El Ateneo Bookstore in Buenos Aires & Isabelle Allende’s new novel – El Cuaderno de Maya

If you love bookstores and you happen to be in Buenos Aires, run, don’t walk like I did to El Ateneo. It’s a stunning bookstore about 20 blocks of walking distance from my little Recoleta apartment. A former theatre where Carlos Garden once performed and a historical, beautiful building.  Even though it’s a book store, it feels more like you are in a theatre. You can relax in quiet booths with good lighting. I was given a bonus surprise as I slowly made my way through the aisles.

Isabelle Allende has a new novel just published!! It’s called El Cuaderno de Maya inspired by her grand daughters and Allende’s own life. I started to read the inside of the book. It’s the story of a girl named Maya. The story begins with: “I am Maya Vidal, 19 years old, feminine, single, no lover, born in Berkeley, California, American passport, temporarily a refugee on an island in the south of the world.”  El Ateneo only has the Spanish version now. When’s the English version coming to America, friends?

Cover – El Cuaderno De Maya – Isabelle Allende’s new book

Allende is one of my favorite writers in the world. She is from Chile but moved to California as a Chilean journalist exiled in Venezuela after the military coup in Chile of 1973. I love Allende’s voice as her stories take me away on her journeys where she weaves in and out of her life and the vivid, magical stories she creates. Allende is afraid of nothing and no one. I admire her so much.

In Chile, when she had a job translating romance novels from English to Spanish,she would make unauthorized changes to the dialogue so the women would be more intelligent and the Cinderella endings would instead become independent women who spread good in the world. She was fired from the job.

Allende says her most important issue in her life is freedom, which she created for herself.  She said “It’s about the struggle to be assertive, to be independent, to have economic independence, to get myself an education, which I was not given because I was a woman and it was not important to educate women at that time. I was supposed to be somebody’s very good wife. I was supposed to be a lady. I was supposed to be a very good mother, but I was not supposed to be creative.”

Allende describes her writing as passionate, compulsive and emotional. She laughs and cries as she writes and even gets angry at her own characters when they do things she doesn’t want them to do. She doesn’t run or hide from her losses or struggles; she writes about them. I love this broad.

Allende has included one of my favorite Mary Oliver quotes translated into Spanish in the forward of her book. Gracias, Isabelle.

Mary Oliver quote

El Ateneo Bookstore – Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Ateneo Bookstore

El Ateneo Bookstore

Olivia got hungry so we stopped for spinach, pomodoro & basil ravioli lunch at a goikey, favorite place of mine: Pertutti Restaurant. Per Tutti: For Everything!

Ravioli espinaca al pomodoro y basilico – Pertutti Restaurant


About hannahkozak

I am passionate about photography & have been making photos since I was a little girl. I have been a stunt woman for twenty five years. I have a passion for exploration, discovery, and escape. I dream of every place I seek to travel to. A recovering adrenaline junkie, I seek authenticity in everyday experiences. I love Kundalini Yoga,travel, books,writing and authentic, real experiences and people. I brake for squirrels. Que le vaya bien! View all posts by hannahkozak

4 responses to “El Ateneo Bookstore in Buenos Aires & Isabelle Allende’s new novel – El Cuaderno de Maya

  • Floyd

    The bookstore is amazing, and I loved the Mary Oliver quote. Thanks for the post.

  • Bonnie

    Wow! That bookstore is awesome! So beautiful. I like the part where she writes about dying too soon. It’s all so true. This was a joy reading and I love the pics! Great job. 🙂

  • Mardene Abarbanell

    Hi Hannah!
    I was enthralled by this and the prior post. I don’t know which place, the bookstore or the cemetery, was more enticing. Precious kitties, one sad kitty, and yummy food. Thanks!

  • pippatea

    That bookstore – egads, good thing I never found it when I went there or I would still be there. That ravioli shot makes me want ravioli. I am still fist-shaking about the cereal post of yours…um, and Isabel…what an adorable broad she sounds. That translation story: priceless fearlessness.

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