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10 Books to Read Before You Study Abroad in Buenos Aires

Oct 22, 2013 10:22:03 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

Before you study abroad in Buenos Aires, enjoy some of our reading recommendations below. You might want to keep a book aside to take with you on the plane. There's also a list of blogs in the sidebar with ongoing stories of life in the city.

1. LONELY PLANET ARGENTINA and LONELY PLANET BUENOS AIRES. You can't go wrong by buying a top guidebook to bring along and have on hand during your study abroad adventures in Buenos Aires. While CAPA will arrange MyEducation activities and have plenty of advice, Lonely Planet may open up even more new opportunities and suggest places to explore that aren't on your CAPA calendar already.

Image from amazon.co.uk

2. THE ARGENTINA READER: HISTORY, CULTURE, POLITICS BY GABRIELA NOUZEILLES, GRACIELA MONTALDO, ROBIN KIRK, ORIN STARN. Buenos Aires is often referred to as the "Paris of the south". This book is an interesting read that addresses the reputation Argentina has as seeming "European", among other topics. It's a look at the more general history, culture and politics of the country through a mix of songs, articles, comic strips, scholarly essays, poems and short stories, most of which have been written by Argentines.

Image from amazon.co.uk

3. IN MY OWN WORDS BY EVA PERON. Many books detail the life of the famous Eva Peron, better known as “Evita” or the Spiritual Leader of the Nation and her importance to the culture of Argentina. In My Own Words is a manuscript that that is supposedly written by Evita herself, though this is controversial. Either way, it reads as a memoir and gives some insight into the era when she had such a large impact on the world around her.

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4. SANTA EVITA BY THOMAS ELOY MARTINEZ. Another look at the life - or rather, death - of Evita, Santa Evita is a piece of historical fiction and magical realism that revolves around a story of the stolen preserved corpse of Eva Peron. Tomás Eloy Martínez reminds us that it's impossible to really ever uncover the full truth of some situations, though he digs into some of the details that are often left out by historians.

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5. PATAGONIA BY BRUCE CHATWIN. Though you're heading to Buenos Aires, it's important to learn about other areas of the country too. Patagonia, at the southern tip of South America and mostly in Argentina, is still somewhat a place of mystery. Bruce Chatwin was working for the Sunday Times in London when he had an encounter with a 93-year-old woman who always dreamed to go there. Legend has it that when she told him to go for her, he did, announcing his leave from the newspaper with a telegram that read, "Have gone to Patagonia" where he spent six months gathering stories for this book.

Image from amazon.co.uk

6. COUTURE AND CONSENSUS: FASHION AND POLITICS IN POSTCOLONIAL ARGENTINA BY REGINA A ROTT. Delve into the history of Argentina while learning about fashion and its influence on Argentine politics and society along the way. There is an important link between fashion and politics and this book takes a look at that connection through everything from military uniforms to women's style of dress and is a good insight into some of the creative forces at work in Argentina during the 1800s.

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7. THE INVENTION OF MOREL BY ADOLFO BIOY CASARES. If you're a fan of science fiction and a good mystery story full of suspense, this one is for you. It's also referenced in the TV show Lost and is said to have influenced the episode "Dave". Though the novel is based on an island rather than in Argentina, it won the 1941 First Municipal Prize for Literature of the City of Buenos Aires and is a good example of Argentine writing.

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8. THE TUNNEL BY ERNESTO SABATO. This is by far one of the favorites writers of CAPA Buenos Aires Resident Director Monica Pagano. She says, "Only a master can write with so much intelligence. It is the type of book that stays in your mind for a while." This is a dark story of a deranged porteño painter and his obsession with a woman. It's about isolation and understanding.

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9. LABYRINTHS: SELECTED STORIES AND OTHER WRITINGS BY JORGE LUIS BORGES. A compilation of work by one of Argentina's most famous writers, Labyrinths is a collection of short stories and essays. Murder, mystery and some magic weave their way through these pages. It could be argued that Buenos Aires-born Borges is one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. This is just one example of his work and there are plenty more!

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10. KISS AND TANGO BY MARINA PALMER. A light-hearted read, Kiss and Tango is written by an American woman who went to Buenos Aires to visit cousins, discovered the tango and still lives there today. This is a diary-style story of her mis-adventures in Argentina most of which revolve around the art of tango - a very important part of Argentine culture.

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Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite book that's about (or set in) Buenos Aires. There are many, many more!

Topics: Buenos Aires, Argentina