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What to read on the Camino?

Gaz27

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre - Summer 2012
#1
Last time I walked the Camino I had forgotten to pack a book, I picked one up in an albergue not far out of Pamplona but it was Bonfire of the Vanities and it didn’t suit the rhythm or aesthetic of northern the Camino at all so I left it half way. I’m just curious to see what other people have read while doing the walk and if anything in particular made an impact on the trip.
 

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Lurch

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
looking at 2018-2019
#6
Why, Shirley McLain’s book of course. That way you can channel your inner...whatever it was she channeled. You can relive her torment at everyone trying to see her nekked, until she bares it all in a pool with the gentle gypsies. The vicious dogs, her spiritual guides, her learning the secrets of Lemuria and Atlantis.

Yes, it is a book before it’s time, her tale of an extraordinary Camino. o_Oo_O:eek:
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#7
I walk until very late afternoon or early evening, so I don't have a lot of time hanging around at my destination throughout an afternoon. Reading to fill time up just doesn't happen. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#8
I walk until very late afternoon or early evening, so I don't have a lot of time hanging around at my destination throughout an afternoon. Reading to fill time up just doesn't happen. :)
I guess you don’t walk in the Summer? Late afternoon is a no- no for me in July/August o_O
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Sahagún to Santiago (2018).
#10
I read "The Stop" by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis... about how to do better than the charity model for food banks, and to build something better with communities. It resulted in me taking up ongoing work as part of my teaching and my service to profession, and that has included working int he local farm garden at the "Hacienda Sarria", where the owner donated 3 acres of land to a community group to grow greens, vegetables and fruits for market. The funds go back into the organization to support community programming for immigrants, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and so forth.
I highly recommend this lovely work of non-fiction.
 
#11
I didn't choose anything specific, just what was next on my reading list. One of the books I read was about Americans who came to fight in the Spanish civil war. That was somewhat related, at least geographically.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#12
Why, Shirley McLain’s book of course. That way you can channel your inner...whatever it was she channeled. You can relive her torment at everyone trying to see her nekked, until she bares it all in a pool with the gentle gypsies. The vicious dogs, her spiritual guides, her learning the secrets of Lemuria and Atlantis.

Yes, it is a book before it’s time, her tale of an extraordinary Camino. o_Oo_O:eek:
Loved it. Read IT prior to initial camino. Gave me warm fuzzies. So much so, I sweated in fear at albergue in Rabanal night before I faced gangs of vicious biting dogs in Foncebadon next day.

You forgot Coelho's "rabid" dog.

To answer OP. Any book you wish to read will be wonderful. Hitt's book Off The Road is quite nice.

Buen camino.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Aragones, Camino Frances, Finisterre (2018)
#13
I love reading novels set where I am currently traveling, so:
- Homage to Catalonia
- The Sun Also Rises
- The High Mountains of Portugal
- Get Well Soon

The last one will make you squeamish but Spain, hospitales, and other Camino things get mentioned quite a bit.
 

kdespot

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés SJPP-SdC Sept-Oct 2016
#14
I know that so many people say that they're too tired at the end of the day to read, but not me! I love laying in bed and reading and the Camino was no exception. I read Hotel Florida: Truth, Love and Death in the Spanish Civil War by Amanda Vaill, nonfiction written like a novel about the Spanish Civil War, tearing out the pages I'd read each night. Really enjoyed it (the book, not the tearing of pages). The one that November_moo mentioned might be Spain in our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War by Adam Hochschild. Another very good read.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#15
Why, Shirley McLain’s book of course. That way you can channel your inner...whatever it was she channeled. You can relive her torment at everyone trying to see her nekked, until she bares it all in a pool with the gentle gypsies. The vicious dogs, her spiritual guides, her learning the secrets of Lemuria and Atlantis.

Yes, it is a book before it’s time, her tale of an extraordinary Camino. o_Oo_O:eek:
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#17
Last time I walked the Camino I had forgotten to pack a book, I picked one up in an albergue not far out of Pamplona but it was Bonfire of the Vanities and it didn’t suit the rhythm or aesthetic of northern the Camino at all so I left it half way. I’m just curious to see what other people have read while doing the walk and if anything in particular made an impact on the trip.
Reading on the Camino???

Maybe the beach at Cannes.

Must be a lot of paperbacks in the hotel lobbies.

The important thing is to keep the intellect stimulated on the Camino. (???)

Your walking to read???

Verbs denote action. So... what are you doing???

Why are you on the Camino???

"Bonfire..." is a great read. Good characters, great rhythm.

If Wolfe doesn't keep you interested, listen to the sound of your boots, the conversation of the pilgrim who snored all last night, and the wind moving across the Mesata.

To corny???

Well, I'm older now. My perspective maybe jaded by years. Life becomes more precious as it disappears.

I'm sure you'll make the right decisions in your life and on your many Caminos; they are not only in Spain.

