A very simple list. There are plenty of books on Gaudí, Picasso, Miró, Tapiès and others which are definitely worth a good look.
My chief recommendation is the very substantial Barcelona, by Robert Hughes (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992). He starts in the Middle Ages with King Wilfred the Hairy, and goes all the way up to the present, with things you wouldn't expect, like the invention of the Catalan submarine.
Another book to look at, in English, is Catalan Cuisine, by Colman Andrews (Athenium: New York, 1988). There are simple, staple dishes, such as Pa amb Tomàquet (a Catalan-style bruschetta) or allioli (garlic and olive oil paste), but also recipes for stews, game, vegetables, seafood and desserts. Each item is accompanied with copious background information, and makes great reading even if you don't cook anything in the book.