Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lights, camera, bookstore!

Last week I posted about my local independent bookstore that has survived and thrived (I swear I didn't mean to rhyme) since 1933.

I was sad to hear how many of you didn't have any indie stores near you. More sad to hear about the ones that closed down. Time, how it does change things. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse--depending who you ask.

The El Ateneo Grand Splendid is an interesting example. Located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, it was originally built in 1919 as the Teatro Gran Splendid. In the early 1920's this theater was home to many great Tango artists. By the late 1920's it was converted to a cinema. Then, in 2000, it was converted into...

A bookstore.
A breathtaking, uber cool, on-my-list-to-visit-someday bookstore.
Most of the seating was replaced by bookshelves, but some of the theater boxes remain so customers can sit and browse through pages, or imagine what it might have been like to see a show back in the day.

Of course, there is a cafe--located on the old stage.While you're sipping your latte or tea with spotlights shining down on your flan, you can look out and view the theater through the eyes of the performers. (Well, you'd have to pretend there are 1050 seats instead of 4 floors of books and CDs.)

I'm sure some theater lovers were devastated when this landmark was converted, but it's another example of how time changes things. As a book lover, I would LOVE to stroll through this "bookstore theater."

As I tried to keep my jaw from dropping to the floor, I'd still apprecaite the history and respect the decades of talent that passed through the doors, but I'd be grabbing a few good novels, ordering a cafe' con leche, and snuggling into one of those theater boxes. All while snapping photos and smiling like the book-loving geek that I am. (Oh, and I'd ask someone to tango with me on stage before I left. I mean, come on, I'm a shameless dance-lover too.)

Are you having a bookgasm like I did when I first saw this place? Beautiful, isn't it?

59 comments:

  1. Yes, I gasped the first time I saw pictures of it. Unbelievable. It feels like an homage to bookstores. Long may it live!

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  2. This is the way I pictured THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, only dark and dusty (with less people, of course).

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  3. It's gorgeous!!! *Imagining I'm there now*

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  4. Wow, that's amazing! I need to get my butt down to Argentina!

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  5. Oh. My. God. That is incredible. Is there anything even close to that cool in the U.S.?

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  6. Oh my GOODNESS!!!! I WANT TO LIVE THERE!

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  7. *gasp* That is totally awesome!

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  8. Now that is definitely drool worthy. How I would love to go there and sleep there and eat there and read lots and lots and lots of books there and live there and make a cozy little haven for writers there and form my own little utopia there.

    Yeah so okay, I know have a new location to add to my To Do Travels list.

    Thanks for the awesome info.

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  9. Total bookgasm. The two local bookstores I've been to are slightly larger than a walk-in closet. Sigh! I so want to go there! Even if most of the books are probably in Spanish, which I can't read worth a darn despite my high school Spanish teacher's best efforts.

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  10. WOW. I had no idea a place that like existed! I MUST GO TO ONE DAY! Bookgasm. Snort. LOL.

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  11. I NEVER even heard about it when I lived in Argentina. I'll definitely visit when I'm there in December. Gorgeous!

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  12. OK it's officially on my bucket list of places to visit. ;)

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  13. Holy sh**. I can't believe such a place exists! Me. Go. Now.

    You know, it actually reminds me a little bit of one of my favorite books store: The Harvard Coop. It has an atrium and open floor plan like this place, but of course, nowhere near as cool.

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  14. That is fantastic! I bet all the books are in Spanish though. It would be fun to visit anyway.

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  15. Bookgasm. *snort*

    Um... I kinda know what you're saying. I got a little bit squirmy when I wandered through Trinity College Library in Dublin... http://skippyshamrock.tripod.com/longroom.jpg *sigh*

    Now I want to go to Argentina.

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  16. MY GOODNESS KAREN!! Great. Now you have added another place on my AMAZING PLACES TO VISIT list!!

    I just grinned when I saw the pics!

    Wonderful post!

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

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  17. WOW! I think I would spend every spare minute I had there. What a great place to get inspired.

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  18. I have a student moving to Buenos Aires this August, so I've just sent her this post. I'll have her check it out and get back to me ;-)

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  19. OMG YES! Makes me wanna throw rocks at my local B&N. I think I know where I'm having my launch party (lol) :)

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  20. Oh my heck!! I must go there. Now. I love this!!

