Hola from the 38th annual Feria de Libros in Buenos Aires!
It stays in town for two and a half weeks and takes place in La Rural, the event center between Plaza Italia and the Palermo Parks. Occupying 45,000 square meters of space, it is the most frequented book fair in the Spanish-speaking world.
Once inside, it is unlike any book fair I had come across. Instead of being filled with stands run by people selling used or antique books, it is filled with stands run by publishing companies, news stations, newspapers, radio stations, and organizations devoted to country-specific literature. It is a modern, well-lit space, filled with eye-catching displays devoted to drawing people into each little ‘store’. Some spaces were so thorough that we came across a medieval castle (children’s books), a globe filled with TV screens (most definitely broadcasting propaganda in favor of the current government- by the state-run newspaper), and a live radio broadcast all within the same building.
As we strolled down the avenues, taking in the multitude of stands and types of books, we would pause every so often to look through the books being sold. Admittedly we were drawn to the picture books or children’s displays, as the majority of stands are completely Spanish books. Nonetheless all of the literature offered was amazing, especially the ones that were written by Latin American authors (and therefore were meant to be in Spanish). I personally was drawn into copies of Che Guevara’s diary throughout the year before his death in Bolivia. With a foreword by Fidel Castro! That should definitely be read in Spanish.I also very much enjoyed the stands that were country specific; we ran into them towards the end of our journey. It was interesting to see authors grouped by their nationality, especially when the books were of political matters. I would have liked to devote more time to browsing those selections (if only I was advanced enough to read political literature in Spanish!), however, a justified distraction arose in the Chile stand: the opportunity to color. Let’s just say we ended our colorful trip to the book fair on a bright note!All in all, it was a very cultural and inspiring trip. It was particularly nice to know that although Argentina tried to pass a ban on foreign books (thankfully due to the uproar that created, it was not passed), a book fair of this magnitude still existed each and every year. I encourage all of you here in BA that have not gone to check it out! The cost is 20 ARS during the week and 26 ARS on the weekends.
For more information: http://www.el-libro.org.ar/