Countless stands of books and brightly colored signs adorned the Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho for the 29th Feria del Libro, an annual event celebrating Chilean and international culture through books. Entering the fair was like walking into a giant bookstore, with everything you could ever desire to read — mostly, however, in Spanish. Whatever the language, it was a literature-lover’s delight.
Photo by Elaine Madrigal
This year, Argentina was the invited country of honor, demonstrating a desire between the two countries to unite through culture, and giving Chile’s “brother country” an opportunity to show off its creations in literature and the arts. Upon browsing around, however, there weren't many books from Argentina available. Nonetheless, many writers, musicians, actors and dancers came to represent Argentinean culture.
The fair could be a bit overwhelming as one wandered among the various sections, which included a collection of the smallest books in the world, editorials, “Time books,” a stand for Pablo Neruda, travel guides, comics, books on Karma,
economy, ecology, theory, novels, cook books, selections from universities, collections from different countries such as Spain and Colombia and books for the young. With the sheer number of books available, it was almost guaranteed that you could find what you were looking for. Books even started at CP$1,500 (US$3.00).
If one preferred to just browse, the Feria del Libro also designated salas, or rooms, to art, including underground art. This year’s event also featured a planetarium! And if you needed a break from browsing and learning, there were various cafes in the auditorium, where one could order a coffee or sandwich.
The Feria del Libro is an immense event that occurs every year, and its purpose is honorable--it represents the union of Chile with the international cultural community. The 30th Feria del Libro is scheduled for late 2010, so mark it on your calendar and you may just find that book you have been looking for.