Calling All Bookworms
By Agustina Pardini
April 27, 2019
It is well-known that Buenos Aires and Mexico City are among the world’s cities with more bookstores per capita. Here, people still have a crush on paper books, and they prefer to buy them at local bookstores rather than online. Here is a list of 5 book stores you can get lost in if you happen to be in town.
Eterna Cadencia, Buenos Aires.
This library, founded by Pablo Braun, is one of porteños’ favourite choices when it comes to finding a peaceful retreat to browse a book, drink a coffee or attend an event. Eterna Cadencia was born in 2005 and it is located in the heart of Palermo, in a big typical house. The shop is far more than a bookstore as it was designed for readers to feel part of a literary and artistic centre where they could eat, read and chat surrounded by literature. The backyard and the terrace are decorated with tables, sofas and chairs where cultural events such as creative writing courses, book clubs and book presentations are held every week. Eterna Cadencia also has its own publishing house run by Leonora Djament; it has been well-established as a prolific literary firm in the independent literary scene.
Honduras 5574, Capital Federal.
Libros del pasaje, Buenos Aires.
It doesn’t take long before you realize you feel like staying in Libros del pasaje forever. A warm atmosphere prevails all around: people there are very friendly, particularly booksellers, who are always ready to offer their help and transmit their love for books to anyone eager to receive a recommendation. The bookstore is huge; it is ornamented with tall bookshelves which run from the ceiling to the floor carefully classified by literary genres. There is a special shelf dedicated to books in English which includes great volumes of postcolonial literature. There is another section particularly designed for children: lots of illustrated books are displayed for the little ones to grasp and glance at. High up the stairs, there is a little mezzanine containing books of art. If you feel like having a coffee or ordering the daily menu, which includes vegan options, you can sit at Bar del pasaje, which is just inside the store. They usually organize book presentations and open talks. A perfect place for booklovers.
Thames 1762, Capital Federal.
Falena, Buenos Aires
Falena is a destination on its own: it stands as an emerald oasis in a city full of concrete. This bookstore is the perfect place for book and design lovers. Following a minimalist style, Falena has been designed in such a way that allows visitors to enjoy literature while resting in a cosy kind of living room decorated with sofas and a high-paned window, or even have a drink at the bushy terrace. The idea behind the design is for visitors to switch off from reality for a while. Floor to ceiling bookshelves are the reader’s main focus of attention: the catalogue comprises carefully chosen titles from a wide range of independent publishing houses including a selection of art, photography and design. The library’s secret is hidden down in a basement where there is a cellar with an attractive variety of fine wines. Falena regularly organizes book clubs both in English and in Spanish, as well as book presentations.
Charlone 201. Esquina Santos Dumont. Capital Federal
Cafebrería El Péndulo, Ciudad de México
The Guardian has rated the Polanco branch of El Péndulo as one of the fairest bookstores in the world. Popular for its coffee and its impressive modern architecture, El Péndulo has become a cultural icon among Mexican citizens. The bookshop chain has several stores all around the city, each of them sharing the same style. Cultural events are held every day, hosting renowned authors, jazz bands, literary workshops and book presentations. All stores have tables scattered around for readers to enjoy a tasty meal accompanied by a coffee cup or a glass of wine. Apart from an extensive international selection of books in Spanish, the bookstore includes a list of popular volumes in English. The right place for bookworms to shelter from the Mexican heat for a while.
Nuevo León 115, Condesa, CDMX.
Alejandro Dumas 81, Polanco, CDMX.
Centro Comercial Santa Fe, 2° piso, CDMX.
Centro Comercial Perisur, 2° piso, CDMX.
Hamburgo 123, Zona Rosa, CDMX.
Álvaro Obregón 86, Roma, CDMX.
Av. Revolución 1500, Guadalupe Inn, CDMX.
Centro Cultural Elena Garro, Ciudad de México.
Any place carrying Elena Garro’s name surely deserves full attention. Since its opening in 2012, the centre’s communitarian plan has been to foster literature and cultural activities, as well as to praise a writer who has contributed to Mexican literature enormously. The Centro Cultural Elena Garro is breath-taking: illuminated by crystal panes stands a two-storey library which comprises a list of selected volumes published by Mexico’s Secretary of Culture (Secretaría de Cultura), the Fine Arts National Institute (Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes) and the National Institute of History and Anthropology (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia). The cultural agenda follows an extensive plan, which consists of talks, presentations and festivals hosted by noted writers, musicians, film makers, and scholars. Plus, there are creative workshops for children and adolescents. Visiting this imposing bookstore is a fascinating experience where one can somehow feel closer to the Latin American writer.
Fernández Leal 43, Barrio de la Concepción Coyoacán, CDMX.