. A very coolbook for all ages that embraces boyhood with fun and information.

13. * Newsflash* Latest release: “Killer Weekend” from the esteemed pen killerweekednd.JPGof Ridley Pearson, set in Idaho´s Sun Valley. He will reach out and grab you by the jugular from the first few paragraphs . You will not be able to put this book down! The plot seems straight forward (do not believe it) with a local lawman, Walt Fleming´s task to catch an assasin who is poised to murder Liz Shaler – one presidential candidate, it will grip you to the very end, and even then leave you thinking.

Each week the Bookshelf selections are available through and carefully considered and personally selected by EbroRose -the Voice of The Ebro Valley

Bookshelf No 3 from the Voice of Ebro – 17 September – Brighter Autumn read



burningshorews.jpgWeek 3 of “Bookshelf” choices and the mornings are darker now, but nothing beats crawling out of bed and enjoying that first cup of coffee and turning the pages of a new book. The house is quiet. The washing can wait for another hour. Curl up on the couch and savour a few cherished moments and the first few chapters. The chores are on hold. This is your time. Read on!

The olives are ripening now on the trees. Some are green and fat, some black and large, others are small and black, some are green and red…so many different types. Looks like it will be a good harvest this year. There is so much more you can do with your olives and our Number one choice this week is EbroVoice´s olive ‘bible’. This is one book that is bursting at it seams with information. You will not regret buying it – if you enjoy the1olive.jpg country life and love experimenting and trying new things out – or just curious about Olives.

The selection is varied and there is something for everyone.

1.The Sophisticated Olive – Marie Nadine Antol – the complete guide to olive cuisine, olives health & beauty, the art of olive making, olives in your own backyard, the history of the olive. A valuable companion to anyone who relocates to Catalonia or rural Spain.

2.Easy Spanish Phrase Book: over 770 Basic everyday phrases for easy use “Dover Easy Phrases”by Dover Press. Don´t worry if you are just starting to learn Spanish or if you are already chatting away, this will definitely make your conversation more interesting. Try a fripeforpickinganniehawes.jpgew out and see the expressions of wonder

3. “Ripe for the Picking” – Annie Hawes .If you enjoyed the best selling book of “Extra Virgin”. Anyone living in the Mediterranean will relate and enjoy this fuzzy-warm, hilarious and a magical read and people-watching is second to none. If you live further afield you will feel as though you are sat on the Ligurian mountainside sharing all her experiences.

4.”The Barefoot Fishermen: A fishing book for kids” by Paul Amdahl. A charming book to encourage your children to learn about “…bass, crappie, sunfish, carp and catfish live in warm water..”.Oh it does please me when the youngsters pull out these giant carp and magnificent Catfish off the Ebro River banks and they are bigger than their well-seasoned Fisherman-father´s best catch of the day (or night).

5.”Earning Money from Your Spanish Home” by Joanna Styles. Spent all summer”doing it up”? Now lets see show you can refill those coffers that might be feeling the strain of restoration and relocation.fishdont1.jpg

6.”What Fish don´t want you to know: An Insider´s Guide to Freshwater Fishing” by P.Baron.The title itself makes you want to want to grab the book and scour it. A lovely present for “him indoors”.

7.”The Burning Shore” – Wilbur Smith. Once more captures a breathtaking adventure of love, war and the acid bitter revenge and the struggle of a quest just for survival in a country torn apart at the seams. Brilliantly descriptive and such a tale he weaves into the characters. A jolly good read for everyone.

guyaholic.jpg8.Teens book “Guyaholic” by Carolyn Mackler. Another one to save for the Christmas stocking!falseimpressja.jpg

9. “False Impression” – Jeffrey Archer. This brilliant plotter and skillful story teller has excelled himself again, with twists and turns as the action and intrigue moves from New York to London, Bucharest and on to Tokyo, turning up in a sleepy English village.