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  21. Oh man I want to go there!!!!!!!!!!!

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  22. Wow. There are positively NO words to describe how beautiful that is or how badly I would love to be there - right now! Wow.

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  23. Hey K--you wanna take a vacay to Argentina with me??? We can tivo Happy Town for when we get back...

    That's SO freaking cool!!

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  24. WOW, that's incredible! Thanks for telling us about this fantastic book store!!!

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  25. Wow, this is absolutely amazing. It's so gorgeous. I'm floored.

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  26. If I walked into that store I would never walk out. I am a long time theater lover as well as book lover so it is sad that no one performs there anymore but I think above all I love stories and that place is teeming with them. I mean, talk about walls that can speak. They probably sing and dance too.

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  27. I've seen these pictures before and they're still breathtaking! I would live there if no one would kick me out.

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  28. Wow...that is so beautiful. Wow.

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  29. Bookgasms are my favorite!!! (Did I just say that out loud?)

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  30. Bookgasm is a good word to describe what I'm feeling right now. I'm wondering how anyone could enter that store and want to leave!

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  31. Holy crap, that kinda brought a tear to my eye. Beautiful! Must call my agent at once and see if there's anything she can do to make sure my Aug. 2011 release ends up there somehow. Hey, a girl can dream!

    Thanks for posting this!

    Tawna

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  32. HOLY CRAP WHY ISN'T THIS NEAR ME! I'm jealous of all those peeps in Argentina, I wish they'd share with us! I would so make a visit just for that bookstore! Heck yes I would! I love it!

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  33. Bookgasm? Heck yeah!

    Why does something that awesome have to be so far away? *sighs*

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  34. That might be the prettiest bookstore I've ever seen. I now totally need to go there before I die. Wow. O_O

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  35. Stunning bookstore...it would be wonderful to spend some time there!!!

    We have a Cole's in one of our malls, one small local independent book store & a number of used book stores...the closest "chain" bookstore is an hour and half from here!!! Love to spend time there when I get the chance which is about 2 or 3 times a year...I frequent amazon.ca for this reason! Not as enjoyable but they do have a selection...
    Cheers

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  36. A bookstore that was once a theatre is my ultimate dream, next to the library in The Beauty and the Beast and a bookstore that is STILL a theatre. *swoons*

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  37. Oh, wow! You'd never get me out of that store. We have nothing like that here.

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  38. Gorgeous! I'm still trying to catch my breathe. Got to love a REAL bookgasm!

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  39. Incredible! That's a place to get lost for days in. :O)

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  40. wow!
    that's the sort of thing I was alluding to in my post about independant bookstores. Taking something old that may have run its course in its current state and instead of tearing it down, turning it into something beautiful and relevant.. absolutely amazing!
    hmmm, Argentina huh, I think I may know someone there I need to visit and maybe swing by this "bookstore"

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  41. That's fantastic! I'd love to go there.

    I'm another without a small, local independent bookstore, and it makes me sad. I do know, if I weren't putting so much toward my writing dream, I'd open one myself.

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  42. Wow. Gorgeous pics! We only have 1 in town I think... I have some friends that could open one though with their collection!!

    Thanks for sharing ;o)

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  43. Hello Karen! I came over by way of Julie's blog 'Silver Lining', and now cannot stop drooling at that book-shop. Blimey! It is absolutely amazing. I wonder if there is a package holiday deal I can get that solely visits bookshops in other countries?!

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  44. OH WOW! Can you buy land and build your house in there? I just want to live in that bookstore forever! What an amazing place! Thanks for the pictures. Made my day!

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  45. You know, I think if I went there, I might not ever leave. GORGEOUS.

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  46. Wow! When I win the lottery, I am going there!! Love your site. Roland

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  47. Incredible. All we have in North Jersey are the stuffy, corporate clones that pass for bookstores in this neck of the woods...thanks for sharing.

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  48. Wow, I have to admit that's an awesome bookstore. The only problem I would have in a place like that is there is way too much to look at. It would literally take days to browse through all the literature and still take in all the awesome details on the walls. Thanks for sharing though.

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  49. Holy Shit, that is awesome!!!!

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  50. It is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen! I. want. to. go. there.

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  51. Those bookstores look like heaven! (= Me like.
    http://jostorm.blogspot.com/

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