The International Book Fair
One of the world’s biggest book fairs takes place in Buenos Aires. We visited the 37th annual Festival Internacional del Libro, which brought together a million readers and 500 publishers from over 50 countries.
Hundreds of stands selling books on every conceivable topic fill up the massive Sociedad Rural complex near Plaza Italia. Everything is in Spanish, but you can find any kind of book you’d want. We even found a stand from Bolivia, which would be our next destination, and picked up a couple of novels set there. Every year, the fair draws famous authors for conferences and workshops, and there are daily various concerts, book signings, activities for children, and countless other things to do. Entrance is $20 (US$5) per person, and worth every cent.
For logistical reasons, I’ve made the switch to an e-reader. I’m a fairly voracious reader, and lugging around books while we travel doesn’t make sense. Besides, our grandchildren will look at books the same way we look at vinyl records. Nostalgic and cool, but not the primary way they’ll ingest the printed word. Better to get with the times, I’ve reasoned, and actually, I find reading on a tablet pretty enjoyable. Still, finding myself in a convention hall, surrounded by tens of millions of dead-wood books made me happy. I could have spent all day there.