The Most Amazing Advanced Spanish Books for Adults (C1-C2)
Are you looking to take your Spanish literacy to the highest level? The list of advanced Spanish books we’ll look at today are perfect for learners at level C1 or C2 on the CEFR rating scale.
CEFR considers a learner at the C1 level to have “Effective Operational Proficiency.” You may not know every word in the Spanish language, but you are confident to read, write, and converse about all sorts of topics.
Meanwhile, someone at the C2 level has the “capacity to deal with material which is academic or cognitively demanding, and to use language to good effect at a level of performance which may in certain respects be more advanced than that of an average native speaker.”
In short, language learners are considered fluent at the C level.
Books for Advanced Spanish Learners
Here’s a quick list of great literature in Spanish for advanced language learners. All of these are considered advanced Spanish books because they have long sentences, sophisticated vocabulary, and complex plots. Some books on the list are dual language with English and Spanish translations side by side.
1. Tapestry of the Sun
This is a poetry collection related to Guayaquil, Ecuador, a strangely wonderful coastal city with a rich history. It showcases language that is lofty and romantic in some poems, earthy and candid in others.
Springing from this dangerous and beautiful place are the poems unified by “Tapestry of the Sun.” The diversity of the poems mirror the colorful landscapes of Ecuador, as they guide you through key nuances to life in Guayaquil and in Ecuador as a whole.
2. The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems” (Bilingual Edition)
Enjoy this collection of timeless poems by renowned Chilean Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda.
Most of Neruda’s poems revolve around passionate love and nature. The language is ideal for advanced students. You’ll find plenty of familiar language, tons of verb cognates, and a handful of obscure words to keep you on your toes.
Neruda’s work has found a place in the popular culture of both Spanish- and English-speaking countries. This collection is a great starter kit in case you’re interested in further exploring Neruda’s catalogue.
3. La vida es sueño by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Published nearly 400 years ago, La vida es sueño (Life Is a Dream) is a philosophical play about human existence and the meaning of life. It explores themes like free will, destiny, the father/son relationship, and the idea that life is nothing but a dream within a dream.
This book is available in a dual language format with the English translation facing the Spanish original. This version is helpful to decode some of the more obscure vocabulary words and idioms.
La vida es sueño is a true Spanish classic, and reading it will help you get a better feel for Spanish culture and history.
4. El hablador
El hablador was published in 1987 by prolific Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa. Set in Peru in the early 1950s, it’s the story of a university student who leaves civilization and joins an indigenous tribe, yet he can’t let go of his Western mindset.
The novel alternates between two narrators, the main character of the story and the storyteller of the Machiguenga tribe he joins. The book explores the effects of globalism and loss of indigenous cultures.
Its scholarly language and blend of tribal mythology make reading this book both a cultural, literary, and philosophical experience.
Niebla by Miguel de Unamuno is a somewhat abstract and existentialist novel, perfect for the philosophically inclined. In the story, the main character falls in love with two women but chooses to propose to one who then leaves him for another man.
The majority of the book is dialogue, making it perfect for a Spanish language learner. The book contains many philosophical quotes as the author plays with the nature of existence. Niebla is also a great choice for learning Spanish as it was made into a film. After you read the book, you can watch the movie (in Spanish) and see the dialogue come to life.
6. Crónica de una Muerte Anunciada
Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a compelling story that explores injustice and mob hysteria. Written by Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this lesser-known book is slightly shorter and simpler than his most famous works, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.
The plot revolves around a man named Santiago who was brutally murdered in a small town by two brothers. All the villagers including Santiago were aware that it was going to happen, yet nobody prevented the killing. Twenty seven years later, a man arrives in town to try and piece together the truth and at last understand what happened to Santiago, and why.
Are You Close to Mastering Spanish?
Ready to put your advanced Spanish skills to the test? Read the books on this list! Remember, speaking is also important to attain full mastery of the language. Sign up for a free class with a native Spanish-speaking teacher at HSA to practice your speaking skills and discuss all the books you want to read.