The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society – Chris Stewart

Almond Blossom Appreciation SocietyDuring my first three years in Spain I read every book on the country that I could get my hands on. The travelogues that I most enjoyed came from a bygone era – Orwell’s outstanding Homage to Catalonia, the brilliant Voices of the Old Sea by Norman Lewis, to name two of my favourites. Apart from Duende (another great book, but is it all true?), the only contemporary book of this genre that I really enjoyed was Driving Over Lemons, by Chris Stewart, with its quiet and pleasant tales of setting up home and farm in Andalusia’s Alpujarra mountains.

Well, Chris Stewart is back, with part three, The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society. It’s much the same as the first two instalments, lots of amusing encounters with the locals, and local animals (in the first few chapters we cover dung-beetles, an escapee parrot, and the usual errant sheep), but if Chris Stewart is living your particular dream, then this book will be just as enthralling as the first two.

Personally, having been in Spain for a while, I now tend to judge contemporary Spain books on how much I can still learn from them about Spain, and on that count ABAS is doing pretty well. So far I have discovered that a Carmen (leafy enclosed patio in Granada) is only a Carmen if it has a view of the Alhambra, that the Moors would verbally threaten olive trees that produced no fruit, and that I must read more Michael Jacobs… Thanks Chris!

Pick up at copy at

12 thoughts on “The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society – Chris Stewart

  1. Marbella

    I will give this a try but I wasn’t keen on Parrot in the Pepper Tree. Not necessarily because it was a bad book but Driving over Lemons was so good that it was always going to be tricky to follow up. I remember buying Driving over Lemons; just came across it in the bookshop on a miserable English day with driving rain and a freezing cold wind. When I got home from work that night I stretched out on the sofa and read it from start to finish in one session. I just loved the spirit of that book and found it very uplifting.

    Can Ben persuade Chris Stewart to do an interview, podcast or written? I’ve got a few questions I’d like to ask him.

    Maybe this is one for the forum but I have no hesitation in voting a book by Derek Lambert, Spanish Lessons – Beginning a New Life in Spain, the worst book on Spain/based in Spain ever. A shocker. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

  2. Ben Post author

    I have actually asked the publishers about a podcast, but no reply as yet. I have a copy of Spanish lessons on the shelf, but it has never come down, and now never will!

  3. Marbella

    Good luck with the Chris Stewart request. I’d hope he takes a look at NFS anyway and would want to support you by doing an interview.

    Never open Spanish Lessons. Treat it as a Pandora’s Box. I still have my copy and as I can never give/throw away or even burn any book, I must hide it now so my children never discover it.

  4. Londinense

    With all due respect, Ben, you might have read a lot about Spain in English from English speaking authors. I think the time has come when you begin to read about Spain in Spanish from Spanish speaking authors.

  5. Marbella

    My copy arrived today and I can’t put it down. I’ve got a pile of Saturday newspapers to wade through but this book is far more captivating. Thanks for the recommendation Ben!

    Is ‘escarabajo’ really from ‘es cara bajo’? Who cares, it’s a nice theory.

  6. Londinense

    Ha, Ha, Ha, Marbella, that sounds like Alien is back. Eres un tí­o cachondo.

    You are right, Ben. Just a recommendation. If you want to read about the Second Spanish Republic , The Spanish Civil War and The Franco Dictatorship, I highly recommend you the articles and books of Pí­o Moa:

    If you want to read about the Madrid Bombings and what El Paí­s and the official Spanish Press doesn’t tell you, read the series of articles of Luis del Pino in Libertad Digital:

    And last but not least, if reading is too boring for you, you can always listen to the tertulias of Federico Jiménez Losantos in or César (tocayo) Vidal in .

    This materials are online. You don’t have to pay a “céntimo” to get it. Como ves, mis recomendaciones son buenas, bonitas y baratas. ¡Que te aproveche!

  7. unocualquiera


    No, HF, Moa is NOT a fascist pseudo-historian.

    He’s simply someone that used Republican sources that show how Soviet Spain was before 18 July 1936. Imagine after that up to 1939. Unfortunately, anyone daring to tell these these is automatically a facist. How convicing!

    When someone deconstructs all the lies told by communists, socialists etc about the II Republic in Spain, there’s always “tolerant” people calling names…

    Read more from Moa and learn what really happened in Spain in the 30’s

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