What did you read while walking the Camino de Santiago?

Camino de Santiago Books

The question was:

I am interested in what people were reading while they we walking. Reading books about the Camino is important before and after, but the books are heavy and once absorbed, provide a context for an experience.

I have walked twice – once ten years ago on the Camino Frances and most recently, this fall on the Le Puy route.

For my first walk, I brought along the Lliad – and didn’t read a bit of it. I was thinking about a classic “journey” book but I realized I was being way too earnest and it simply did not resonate.

In the fall, I brought another book, which I cannot even remember and I think I shipped it home with my initial round of weight shedding.

During the walk, I picked up an Islandic dectective novel translated into french and read that. It was in fact the first book I have read “en francais” for pleasure and has been transformative, in a way since I am now much more likely to read other books in french – but nothing too earnest.

During my walk, I thought more about what would be a good book to read while walking the Camino. My proposal then and now is “Shamrock Tea” written by Irish author Ciarran Carson. The book is an imaginary journey that touches on colours, paintings, saints, Whittgenstein, Irish folklore and other fantastic references. It defies categorization – part memoire, part novel, part folktale and part sorcery. This swill of images fits since we are all engaging in an experience that is outside our comfort zone; hence it complements the reflection and transitions that occur during the walk.

While I was walking, I heard that an Irish pilgrim was talking about this book to others but, he was generally a a couple of days ahead of me. In fact, we met briefly at Conques but did not have much time to have an extended conversation.

What were you reading (or intend to read) on your Camino and why?

Read the good discussion on what book to bring with you on the Camino de Santiago here.

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