Versión Original

What you need to know in order to choose or recommend a book

In the Spanish class at Versión Original, we have been talking this week about International Book Day, 23rd of April, which is also Catalonia’s Patron Saint Day, Sant Jordi. On that day, we give books and roses are to our loved ones. For Catalan people, Sant Jordi is lovers day and millions of roses and books are given on that day. (In order to know more about Saint Jordi’s Day, you can read our old blog post Sant Jordi: a book and a rose We teachers of Versión Original love to receive roses and books (especially books!) and some of our students have given us books and many times roses – we just make a subtle comment in class for some, but others think about it by themselves. April 23rd. International Book Day

23rd of April is International book day

  On Sant Jordi’s day many publishing houses launch new books and hundreds of writers spread around the city to sign and dedicate their books for their readers. Writers from all over the world come to Barcelona although most of them are Spanish. We asked our students which Spanish speaking writers and books they know and they said: 1- Cervantes, El Quijote. 2- Gabriel García Márquez, Cien años de soledad. 3- Carlos Ruiz Zafón, La sombra del viento. 4- Isabel Allende, La casa de los espíritus. All of them know “El Quijote” is the most famous book in the Spanish literature, but we are aware that none of them has read it.

Quiijote by PicassoEl Quijote by Picasso

  Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende have come to Barcelona in Sant Jordi in some occasions, but Carlos Ruiz Zafón has attended on many occasions. Some of the contemporary writers that usually do not miss the chance to be here are, among others:

  • Almudena Grandes
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  • Maruja Torres
  • Eduardo Mendoza
  • David Trueba
  • Lucía Etxebarría
  • Julia Navarro

All of them are novel writers and they are full time writers although some of them write columns on papers too ( (David Trueba, Maruja Torres). However there are many authors who launch a book at Sant Jordi’s and who sell a lot of copies who come from other areas such as journalism, gastronomy, politics, cinema, sports, art, advertisement or economy.


Millions of books solded

Millions of books sold on Sant Jordi’s day


To talk about books, this vocabulary can be useful:





Novela (Novel)

  • Policíaca (crime)
  • Histórica (historical)
  • Biográfica (biographical)
  • de ciencia ficción (science fiction)
  • de terror (horror)

poesía (poetry)

ensayo (essay)

teatro (theatre)



filosofía (philosophy)

economía (economy)

política (politics)

ciencia (science)

psicología (psychology)

autoayuda (self-help)  


About a novel:

Trama (plot)

Argumento (story line)

El hilo conductor (de la historia) (Story’s common thread)

Protagonista (main character)

Estar ambientada en época/lugar (to be set in a time/place)

Crítica (critic)

Reseña (review)

Portada (cover)  




Authors signing books (photo from


Linguistic exponents to ask and talk about books

Ha salido a la venta el último libro de X
X’s last book has been launched

¿De qué trata?
What is it about?

El libro … trata de/sobre…
The book… is about…

Está ambientado en París en el s.XVII
The book is set in Paris in the 17th century

Es una novela policíaca
It’s a crime novel



Book and glasses

(photo from


¿Qué tal el libro?
How was the book?

¿Qué te ha parecido/pareció el libro?
What do you think about the book?

Me ha enganchado/enganchó
It got me hooked

Lo dejé
I quit it 

No lo pude acabar
I couldn’t finish it

Me ha parecido/pareció It seemed to me…

  • Interesante (interesting)
  • Entretenido (entertaining)
  • Divertido (funny)
  • Genial (great)
  • Ocurrente (witty)
  • Aburrido (boring)
  • Pesado (annoying)
  • un rollo (a bore)

Me ha encantado/encantó
I loved it

Me ha gustado/gustó mucho
I liked it a lot

Me ha gustado/gustó bastante
I quite liked it

No me ha gustado/gustó mucho
I didn’t really like much

No me ha gustado/gustó nada
I didn’t like it at all


A possible dialogue would be:

A- ¿Has leído el último libro de David Trueba?
(Have you read David Trueba’s last book?)

B- No, no lo he leído. ¿Cómo se titula?
(No, I haven’t. What is entitled?)

A- Blitz

B- No sabía que había salido ya. Tengo muchas ganas de leerlo porque los libros que me he leído de él me encantaron.
(I didn’t know it was already launched. I am looking forward to read it because I loved all the books I’ve read by him.)

A- ¿Qué te parecieron?
(What do you think of them?)

B- Me engancharon desde el principio y me parecieron divertidos, ocurrentes y muy entretenidos.
(They got me hooked from the beginning and they seemed funny, witty and entertaining to me)

A- ¿De qué trata el libro?
(What is the book about?)

B- He leído una reseña y trata de un chico que es paisajista, después de descubrir una infidelidad por parte de su novia, va de visita a Munich donde un arquitecto japonés justifica la filosofía de un jardín diseñado para una residencia de enfermos de Alzheimer y las reflexiones a las que le lleva todo eso.
(I read a review and it is about a landscapist who, after finding out an infidelity from his girlfriend, he visits Munich where a Japanese architect justifies a garden’s philosophy designed for a home for Alezheimer’s patients and the reflexions he makes about all that.)

A- Pues ¿sabes que David Trueba viene a firmar en Sant Jordi? Me gustaría poder ir a que me dedicara el libro.
(Well, did you know David Trueba is coming to sign on Sant Jordi’s? I would like to go so that he could sign it for me. )

B- Me encantaría ir contigo. Si puedo ir a la hora que él está firmando, te acompaño.
(I would love to go with you. If I am available at the time he is signing, I’ll go with you.)


Books and roses

Sant Jordi: books and roses (Photo from

This year more than 1.5 million books are expected to be sold. We hope you can buy one and read it in Spanish, and that the book is the right choice Read some reviews and ask your friends and booksellers. With all this vocabulary it will be easy. If you want to know where the authors will be signing their books, you can ckeck this link out


Happy Sant Jordi’s Day!


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