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Ever since my son and I walked the Camino de Santiago – the 800 kilometer pilgrim trail stretching from the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in France to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Santiago de Compostela near the west coast of Spain – I have relived the journey by reading a variety of books about the Camino.
This post is simply a way of acquainting readers with some of the various books written in English about the Camino de Santiago that I have come to read and enjoy. It may be helpful in allowing readers of this blog to come to a decision about whether to undertake the pilgrimage. For those who have themselves completed the pilgrimage, reading about others’ experiences can also be of value, allowing them to reminisce, reflect and re-live their own experience along the Way.
My list is not comprehensive. I have simply discussed the books that I myself have read and found interesting, informative and entertaining.
For those who would like a book giving advice on how to walk the Camino, let me highly recommend John Brierley’s A Pilgrim’s Guide to The Camino de Santiago . It is comprehensive, easy to carry and the only book that we took with us on our journey.
The Camino de Santiago in Spain is probably best known as a pilgrim way for Catholics, and if it is this religious and spiritual aspect of the Camino that you would like to read about, let me recommend two good books written by Australians – Theresa Berkhardt Felder’s Pray for me in Santiago and Tony Kevin’s Walking the Camino. Although I myself am not a Catholic, I found the former inspiring and the latter reassuring.
For those who would like to read of a non-Catholic yet profoundly spiritual journey along the Camino, there is Shirley Maclaine’s book The Camino. A Journey of the Spirit which inspired many Americans to walk the Camino – while Hape Kirkeling’s I’m Off Then by one of Germany’s most famous TV comedians is said to be the inspiration for numerous German pilgrims undertaking the trek.
For a more irreverent Australian look at the Camino, you could always have a look at Tom Trumble’s Unholy Pilgrims (Penguin Books (2011) . In my view it is a trifle irreverent – but then tastes differ, and you may find that in your view it is an invigorating read.
Canadian Guy Thatcher’s book contains useful information, pertinent observations and views with which most of us can empathise. I enjoyed about the journey of this former Canadian army officer – and can recommend ‘A Journey of Days’ to anyone who contemplates walking the Camino – or has walked the Camino and wants to relive and reflect on his/her experience.
Karen Manwaring’s book on the other hand is packed with practical advice for those who are preparing to walk the Camino. It has interesting snippets of information as well as recipes for some of the typical dishes one encounters along the journey! She is ideally qualified to write of the Camino experience, having walked the 800 kilometre Camino along the French Route not once but twice. Her book provides a useful introduction for anyone who contemplates undertaking this amazing pilgrimage and needs something to whet their appetite.
2. Burkhardt-Felder Theresa. Pray for me in Santiago. Fremantle Arts Centre press (2005) ISBN 1 920731 45 8 25 Quarry Street Fremantle PO Box 158 North Fremantle 6159.
3. Kevin, Tony. Walking the Camino. Scribe Publications (2007) ISBN 9781921215445, PO Box 523, Carlton North, Victoria firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Hitt, Jack Off the Road Simon and Schuster Paperbacks (2005) ISBN0743261110 Rockefeller Center, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New york NY 10020
5. Trumble, Tom. Unholy Pilgrims. Penguin Books (2011) ISBN 9780143205852, 250 Camberwell Road, Camerwell, Victoria 3124
6. Manwaring, Karen. A Slow Walk Across Spain (2010) ISBN 9780646544656. Watermelon Press, Melbourne
7. Mullen, Robert. Call of the Camino. Findhorn Press (2010) ISBN 978-1-84409-510-0-117-121. High Street Forres IV36 1AB, Scotland.
8. Kirkeling, Hape. I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding myself on the Camino de Santiago (English translation) Simon & Schuster (2009), ISBN 978-1-4165-5387-8 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10020 USA.
10. Thatcher, Guy. A Journey of Days. General Store Publishing House (2008) ISBN-13: 978-1897113998 Renfrew Canada
11. Maclaine, Shirley. The Camino. A Journey of the Spirit Pocket Books (2000), ISBN 978-0-7434-0073-2,1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10020 USA