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In the Garlic

Posted by Dreamer

An essential cultural companion and mini encyclopedia on all things Spain, In the Garlic by Valerie Collins and Theresa O’Shea navigates the finer points of the Spanish language and culture, and provides an arsenal of practical words for successfully deciphering life in Spain.

If you didn’t grow up in Spain but want to understand the place, In the Garlic provides a tremendous head start.

An A to Z romp, In the Garlic can be as addictive as Wikipedia. It gives the definitions for and background on a variety of Spanish words, most falling under the categories of cultural (lehendakari and tuna), practical (ITV and UVI), and slang (chungo and cojonudo). In other words (o sea), a Spanish mixed bag of interesting and useful. Some words you’ll inevitably already know but others you’ll be glad to learn.

The two English authors put their many decades of experience living in Spain to good use here, occasionally giving a bit of a historical perspective on Spain for the more recent, post-Franco arrivals. The book is carefully researched (sometimes giving the origins of words) but is also sprinkled with anecdotes that prominently feature the authors’ respective husbands and in-laws, and their adopted homes of Catalunya and Andalucía.

Billed as “your informative, fun guide to Spain,” In the Garlic is one book that actually lives up to its name.

In the Garlic by Valerie Collins and Theresa O’Shea. Mijas: Santana, 2006. 200 pages.
Buy the book in Europe or buy the book in North America.


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An essential cultural companion and mini encyclopedia on all things Spain, In the Garlic by Valerie Collins and Theresa O’Shea navigates the finer points of the Spanish language and culture, and provides an arsenal of practical words for successfully deciphering life in Spain.

In the Garlic

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