Spanish Everyday Sayings and bullfighting sayings

This book’s main purpose is to help readers, with an advanced level of Spanish, to take their learning to the next level. With this book you will be able to recognise and translate those sayings and phrases that are commonly used in the Spanish language but their meaning cannot be guessed through their literal translation.
In this book you will find general Spanish sayings and a special chapter dedicated to bullfighting sayings.
Whenever possible we have added, along with each Spanish saying, its equivalent in English or the most similar saying in English.
We hope you enjoy it.

Kindle and Paperback   Amazon


Noisy writers - Laura Restrepo and the Colombian literature

Maribel Orgaz / Translated by Isabel Gonzáez - info@leerenmadrid.com
I have been coordinating for several years the activities of different book clubs around Madrid. The library lends a book free of charge and later on convenes a day to discuss it.

At the library ¨Centro de Arte de Alcobendas¨, our book this month has been Delirio from Laura Restrepo. The Colombian writer is well known in all Latin American countries, and she is much appreciated by her readers.

To prepare our session I listened to several of her talks. In one of them the Colombian writer mentioned something that I found very interesting and that may be the reason why some people attending the club are not always willing to read novels by Latin American authors. 
¨We, the Colombian writers, are very noisy. We are unable to describe the intimate life of the characters in our novels. Unlike the British´s writers who do this very well. We do not know how to do it. I start writing and immediately jump into the story, bombs, dead people, drug trafficking…..¨

Laura Restrepo, who now lives in Madrid, said that it is irrelevant where she lives because Colombia is always within her. She wants to challenge herself and she has begun a new book in which the characters do not have roots, without a reference to the place where they live.
¨Let´s see if it is possible that a character does not talk about its country, only about the things that concern a human being¨. 


Finland, the country with the highest reading rate in the world.

Maribel Orgaz / Translated by Isabel González- info@leerenmadrid.com
In Madrid, my home town, it is relatively easy to be able to attend presentations by Finnish educational authorities. Finland has become a worldwide reading and educational model. This time it was Siri Salkumen, an expert in the reading process. She was the guest speaker during a workshop organized by La Casa del Lector”.

What is Finland doing to get such a high rate of readers? It cannot be only due to the bad weather. Other cold countries like for example Russia or Switzerland do not show the same results. The Finns read an average of 42 books a year.

A country of about 5 million people register more than 50 million visits to the libraries each year.
Mrs. Salkunen said:” Finnish people love their libraries”.

Maybe one day we will be able to choose our country of residence not only by our professional needs but also following our heart. There is no doubt in my mind that my choice would be that wonderful place made of ice and libraries.


In Calabria (Italy) With Women from Malasaña

Maribel Orgaz / Translated by Isabel González - info@leerenmadrid.com
On March 9th I was the guest speaker at the Associazione Calabria-Spagna. I was invited to speak about my guided tour in Madrid for the company Carpetania Madrid. The topic of my talk was The Women of Malasaña, including artists, writers and other very special women among them.

The presentation was a challenge. This suburb of Madrid has been a people´s magnet for over a hundred years, attracting a large number of artists, men and women, painters, writers, musicians (it has been compared to Montparnasse).

I gave my presentation in Spanish and it was simultaneously translated into Italian.

Among the women I mentioned in the talk, the historical character who brought the highest admiration was Carmen de Burgos. A woman who suffered domestic violence from her husband but managed to study secretly at home to become a primary teacher. She was the first female war correspondent and also the first woman with a fixed column in a Newspaper earning the same salary as a man. She could only achieve all this after moving to Malasaña in Madrid, from a very poor area in the south of Spain (Almeria).

During my few days in Calabria I was interviewed for Gazzetta del Sud the most popular newspaper in Sicily and Calabria. My hostess was Rosa Fontana, the president of the association, and she guided me through some interesting and unique places, like their beautiful sea promenade, the Bronzes, a national pride, or their beautiful historic library, in which I left a copy of my latest book, Amores que podrían ser.

 Additionally, Calabria means something very special to me. It was in Calabria where my favourite poet, Garcilaso de la Vega, spent some time serving his King Charles I, although he would later apply for a transfer to Sicily.

I must say the coffee the Calabrians drink at any time is exquisite, and the local patisserie is excellent. Unlike some other Mediterranean sweet traditions based on the Arabic cuisine, heavy with nuts and honey, it was always delightful to be surprised, even in the most modest local Cafes, by marvellous pastries, tarts, cakes and other delicacies.

I would like also to share with you that TeleMadrid recorded a program of my guided tour. You can watch it here.

