The AP Spanish Literature Reading List, Complete with Texts, Themes and Resources

It’s almost that time of year again.

You and your students need to start preparing for the big, bad AP exam.

It’s going to huff, puff and blow your students over—but only if they aren’t ready to give it all they’ve got.

It’s no walk in the park.

No more picture books in Spanish.

It’s time for complicated short stories, poems, literary works, essays and more!

Your AP Spanish Literature students are in for a challenge. They signed up for it, after all (or were pressured in some way to sign up for it). It’s important that you, their teacher and educational guide, are well-informed as to what they need to read and the rules regarding their AP Spanish Literature studies.

Luckily, we’ve got everything you need to start off on the right foot this year.

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Everything You Need to Know About the AP Spanish Literature Reading List

Rules Regarding AP Literature Assigned Reading

According to AP central, “study of the AP Spanish Literature and Culture curriculum requires that only unabridged, full text, Spanish language versions of the required readings be used.”

The Complete List of Options

Ready to be overwhelmed by the massive amount of books you can assign for reading in AP Spanish Literature class? Good, because that’s what you’re about to scroll through!

We’ve also got possible themes to focus the readings around accompany the titles of the books, thanks to many magical and comprehensive blogs created by teachers for AP Spanish Literature classes.

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Now let’s talk books!

“Dos palabras” by Isabel Allende

Possible themes:

  • male chauvinism
  • the fight for power between the two sexes
  • winning and losing in the “game of love”
  • passion between men and women

“Romance de la pérdida de Alhama” by Anónimo (Anonymous author)

Possible themes:

  • social and political criticisms
  • romance in poetry

“Lazarillo de Tormes” by Anónimo (Anonymous author)

The sections that are fair game for the exam are the prologue (prólogo) and sections (tratados) 1, 2, 3 and 7.

Possible themes:

  • perseverance
  • the tenacity of individuals
  • obstacles in life
  • honor and dishonor
  • social and political criticism

“Volverán las oscuras golondrinas” (Rima LIII) by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

Possible themes:

  • carpe diem
  • time and change
  • passion between men and women

“Borges y yo” by Jorge Luis Borges

Possible themes:

  • most of Borges’s tales embrace universal themes
  • the often recurring circular labyrinth can be seen as a metaphor of life.

“El Sur” by Jorge Luis Borges

Possible themes:

  • the fine line between what is real and what isn’t
  • the different facets of being

“A Julia de Burgos” by Julia de Burgos

Possible themes:

  • self-identity
  • personal oppression and that of others

“El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha“ by Miguel de Cervantes

Focus on: Primera parte, capítulos 1-5, 8 y 9; Segunda parte, capítulo 74

Possible themes:

  • truth and justice
  • reality and fantasy

“La noche boca arriba” by Julio Cortázar

You could teach this story in conjunction with “El Sur.”

Possible themes:

  • the fine line between what is real and what isn’t
  • the different facets of being

“Segunda carta de relación” by Hernán Cortés

Possible themes:

  • imperialism
  • the conquest of Mexico

“Hombres necios que acusáis” by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Possible themes:

  • feminism
  • men as accusers

“A Roosevelt” by Rubén Darío

Possible themes:

  • societies interacting and clashing
  • modernity and the past
  • time and space
  • the duality of being
  • literary creation

“De lo que aconteció a un mozo que casó con una mujer muy fuerte y muy brava” (Conde Lucanor, Exemplo XXXV) by Don Juan Manuel

This is one short story within the greater collection.

Possible themes:

  • perseverance
  • sexism
  • struggle for power between the sexes
  • passion between men and women

“El hombre que se convirtió en perro” by Osvaldo Dragún

Possible themes:

  • negative impact of militant government
  • transformation

“Chac Mool” by Carlos Fuentes

Possible themes:

  • lack of control in society
  • the fine line between reality and fantasy.