Buen Camino
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#18
My sister loaded this book on her phone and we all took turns reading it. It was laugh out loud funny.
Travels with my Donkey. One man and his Ass, by Tim Moore.
An English man who thought walking that the Camino with a donkey would be easier than walking and carrying his own pack! It was hilarious and for the record, walking without a donkey is much much easier.

https://www.amazon.com/Travels-My-Donkey-Pilgrimage-Santiago/dp/0312320833

And this one: The Year we Seized the Day, written by Elizabeth Best and Colin Bowles. This is the book I read about 10 years ago that set me on the path to walk the Camino.
https://www.amazon.com/Year-We-Seiz..._rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=ZKC7MT4HSGK8VZQG6E5B
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 20, 2016 to May 20, '16 SJPdP to Santiago d C.
#19
If you're a fan of The Way, a great read is Along the Way: A Journey of Father and Son, authored by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. Part but not all is about making the movie, and their family history in Spain. One of my personal memories was reading the night of May 12, in El Acebo, a particular story by Emilio Estevez about one of the most significant parts of his life, a letter written to him by his parents on his birthday, May 12th. 'Just one of those Camino coincidences! ;-)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
#20
I read Kevin Codd's To the Field of Stars, his journey on the Camino Frances. I had read it prior to walking, but loved reading it along The Way.
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
#21
If you value reading you will always find the time to do so. Last year I read Don Quixote on Kindle. This year I allowed myself the luxury of one paperback - Michael Jacobs, Between Hope and Memories: A Spanish Journey. Like all other books by this art historian, Hispanophile and traveller, it was worth its weight in my pannier. When I’d finished this I searched the bookshelves in every albergue to see if there was anything I wanted to borrow. Private albergues yielded mostly discarded travel guides, celebrities on Camino, and international pulp fiction, but several municipal and Xunta albergues held copies of some arcane local history publications. The Camino thus provided me with a few rare opportunities, including the chance to try my hand, or at least my brain, at reading an account (in Gallego, which I don’t speak) of Emilia Pardo Bazan’s 1916 visit to Lugo. Now I know why so many streets are named after her. Seek, and ye shall find!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (fall 2018)
#22
I always read before I fall asleep, and when I'm travelling I like to read something related to where I am. For the Camino I downloaded "The Pilgrimage Guide to Santiago," and read up on where I would be walking the next day.

Another good one would be "I'll Push You." Wonderful, inspiring story with much more background and detail than their film. If you're on the Francés, you will be travelling the same route they did. Always interesting. And reading what those two guys went through puts ordinary blisters, shin splints and knee pain in a whole new perspective.

For travelling through the Pyrenees and into Pamplona, you can't beat Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises."
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#24
Turn off your brain. Don’t read don’t think. We will use that brain muscle way too much out in the world of darkness. On the no you’re coming into the light. Rest, look around, feel your body, talk to a new friend, listen to your new friend, go to sleep.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (fall 2018)
#25
Everyone is different in what they like to do while on the Camino. I haven't got a particular book to suggest but maybe try checking out TripFiction..... a site where you can search for books written about/or take place in a certain geographical location.
I'd never heard of this before. Great resource. Thanks!
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Coast - March 2019
Camino(s) past & future
March-April,2016 finished
March 2019 the Portugal Coastal Route
#26
I never read while walking the Camino, but had books downloaded on my phone while flying trans-continental. Just never got to them while walking.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#27
I think I will read poetry next time I walk. I could read poetry on my iPhone. I hate reading books on a device and I’m unwilling to carry a hard copy book on the Camino. I don’t yet know which collection of poetry I will read.
 
#28
The one that November_moo mentioned might be Spain in our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War by Adam Hochschild. Another very good read.
Yes, thank-you - that was the name of the book I was talking about, and it was very good. I meant to look it up since I drew a complete blank on the name :)

Everyone is different in what they like to do while on the Camino.
Absolutely. I loved the time I spent reading on the Camino. I always read before bed, and continued that on the Camino, so at the very least I read for about 30 minutes each day. I would also sometimes read while resting on my bunk after walking and showering, sometimes while taking a break during the walk, etc. I spent more than a few hours sitting in some picturesque spot, maybe near a creek or canal eating my lunch and reading my book, just enjoying be out in the world. I spent a wonderful rainy afternoon at an alberque with a beer and my book - it was absolutely pouring rain and super windy, so I stopped early that day and spent the rest of the afternoon all snug and cozy at the alberque. The place was full, but no one staying at the alberque spoke English or Spanish, so there really wasn't anyone to talk to. No matter - I had my book and I love to read, so I was perfectly content. It is one of my favorite Camino memories.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#29

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
The Frances from Pamplona and part VF, first-aid helper and hospitalera
#31
Why, Shirley McLain’s book of course. That way you can channel your inner...whatever it was she channeled. You can relive her torment at everyone trying to see her nekked, until she bares it all in a pool with the gentle gypsies. The vicious dogs, her spiritual guides, her learning the secrets of Lemuria and Atlantis.

