Desperate Literature – Books that explain Spain WIS015

Do you have to be mad to open your own bookshop in Spain in this day and age? Well, Terry Craven from Madrid’s Desperate Literature bookshop assures me that if you’re not brave then you must be stupid!

I spend a morning surrounded by books while Terry, busy pricing and unpacking boxes of books talks through some lesser-known Spanish literature that helps get under the skin of Spain and Spanish society.
He recounts how he came to set up an international bookshop in the heart of the Spanish capital after spending many years working in Paris at Shakespeare & Co. Along the way I find out about Desperate Literature‘s events and literary prize as well as the ins and outs of being an international bookseller.
Find out more about Desperate Literature, its events, literary prize and subscription service here
Here’s a list of the books talked about in the episode:
Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell
South from Granada – Gerald Brenan
Ghosts of Spain – Giles Tremlett
Sexografías (Sexographies) – Gabriela Wiener
Y tú, ¿por qué eres negro? (And you, why are you black?) – Rubén H. Bermúdez
La Colmena (The Hive) – Camilo José Cela
The Winterlings – Cristina Sánchez-Andrade
Jodidos Turistas (F**king Tourists) – Various
Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities – Madrid – Anthology
📺Subscribe on YouTube:
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦Join the When in Spain Facebook Group.
📷Follow on Instagram to see photography from across Spain.
WANT TO SUPPORT WHEN IN SPAIN? 💚 Make a small donation $1-$5 via Patreon:


The When in Spain show is a weekly podcast show, recorded in Madrid (and other parts of Spain) where l talk about my ‘warts and all’ observations and insights on life and culture on the Iberian peninsular.

In each episode of the podcast I cast an eye on everyday life, people, places, politics, culture and history and attempt to give an honest opinion from a Brit who has a love-frustration relationship with Spain. I shall attempt to dispel or indeed confirm Spanish stereotypes through my ramblings and see if I can delve into the Spanish psyche.



I’m Paul Burge, former BBC journalist, Hispanophile and Manchego lover. A Brit, born in Oxford and living in Spain for almost 5 years. I currently live in the centre of Madrid.