Once you make the decision to become a pilgrim along the Camino de Santiago, it’s only natural to consume as much information as you can about it.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of books about the Camino de Santiago. There are guidebooks, personal journeys, and books that are indirectly related to pilgrimage that are worth your time.
If you want to learn about what the experience is like and start preparing for your own spiritual journey, keep reading.
Read on to learn the best books about the Camino de Santiago you need to read before your journey.
1. The Pilgrimage – Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho always wanted to be a writer.
He reached a point in his life where he had nothing to write about. So, he took the journey. That’s right, in 1987, he walked the Camino Frances and discovered that he had plenty to write about.
The result of that journey became his first book and a best seller.
This book is full of spiritual wonder and mysticism that has come to define Coelho’s work. It has very little to do with the day-to-day walk of the Camino. It has everything to do with the world of possibilities that open up to you if you open your heart.
2. The Camino – Shirley Maclaine
Legendary actor Shirley MacLaine never shied away from talking publicly about her spiritual insights. I vaguely remember her being shunned or thought of as crazy in the 1980s.
In her book, The Camino, she shares her experience of The Camino, starting with her mysterious calling to take the journey when she was 60. These are anonymous handwritten letters.
What lies thoughout the book isn’t her day to day trials and tribuations, but a number of stories and documents dreams that create a picture of connection with Spirit.
In 2014, she sat down with Oprah and opened up about her experience.
3. Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles with Jesus – Father Dave Pivonka
This is a wonderful story of a Franciscan priest who took the 500-mile journey from St. Jean to Santiago de Compostela.
It’s an honest account that I really enjoyed reading. Father Dave doesn’t joke when he writes about the blisters and the physical pain one endures (and eventually gets used to).
The beauty of this book is the day-to-day work of the Camino, but Father Dave also equates the jounrney as a path towards a spiritual life. Sure, the first days are exciting as all get out. What happens when things get hard and you feel like quitting? What do you do when you’re tired, looking for God to show up and nothing’s happening?
Those are the deep questions that will be revealed in life and on the Camino. That’s what makes this book such a compelling read.
4. The Power of Love – Bishop Michael Curry
Part of the joy of being a pilgrim is that you get to walk The Way that so many devout Christians took. The one point to remember about The Way is that it is rooted in the love of Christ.
Bishop Michael Curry is the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Perhaps he is best known for his riveting sermon at the wedding of Megan Markle and Prince Harry. This was a sermon about love.
Bishop Curry reminds us that we are beings of love and that is our purpose – to love unconditionally and to accept the unconditional love of God.
This book goes into detail to remind us all about the Power of Love and how we can bring that to our daily lives. You can bring this love with you as you make your way through the Camino de Santiago.
You can also incorporate The Way of Love in your daily life. Check out this program set forth by the Episcopal Church to live in the Way of Jesus.
5. Mindset – Carol Dweck, Ph.D.
This book has nothing to do with the Camino de Santiago. Why is it on this list? It has everything to do with your mindset and how you approach the Camino. It’s an unusual choice for preparing for the Camino de Santiago, but this book has a powerful message that can change your life for the better.
It can also make your pilgrimage experience 100x better.
At the heart of this book is the concept of the two mindsets: The Growth Mindset and The Fixed Mindset. Dr. Carol Dweck noticed in children as young as 5 that they would adopt one of these mindsets.
The Fixed Mindset in kids shows that there’s a belief that their talents and abilities are fixed traits. There’s a significant fear or failure or fear of judgement. So much so, that kids (and adults) with a fixed mindset won’t bother to try.
You don’t give yourself the opportunity to grow and learn because of that fear of failure.
On the other hand, The Growth Mindset is all about learning. Failures and mistakes aren’t anything more than opportunities to improve. They’re not threatened by the success of others, but they are inspired by that success.
The reason why I listed this book as one of the best Camino de Santiago books is that it’s very common for pilgrims to approach things from a place of perfectionism. The conditions have to be perfect to take the journey. In that case, you’ll be sitting on your couch for years.
The Growth Mindset offers a place for you to learn, which can be invaluable on the Camino de Santiago.
If you find that you have a fixed mindset, that’s OK. You’ll learn how to change that throughout the book.
Not only does this apply to pilgrims but to everyone. This can be a gamechanger throughout your life.
The Best Books About the Camino de Santiago
It’s an exciting time in your life. You made the decision to take a transformative journey. Of course, you want to learn as much as you can about the Camino before you go.
These books about the Camino de Santiago are a mix of personal stories, spiritual, and mental preparation that will serve you well during your pilgrimage. You can take these valuable lessons throughout your life.
Do you need more packing and planning tips? Check out this article that will help you decide which Camino de Santiago Route you should take.