I feel like the best modern books in Spanish I’ve read have come from Sandra Cisneros or Isabel Allende; specifically La casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros which is very thought-provoking but light reading.
As for other modern books, I feel like it depends on how modern you mean. Because some people use the term “modern” to talk about the Boom or Postboom in Latin America which is the 20th century, or they use it to talk about Spain’s Vanguardia which is also the 20th century.
If you want modern books as in written in the past 20-30 years, I would suggest going on Amazon or Barnes and Noble and searching for books written in Spanish within those years.
It’s hard for me to recommend “modern” because many books that I’ve found that were worth reading came from classes so it’s sometimes hard to find a “modern” book when all I have are classics to choose from.
I still feel like a lot of books by Gabriel García Márquez or Jorge Luis Borges are kind of timeless in their own way, but again, depends on how far you want to go back.
You may also want to check out the Spanish bestseller lists for books.
Followers? What are your favorite modern Spanish books?
My time has come.
Alright, I agree with the “how modern is modern” but most of these books/authors are from the 1950s and forward. I’ll link the book’s Goodreads page, most of a Spanish edition. (If you want to switch to the English, look under “Other editions.”) Also, I’m bad at what’s intermediate and advanced and all because, well, native speaker here. But I’ll try.
These books I’ve read and I recommend, with some commentary. I tried to order it to what I consider intermediate to advanced:
- These books by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. They’re young adult, so they have simpler language than his other books, but they have his dark descriptions and imagery: Trilogía de la Niebla and Marina.
- Trilogía de Águila y Jaguar de Isabel Allende: The best known book is The City of Beasts. Young adult leaning for the young part. Magical realism, with emphasis on the magic part.
- So, it’s been years since I’ve re-read this series but the Memorias de Idhún de Laura Gallego García. Thirteen-ish me usually refused to read books in Spanish and I loved this, so I’d guess it’s not very complicated in terms of language. Fantasy, very long. Not sure how accessible they are outside of Spain.
- En el tiempo de las mariposas de Julia Alvarez: Originally from English, though. It’s great. It’s in diary form so language starts somewhat simple and becomes more complicated as the girls grow. I don’t recommend the movie. Please, no.
- El tiempo entre costuras de María Dueñas: Again, I don’t remember it having complicated language, but many adjectives. It’s long, though. There’s a Spanish TV adaptation, so you could look it up online to exercise those listening muscles. It’s alright.
- Crónicas de una muerte anunciada by Gabriel García Márquez. It’s short. Less flowery language because less love. It’s complex because it’s a non-linear plot, but it’s sooo goood. Trust me on this one. (Well, it’s the only book of his that I’ve genuinely liked, so I’m a bit biased.)
- El cementerio de libros olvidados de Carlos Ruiz Zafón: Okay, so I’ve only read one of these at the moment, but my parents have read all three and they’re picky readers. These books are longer and more complex than the other ones, in my opinion.
- Aura de Carlos Fuentes: So this one’s short and I don’t remember it having complicated language. But it’s 2nd person POV and this makes it quite confusing.
- Como agua para chocolate de Laura Esquivel: So, this one is magical realism too. Quite some magic here. I remember it having what I can only describe as flowery language. I also remember the movie being quite loyal, but a bit graphic for my tastes.
- La mujer habitada de Giaconda Belli: Two characters from different Nicaraguan eras are the narrators, their connection is quite unique and weird at first. Also advanced language.
- La tregua de Mario Benedetti: Cono Sur Spanish / This is more advanced for language, but with very simple, relatable situations.
- A Julio Cortázar book. Advanced for same reasons as above, but they’re short stories which can make it more manageable. I’ve only read Final del Juego. It was a mixed bag, but most stories were good.
The last three books also use the voseo, if you’re interested.
There’s other authors I’ve heard great things about, but I haven’t read anything from them, so I rather not recommend it yet. So, I liked all of those and I really recommend them. If anyone has any more recommendations, questions, etc., feel free to ask me.