Buenos Aires for Bookworms

flavio ensiki

(photo by Flavio Ensiki)

Tonight, all of the local bookstores open their doors until 1am for an evening full of literary activities including discussions, readings, poetry jams, live music, rotating corpses and more (find the full program here). Buenos Aires is after all a city of readers and writers, so literature centered activities are quite common and the local bookstores are many, varied and well worth exploring.

The most famous local bookstore, considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world, is the Ateneo Grand Splendid, which is on Santa Fé Avenue. Other bookstores in Palermo, such as Dain Usina Cultural, Libros del Pasaje and Eterna Cadencia are lovely to stop by either to browse or to sit down for coffee, and Alamut bookstore shares a space with Autre Monde which is a nice spot to stop for wine. There are also bookstores that specialize in English editions such as The Book Cellar and Walrus Books.

Another option to explore the local literary scene is taking a tour with Lara Mirkin. Her tours include reading a short story by a local author and then exploring the settings of the story and the author in the city, and stopping for coffee at one of the lovely BA cafes. Tours are offered in both English and Spanish and must be booked in advance. More information is available here.

Visiting the National Public Library in Recoleta, with its nearby Museo del Libro, or heading to Victoria Ocampo’s house in the outskirts of the city are also nice options to get in touch with the local literary heritage.

Of course, the best way to get to know a city’s literary scene is reading its authors. Borges and Cortázar may be the first that come to mind, but there are many other talented Argentine writers well worth exploring. Find a list of suggested authors here, or follow the Buenos Aires Review for online publications about both Argentine and other Latin American literature and translations.

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