For the official re-launch of this blog, I took the easy way out. This post, originally from 2010, was by far the one that got the most comments and the most views, so rather than leaving it buried I've moved it to the top.
I thought I would give the bookstore lovers out there a few ideas for their 2013 vacation destinations. If you're looking for a bookstore pilgrimage (and who isn't?), try any, or all, of these three:
|El Ateneo - Buenos Aires|
El Ateneo Bookstore originally opened in 1919 as a theater named Teatro Gran Splendid. In its configuration as a theater it seated over 1000 people, and was converted into a cinema in the late 1920s. In 2000 it was leased by a bookstore conglomerate and was renovated for used as a bookshop. It is estimated that over 1 million people visit the store each year. Interestingly, the former theater boxes now serve as small reading rooms. This may be the most beautiful bookstore on the planet, and is one of the many reasons to travel to Buenos Aires.
|Selexyz Dominicanen - Maastricht, Netherlands|
This amazing store is housed in an 800-year-old, former Dominican church that was being used to store bicycles. It is the perfect use for the building, transforming it into a Cathedral of Books and a must-see for book lovers traveling in the Netherlands.
|Livraria Lello - Porto, Portugal|
Unlike the two previously mentioned bookstores, Livaria Lello is not in a building converted from other uses; it has been a bookshop since 1881. It has a beautiful staircase and more wood panels than you'll find in an English country manor. Definitely worth the side trip if you're visiting Lisbon, or anywhere else within driving (or train) distance.
And as a preemptive comment to the legions of Powell's Bookstore (Portland, OR) fans who will feel slighted by the list, Powells is an amazing place...but it's not that beautiful.