Searching for that perfect book in English during your stay in Buenos Aires? The good folks over at Argentina’s Travel brings you “Buenos Aires’ Brilliant Bookstores: Finding BA’s Best English-language Book Selections.”
As a literary type I spend way too much on books. Even when I was a librarian and had access to a library of millions of books, I still spent about us$50 a week on my own books and magazines. (My book budget is now a lot lower, down to around 50 pesos a month).
The guide to English-language bookstores, written by Natalie Gourvitch, starts off with my favorite: Walrus Books, which has the best selection of English-language literary fiction in Buenos Aires.
My criteria of quality for evaluating articles about bookstores in Buenos Aires includes examining what is said about El Ateneo Grand Splendid. Yep, it’s a beautiful place but it’s actual inventory isn’t great. Natalie writes, “While El Ateneo, as is true for chain
stores like Cuspide and Distal, is great for finding popular romance/thriller novels with a spattering of Shakespeare thrown in for good measure, it lacks a large selection of classics and quality modern fiction titles.” I assume that she’s talking about the English-language books but I never been very pleased with El Ateneo’s selection of Spanish-language titles, either. I go there all the time to browse around but rarely do I buy anything there.
I’m reminded of my quest last year: Searching for Galeano in the bookstores of Buenos Aires, a odd tale in which it was actually easier to find books in English translations than in the original Spanish.