Onda Cero Radio also interviewed me about the tour. You can listen to it here, since 19´17


When the olives need to drop down - Albacete, Spain

Maribel Orgaz / Translated by Isabel González - info@leerenmadrid.com
Dear Readers,
It makes me very happy to announce that I have been awarded the first prize at the Villapalacios (Albacete) writers Award.  I would like to share it with everyone who would like to read it. You can find it here.
Villapalacios has been organizing this event during the past eight years, granting two different awards, Poetry and Narrative. The contest is open to Spanish writers from the whole world.
The person behind this event is Loli, the librarian, her passion to spread the love for books is full of imagination and hard work. For example, she told me she has just opened a book club about the Bible, which includes senior participants who are illiterate.
Villapalacios is located near a Protected Natural Area and the population makes a living from olive oil. This year, the drought in Spain is severe.  In Villapalacios, people need to follow the rain records and they are posted on a piece of paper outside shops in town. They are waiting for the rain to harvest the olives. Even during the award ceremony, this was clearly their main concern. It seems the rain makes olives gain the weight they need to drop to the ground when the branches and even the stems of the trees are vigorously shaken (“vareado”) during harvesting. If the olives are too small they will not drop down, no matter how much one shakes the tree.  Why am I telling you all this? Just to explain that the feelings I perceived were of concern and anxiety.

They explained to me that they had even tried to water the trees, but if the drought persists for a long time, the trees become Indifferent. Most times they do not die, but do not produce any olives either.  There are always captivating stories to listen and write about,
Aren´t there?


The Little Writers Museum - Madrid, Spain

Maribel Orgaz - info@leerenmadrid.com / Translated by Isabel González
The old typewriter or the spectacles, manuscripts, a hat....these are only some of the collected objects you can find in the bookshop and cultural centre "Centro de Arte Moderno". If you are a happy reader enjoying a few days in our city and you are looking for a bookshop specialized in Spanish literature, this is the place!

If you would like the chance to see Cortazar´s spectacles or to get to know Onetti´s calligraphy, you have to visit this place. The owners are two Argentinians, Raúl Manrique Girón y Claudio Pérez Mínguez. They knew Borges personally and they are always willing to share anecdotes from the life and writing style of many authors.

Entry to the Museum is free and guided-tours, also free, can be organized.

Centro de Arte Moderno
Madrid, Spain
C/Galileo, 52 28015 
Tf. 34-914298363 


The Writers´ treasures

Maribel Orgaz - info@leerenmadrid.com / Translated by Isabel González 
The Instituto Cervantes in Madrid has shown a great initiative: to use the vault located in its headquarters, a building which was previously a bank, and keep in the safe boxes the treasures deposited there by different Spanish authors. There are more than 1000 safe boxes in total, and only a few have been used so far. A great job is still ahead!

Francisco Ayala has been the first writer who has deposited his treasure. Each author may choose to keep inside whatever they want to, and they will be disclosed precisely when they set to do it and only then.  It can be letters, books or objects.

At the moment there are treasures from Elena Ponjatowksa, Nicanor Parra, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Henriquez Ureña and Antonio Gamoneda.  We will have to wait until the exact day in which each one will be opened to get to know the treasure of each writer.

The vault will be opened to the public only for special occasions, for example on October 12th the Spanish National Day (El Día de la Hispanidad).
If you are a happy reader visiting Madrid as a tourist, please check the web from Instituto Cervantes to know if it is opened during the days of your visit and have a great time in our beautiful city.


Some suggestions to improve your Spanish skills

Maribel Orgaz - info@leerenmadrid.com / Translated by Isabel González 
Time to time I like to check the selection of recommended books for Spanish students and sometimes I miss more easy-to-read books.  For example,  El  Quijote  is a difficult book for native Spanish speakers and even more for a foreign language student.  Other suggestions may not be so difficult but I find them boring. Photography: Miguel Delibes Foundation

In Madrid, I coordinate several  Book Clubs for adults and there are two books that have been selected repeatedly by the participants as the best lecture.  I have always thought they are excellent choices to improve the Spanish language skills and they present very interesting topics for the readers who enjoy the Spanish culture.  Through their pages you will be immerse in a very well recreated rural Spain from the early XX century and  the early days of the II Republic.

The first one is El Camino from Miguel Delibes. The book tells the story of an 8 year old rural boy who has to leave his village to go to study in the big city. The story goes by in a small village around 1940 and it is full of tenderness and love.

"... if you can read Spanish at all you TOTALLY have to read this. Although I'm not exactly fluent in Spanish, I found myself crying. What a beautiful language. What a beautiful book. Waiting for a quiet time to read it again".
" A touching portrait of childhood and growing up in rural Spain, this book surprised me by its beautiful ending which comes along gradually and gently. It makes one reflect on our own journey through life and the road that we all wish to take and the decisions we want to make about our lives".    Goodreads

The second one is Historia de una maestra and it is set in the previous days of the Spanish Civil War. The author, Josefina Aldecoa  was herself a teacher. She has been the founder of one of the most progressive and prestigious schools even today in Madrid, el Colegio Estilo.

"I was overwhelmed with how modern some of the protagonists’ ideas were (even for today’s standards), and how starkly they contrasted with the backwardness of the surroundings. It was engaging and very pleasant to read, and I definitely want to read the other two books at some point. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have been translated, maybe because the story is so quintessentially Spanish.  Goodreads