Yes, it is a book before it’s time, her tale of an extraordinary Camino. o_Oo_O:eek:
As a Grade-A, card-carrying bookworm I always have a book on the go, no matter where I am.
I’m currently reading and enjoying Shirley MacLaine’s Camino memoir for the second time. Typing this reply from Albergue Victoria in Ciruena, tucked up on my bunk in my sleeping bag and liner, feeling very cosy and looking forward to reading a chapter or two of the e-book before sleep takes over.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011-12-14-15-16-17-18CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
#33
Before I walked my first Camino, Leon to Santiago, in May 2011, I read A.LOT. I belonged to four book clubs and I always read before going to sleep. When I decided to walk the Camino, I wanted to feel 'in' the Camino and not in someone else's story, so I took a big chance and did not take a book with me. I've never looked back.
After walking quite a few Caminos, the only book I take (on my iPadmini) is
The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook
by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson.
I read about the towns that I will encounter the next day, then fall fast asleep.
 

Gaz27

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre - Summer 2012
#34
Reading on the Camino???

Maybe the beach at Cannes.

Must be a lot of paperbacks in the hotel lobbies.

The important thing is to keep the intellect stimulated on the Camino. (???)

Your walking to read???

Verbs denote action. So... what are you doing???

Why are you on the Camino???

"Bonfire..." is a great read. Good characters, great rhythm.

If Wolfe doesn't keep you interested, listen to the sound of your boots, the conversation of the pilgrim who snored all last night, and the wind moving across the Mesata.

To corny???

Well, I'm older now. My perspective maybe jaded by years. Life becomes more precious as it disappears.

I'm sure you'll make the right decisions in your life and on your many Caminos; they are not only in Spain.

Buen Camino
Wolfe did keep me interested, I finished it as soon as I was home, it just didn’t gel with the Camino for me. I find there’s time to both read and listen to the wind across the meseta, not sure why it’s one or the other. Thanks for the replies guys, will definitely look into some of the suggestions.
 
#35
Last time I walked the Camino I had forgotten to pack a book, I picked one up in an albergue not far out of Pamplona but it was Bonfire of the Vanities and it didn’t suit the rhythm or aesthetic of northern the Camino at all so I left it half way. I’m just curious to see what other people have read while doing the walk and if anything in particular made an impact on the trip.

My prayer book plenty of reading for me
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago de Compestela in May(2016)
#36
I would recommend Tim Moore’s book Spanish Steps, Travels with my donkey and The Great Westward Walk by a Spaniard with a very long name. Both of which have been recommended previously. indeed it was Tim Moores book which planted a seed and made me do the walk myself.
However, the only book I took on the walk was Jofn Brierleys guide.
Personally I feel that there are so many interesting, nice people from all over the world to talk with, share a drink or meal with that to immerse myself in a book and cut myself off from their company would be a huge opportunity missed.
 

Cicada

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances St Jean -Santiago April -June 2017
Portugues September 2018
#37
Last time I walked the Camino I had forgotten to pack a book, I picked one up in an albergue not far out of Pamplona but it was Bonfire of the Vanities and it didn’t suit the rhythm or aesthetic of northern the Camino at all so I left it half way. I’m just curious to see what other people have read while doing the walk and if anything in particular made an impact on the trip.
The Angels Game or The Shadow of the Wind both excellent novels by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#38
I think I will read poetry next time I walk. I could read poetry on my iPhone. I hate reading books on a device and I’m unwilling to carry a hard copy book on the Camino. I don’t yet know which collection of poetry I will read.

Try The Rag and Boneshop of the Heart by R. Bly, and James Hilman

Buen Camino
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#39
Wolfe did keep me interested, I finished it as soon as I was home, it just didn’t gel with the Camino for me. I find there’s time to both read and listen to the wind across the meseta, not sure why it’s one or the other. Thanks for the replies guys, will definitely look into some of the suggestions.
As an inveterate reader I never travel without two or three books, and may buy two or three more on my journeys. My van has a pile of , both paperbacks, and hardcovers. Some first editions.

Your question to the Camino community about 'reading while walking' triggered in me the contrast between 'walking and not reading'.

The Camino offers the option of not 'being busy'.

Not carrying over to your limited time 'walking' to your seemingly 'unlimited' time of not.

It's not right or wrong.

It's you have this moment to not put your nose between two pages of paper and exclude everyone else from your world.

WHY NOT???


A common observance from Camino walkers is that they liked the people they met/interacted with. With a book or digital device, you limit yourself.
When you put yourself out there unadorned you allow yourself to be more vulnerable and open.

Sorry if this is coming off as either a lecture or a rant. It's not meant to be.

Just a cry from the wilderness of 'distraction'.

Happy Trails mes amigos.

Buen Camino
 
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