“La casa de Bernarda Alba” by Federico García Lorca

Possible themes:

  • this play explores the themes of being one’s own worst enemy
  • the transition from honor to death
  • the role of religion
  • the idea that the poor are “like animals”

“Prendimiento de Antoñito el Camborio en el camino de Sevilla” by Federico García Lorca

Possible themes:

  • honor
  • tenacity of the individual

“El ahogado más hermoso del mundo” by Gabriel García Márquez

Possible themes:

  • the idea of community
  • myth
  • the definition of “man”

“La siesta del martes” by Gabriel García Márquez

Possible themes:

  • relationships between men and women
  • religion

Soneto XXIII,”En tanto que de rosa y azucena” by Garcilaso de la Vega

Possible themes:

  • carpe diem
  • the effects of time

Soneto CLXVI, “Mientras por competir con tu cabello” by Luis de Góngora

You can do an activity comparing this poem with that of Garcilaso de la Vega.

Possible themes:

  • carpe diem
  • time and beauty

“Balada de los dos abuelos” by Nicolás Guillén

Possible themes:

  • the integration of races
  • specifically those of the people who were relocated to America during colonization.

“En una tempestad” by José María Heredia

Possible themes:

  • distance and absence
  • missing home

“Visión de los vencidos” by Miguel León-Portilla

There are two sections to focus on in this text: “Los presagios, según los informantes de Sahagún” and “Se ha perdido el pueblo mexico.”

Possible themes:

  • suffering
  • death
  • self-defense
  • hunger

“He andado muchos caminos” by Antonio Machado

Possible themes:

  • the differences between the rich and the poor.

“Nuestra América” by José Martí

Possible themes:

  • the author’s opinions of American policies
  • diversity in society
  • opinions relating to authority figures

“Como la vida misma” by Rosa Montero

Possible themes:

  • the impact of urbanization on human relationships

“Mujer negra” by Nancy Morejón

Possible themes:

  • historical themes
  • feminism

“Walking around” by Pablo Neruda

Possible themes:

  • life and death
  • emotions and reflection

“Las medias rojas” by Emilia Pardo Bazán

Possible themes:

  • the harsh reality of human life on a day-to-day basis.

Salmo XVII (“Miré los muros de la patria mía”) by Francisco de Quevedo

Possible themes:

  • the constant reminders of death present in daily life.
  • religion

“El hijo” by Horacio Quiroga

Possible themes:

  • lack of order and control in society
  • the fine line between what is real and what isn’t

“…y no se lo tragó la tierra” by Tomás Rivera

There are two main chapters to work with in this text: “…y no se lo tragó la tierra” and “La noche buena.”

Possible themes:

  • lack of faith in religion
  • social change

“No oyes ladrar los perros” by Juan Rulfo

Possible themes:

  • escapism
  • poverty

“Peso ancestral” by Alfonsina Storni

Possible themes:

  • feminism
  • stereotypes about men and women

“El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra” by Tirso de Molina

Possible themes:

  • free will and destiny
  • friendship
  • corruption
  • order and disorder

“Mi caballo mago” by Sabine Ulibarrí

Possible themes:

  • coming of age
  • time and space

“San Manuel Bueno, Mártir” by Miguel de Unamuno

Possible themes:

  • compassion
  • conflicting beliefs

Textbooks Designed for AP Spanish Literature Classes

If you are struggling to decide which texts to use in class, a great place to turn is to one of the many textbooks designed for AP Spanish Literature students. These books contain a variety of the books from the list already and therefore you can choose based on what is included in the text.

“Abriendo Puertas”

This textbook is ideal for AP Spanish Literature students as it contains a number of works on the reading list designed for the class.


This textbook emphasizes analyses and themes of some of the literature required for AP Spanish Literature class.

“Advanced Placement Spanish Literatura“

Another option containing some of the readings for AP Literature class.

Where to Find the Reading List Texts

Buying all of the books on the list would be more expensive then a solid gold bowl of caviar. Okay, slight exaggeration. However, it would certainly add up, but thankfully there are digital libraries where many of the works are available for access.

One site to peruse to find many of the books is the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. If that option doesn’t meet all of your needs, check out the Biblioteca Virtual Universal or Bibliotecas Virtuales.

Yes, the AP reading list can seem daunting, but hopefully after reading this post you feel better prepared to face it head on with your students!

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

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