A few weeks ago I posted recommendations for memoirs about the Le Puy Camino (also known as Via Podiensis or Chemin du Puy).
Now let’s look at a few of the personal stories available for the Camino Frances.
This is a harder list to narrow down and do justice. Not surprisingly, because the Camino Frances attracts so many pilgrims, there are quite a few (like, dozens) more books available.
To the Field of Stars by Kevin Codd
This was the only Camino Frances-specific book I read before we left for our own Camino in 2015, and I’m so glad I found it. One of the most well-crafted of the Camino memoirs, both thoughtful and personal, Codd’s experience as an American priest on the Camino Frances is full of details about what it’s like to experience the walk, without ever getting boring. The references can be a bit dated; a lot has changed since 2003. But the story will make you want to get off the couch and follow along.
A Million Steps by Kurt Koontz
It’s hard to research the Camino on a site like Amazon without bumping into this independently published tale. It’s timely (Koontz walked in 2012) and detailed… but okay, my editor’s brain wondered often is it wasn’t a little too detailed, cataloging each action of every one of his thirty days. There’s not much of a story arc or resolution to his narrative, but there’s plenty of information for someone who wants to know what the Camino Frances is like.
Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed by Sonia Choquette
I had a strong reaction to reading this memoir last year, just a few months after I returned from my own Camino. The book is well written, thoughtful, and interesting. It also describes a Camino experience that’s almost the exact opposite of mine. (That’s not a bad thing.) The author, a self described “intuitive guide” and “spiritual teacher,” used a travel service to pre-book a Camino package, with hotel reservations every night and baggage service to drive her heavy pack every day to her next stop. Not surprisingly, then, her Camino was less about the walk itself (although she has some interesting descriptions of herself as a Templar in a former life) and more about how she processes through a number of trials and tragedies happening at home.
I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling
A fun “fish-out-of-water Camino tale told by a popular German comedian, it’s a bit dated by now if you’re looking for information (Kerkeling walked back in 2001).
And I confess, I’m just beginning to tackle the stacks of Camino memoirs that have recently released and are loaded on my Kindle. These look great, but I can’t tell you much about them yet. (Give me a few months, and I’ll update this list with a Part 2.)
Sunrises to Santiago by Gabriel Schrim
In Movement There Is Peace by Elaine Orabona Foster
A Camino of the Soul by Katharine Elliott
The Way, My Way by Bill Bennett
The Way Is Made By Walking by Arthur Paul Boers
What am I missing? What’s your favorite Camino memoir?
Disclaimer: The above links all go to Amazon.com, partly because some of these books aren’t widely available in bookstores, and partly because I have an associate account there. If you click the link and buy one of these resources, I will receive a few fractions of a cent. It’s a small way to pay the domain and hosting fees, and help make Camino Times Two self-sustaining. However, if you have a preferred local bookseller who can order these titles for you, you should absolutely do that.