Tuesday, March 15, 2011

El Ateneo Bookstore

So, I've noticed that Porteños really, really love their books. Argentina boasts nearly 100% literacy rates, and some of the best universities in the Spanish-speaking world. Bookstores here are as thick as I remember bookstores being back at home when I was a kid -- even more, maybe. And most of them are hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop joints. There's only one huge chain here, with the improbable name of "Yenny's" that's in all the malls and airports, that's no better than, say, a Border's.

But the indie bookstores, here, tend to be arty, trendy, themed, and just over-all awesome. They are in neighborhoods, on busy streets, next to cafes. Books are a big deal here.

So, imagine my delight, living in the land of indie bookstores going the way-of-the-dinosaur Amazonosaurus Rex, that when a majestic old theater couldn't make it selling seats for operas, the owners decided to convert it into a frack-tastic bookstore. Talk about your highest and best use!

I don't have anything especially deep to say about it all-- just enjoy how lovely it is. Going way beyond clean and well-lighted...
There's a cafe where the backstage used to be-- if you're a big, breathless opera geek as I am, it's a *huge* thrill to go backstage and see all the gear and workings.


  1. Wow! this is really a bookstore/building to leave one speachless. :)
    I would love to see it and spend hours getting lost there among the books.

  2. There are so many wonderful books that make me *wish* I could read Spanish better!! (As it is, I can only piece together the titles...)