10.”Needlework Tools and Accessories: A Dutch Tradition-made in Holland” by Kay Sullivan. Something to do when the wind blows off Mont Caro and you curl up by your wood burner, when the olive crop is picked.

11. “Pavarotti – Life with Pavarotti” by Adua Pavarotti – 3 daughters & 34 years married to Luciano until photos surfaced of him and his secretary mistress, Mantovani. The famous, late tenors´, wife offers unique insight into her husbands complex personality, his first love was football, his love of music, his early years, the pressure of fame and their family life.

12.”Spain: The Root and The Flower:An interpretation of Spain and the Spanish People” by John A. Crow .

13.**Newsflash** New release…September 2007 “Songs without Words” by Anne Packer. She stamps the pages with keen introspection and astute psychological tones about Liz songswithoutwords.JPGand Sarabeth (such an unusual name) friendship. Strong characters entwined in close connections. Yet will the flaws within their friendship stand the strain as their lives are soon to be blown apart in a huge crisis. Her second novel and a jolly good read about Californian lives.


Bookshelf No.2 from the Voice of Ebro – 10 September – A brighter read

Week 2 of our Bookshelf collection for a Brighter Read. The selection is varied and covers different interests and activities for all age groups, but ensures enjoyment for all of you. Nothing beats a good read for relaxation and escapism into your own little world. Bliss!

1. “The King and I “-Herbert Breslin – witty and frankly written about Luciano Pavarotti life, escapades and rise to fame from footballer to tenor, by his friend and manager for the last 36 years.

2.” Rugby World Cup 2007 Official Travel Guide” – Mike Gerrard, Donna Dailey and Hope Caton. Bursting with information about the 42 matches across 10 French cities and 2 in the Uk. Jam packed with talk of the rugby villages,shopping and tourist information to make your rugby tour so much more enjoyable. Rugby news and lots of it.

3. “Sharon Osbourne Extreme: Autobiography”.This classical lady has entertained us on TV-She is sassy and so much fun.You will just love her attitude and all her titbits about her husband Ozzey, who she loves unconditionally. Her temerity in her fight for life. Her world has been a man´s world -“dog eat dog”, but above all she has been a Mum to 3 wonderful kids. A definite autumn read!

4. “Craft Inc: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business ” by Meg Mateo Ilasco- in paperback since August 2007.Always thought about doing it – autumn is now the time to start putting your dream craft forward into a business. You are never too young nor too old to do it. A valuable reading source.

“Totally flawed, totally loveable” by Melissa Walker.A book for teens and it has 5 star reviews. V is the girl who is fascinating. All her insecurities and flaws in her character we can relate to. Page after pages scoops you up with both joy and pain.

6 “Double Cross (Alex Cross) by James Patterson as advertised on Satelite television. Definitely another “must read” book while it is still warm enough to enjoy your deckchair outside under the mulberry trees.
7.” Woodworking for Dummies” by Jeff Strong – out in paperback. This book is valuable to “him indoors”, but have you never thought of how this craft is now accessible to us ladies with all these new fanciful, electric tools. Hey, if we can manage the Concrete mixer and the petrol chainsaw,we must be dummies not to give this a go.Afterall, the garage is not just his domain.

8.” A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini

9. “The Collectors” by David Baldacci – The members of the Camel Club reunite to solve a murder at the Library of Congress.

10. “74 Seaside Avenue” by Debbie Macomber. A chess champion keeps a protective eye on his hairdresser wife after receiving veiled threats from a Russian opponent; Book 7 of the Cedar Cove series.

11.”Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen – a young man, an elephant -save a Depression-era circus. This book will be enjoyed like we have just enjoyed the live Circo Raluy in Tortosa.

12.“1001 Most Useful Spanish Words (Beginners Guides)” -Seymour Resnick´s valuable book for all Expats and not just the college kids – that is a lot of words!

