a-100-year-old-theatre-is-turned-into-the-most-spectacular-bookstore-805x426

From www.lostateminor.com, this photo makes me want to visit Buenos Aires.

From time to time I get emails in relation to my Pinterest account and the boards I’ve shown interest in. One of those boards is libraries and I have many lovely library pictures from around the world.

This article (by Inigo del Castillo) and delectable photo, however, came through Facebook and its splendor caught my attention immediately. If you read through the article, at the bottom you’ll find many more shots of what is touted as the second most beautiful bookstore in the world.

I’ve been to a couple of gorgeous renovated theatres with wonderful frescoes painted on the ceiling over the proscenium arch so I recognized that feature immediately. Makes me wonder what Da Vinci’s back was like after he painted the Sistine Chapel.

Turning this old theatre into a stunning bookstore, however, is a new concept to me. I could browse there for days although the management probably wouldn’t let me take in the shopping cart I’d need for all my book choices.

Just a couple of weeks ago I went into the local Chapters/Indigo store with a wonderful gift certificate from my daughter. Yay! I could indulge myself. Ha! Half or more of the store is taken up with candles and wraps and fuzzy animals and the like. Usually I find more books I want than what I can afford. This day I searched for substance among rows of flimsy flights of author fancy, none of which interested me. I couldn’t find much I would even consider reading let alone buying. I’ve never had that experience in a bookstore before. When I finally settled on a book, Stalin’s Daughter, I headed for the cash.

The path to pay is a veritable gauntlet of non-book items. Of course those are useful to keep the would-be purchaser occupied while waiting in the inevitable lineup. Do you think stores do this on purpose?

The contrast between the bookstore shown above and my latest experience here in Canada is vast and while my sympathy is with bookstore owners’ need to make money, I wonder if there is a way to make the store itself the magnet. I do realize that this topic is far broader than my small blog’s scope but I’ll keep longing to visit those fabulous bookstores of the world and buying as many good books as I can. I’d like others to experience the quick rush of tears I felt a few years ago in Dublin’s Trinity College library as I beheld the very old Book of Kells, surrounded by floors of beautiful shelves of books. Fabulous.

The Book of Kells (Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais) (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. I. (58), sometimes known as the Book of Columba) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created by Celtic monks ca. 800 or slightly earlier. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina. It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure. The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity. The decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art. Figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts, together with Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours, enliven the manuscript's pages. Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasise the themes of the major illustrations. The manuscript today comprises 340 folios and, since 1953, has been bound in four volumes. The leaves are on high-quality calf vellum, and the unprecedentedly elaborate ornamentation that covers them includes ten full-page illustrations and text pages that are vibrant with decorated initials and interlinear miniatures and mark the furthest extension of the anti-classical and energetic qualities of Insular art. The Insular majuscule script of the text itself appears to be the work of at least three different scribes. The lettering is in iron gall ink, and the colours used were derived from a wide range of substances, many of which were imports from distant lands. The manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells that was its home.

The Book of Kells (Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais) (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. I. (58), sometimes known as the Book of Columba) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created by Celtic monks ca. 800 or slightly earlier. I had just finished reading Edward Rutherford’s The Princes of Ireland which talked about the monk, Kevin, working on this book when I visited Trinity College library and beheld the Book of Kells. Fabulous experience.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Elaine,

    Love the theater bookstore. So cool!
    We have a very cool bookstore in downtown Denver, The Tattered Cover, that is in an old building. Actually I think it winds through more than one. It feels like it belongs in JK Rowling’s world, with the polished wood of the stairs and the nooks and crannies. They make it attractive by not only having an entrancing physical store with tons of unusual books, but they also have a coffee shop with food and a basement where they have lots of events. They have two other locations, one in an art deco renovated theater and the other is in a strip mall. Even though the books are cool at the strip mall locale, it’s never a destination for me, unless they put a very attractive author down there. (It’s an hour drive too!) The only time I visited was for Diana Gabaldon and the line was around the block, and wove in and out of all the bookshelves!

    Having good authors and eclectic books keeps that locale open, but I love the windy old downtown version and the cool retro theater building too.
    http://www.tatteredcover.com/detailed-history-tattered-cover

    (LOL on this post. I initially wrote theatre, but spell check did not like it!)

    -Jessica

  2. I enjoyed this, Elaine. In a few weeks, I am off to Ireland and hoping to see the Book of Kells myself.

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