This posting features book-related information from Buenos Aires as I conclude my travels in Argentina with the help and suggestion of Antonina Becciú, author of Rutas a Bellas Artes. Her beautiful book summarizes in novel form years of artistic trips sponsored by the Association of Friends of the National Museum of Fine Arts and her personal insights. Its 144 pages has many interesting and curious anecdotes, with a delicate combination of history, geography, music, art, spirituality and even a touch of humor. Her book expresses the values and spiritual wealth absorbed from places and events that endure and survive the passage of history. She directed me to the Palermo section of Buenos Aires to explore an intimate and beautiful bookstore called Eterna Cadencia which had a sophisticated Spanish language collection of literary masterpieces from all over the world.
After spending an enjoyable afternoon with the owner of la libreria, I went by colectivo (Buenos Aires’ public transportation vehicles and one of the best-known traditions of the city) and passed the Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina in the Recoleta barrio of the city. The library is located in a building inaugurated in 1992. However, its architectural design dates from 1961 and is in the brutalist style. Construction of the new library did not begin until 1971. The library’s first headquarters were in an old 18th century Jesuit mansion and still stands, although in disrepair, at the corner of Moreno Street and Peru Street, although I was unable to find it. Originally named the Public Library of Buenos Aires and founded in September 1810, the library is celebrating its bicentennial this year. The year 2010 is when Argentina celebrates the 200 year anniversary of the Revolution that opened the way for Argentina’s independence. It will be celebrated throughout the year through various activities and ceremonies that will end at the great feast of the May 25, 2010. The National Government has established the Permanent Commission of the Bicentennial of the Revolution of May 1810 – 2010 which is tasked to do work, set goals and create awareness for the Bicentennial.