13.**Newsflash** – “You´ve been Warned” – James Patterson new release which will be on sale Monday, September 10,




Bookshelf No.1 from the Voice of Ebro – 3rd September 2007




Every week I will delight you with a choice of good reading material covering all the various needs of Expats and their families. No two weeks will be the same. The selection will be carefully researched and will also cover other European languages.

All these books will be available through : — for a A Brighter Read .

Please surf these these pages as there will be regular reviews and updates .


1. The Jamlady Cookbook – highly acclaimed and a very good friend – Beverly Ellen Schoonmaker-she has been a source of inspiration for all my fruit produce in Spain.

2. Adventures of the Pillowcase Puppy -by Michelle Lee …already received 5 star reviews- a puppy who has magical powers-page turner for any age group-delightful read and very well written.

3.A Late dinner – Discovering the food of Spain – Paul Richardson

4. Ghosts of Spain – travels through a country´s hidden and intriguing past – Giles Tremlet

5.Bring Tapas to your Table- 1080 Recipes -best loved cookbook on Spain for for over 30 years- Simone Ortega

6. The Quickie – James Patterson -available since July 2nd, 2007 in hardback

7.The Almost Blossom Appreciation Society – Chris Stewart

8. Valencia- the Lonely Planet guide- Valencia is just over the Catalonian border and close to the Baix Ebre and Montsia regions…somuch to see and do there!

9.A Piano in the Pyrenees – The ups and down of an Englishmen in France – Tony Hawks

10. Europe on a Shoestring-big trips on small budgets – not just for the backpackers- Saraj Johnstone

11.The Olive Route – A personal and poignant journey to the heart of the Mediterranean – Carol Drinkwater – a brilliant British actress who can write so entertainingly as well.

12.Neither here nor there – Travels in Europe -Bill Bryson

13. **Newsflash: September 24th, 2007 – “Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham**


If you are an avid reader desperately trying to find something that you have not read or merely someone searching for a book for a present for an adult, a child, a teenager- a sibling “nothing to do Mom- I´m bored” sort of persona and can´t find what you are looking for.

I will relish in finding your requisite. Just go to my contact page on

Besides now is an ideal time to put away books for Christmas presents and avoid the festive rush on deliveries..or it may just be a learning aid required now!

Hey, Gareth , Lee and Julie, if you want to buy your Mom some good Christmas reads..I will send you a brilliant list to choose from -hint-hint!



1st To DieHowever, you pronounce James in Brighter Catalonia, one thing is for sure, James Patterson´s books are still a mighty good read in any language! (The translation is available in Spanish on the bookshelves here in Catalonia.)

Oh, thank you Richard and Paula J. for mailing me your copy of “1st To Die” and, yes, my favourite hobby is still reading! I had almost forgotten how good a read James Patterson´s books are to me.

The creator of well loved and respected Alex Cross, now weaves in the enthralling Women´s Murder Club, to make his plots even more absorbing. These professional ladies fight undauntingly together against the criminal minds, creating new dimensions to the already existing suspense.

A homicide inspector, a reporter, an assistant DA and a medical Coroner examinor are all friends united together, always there for each other with their academic accolades and wealth of experience, all with the same end purpose – to stop the criminals!

Nothing but nothing prepares them for these sick murders occuring all over in honeymooners´ paradise gone wrong, again and again and again.

This is definitely going to be a thrilling and spell binding series. Why would a brutal maniac killer target only newly wed couples? Where is his or even her link to them?

Yet, within all this slaughtering action James Patterson weaves a romantic thread – only to end in personal tragedy.

A novel where you, the reader forget about your family, your dogs and cats – they all go unfed, as you are totally oblvious to all of them, as this thriller races your pulse, gathering speed as you “chew up” page after page. When you think they have captured the killer, you stumble into a twist in the story. There is always more.

And when it is all over you are still thinking about it and start surfing immediately to find when the “follow up” is in print.

Astoundingly good read! Never tried one of his books? Go on – you´ll never regret it.

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