This a story about a bookstore. But this isn't just any bookstore.

No, this place is borderline magical. If it sounds like a fairytale, it's only because it resembles one. (Looking at you, Belle.)

It's basically a paperback palace that will make you want to throw your e-reader into the sea. Or at the very least, get lost in a good book. Photo by Miguel Vieira/Flickr.


It's called El Ateneo Grand Splendid and you'll find it Buenos Aires, Argentina.

From the outside, it's a large but otherwise unassuming bookstore in the heart of the Barrio Norte neighborhood.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

But step inside, and you're met with breathtaking views of fresco ceilings, opulent plush curtains, soaring balconies, and all the trimmings that make this a store unlike any other.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Oh, and you'll also find 21,000 square feet of books on books on books. And a few more books for good measure.

Even the beautiful building's backstory deserves a place among the shelves.

Built in 1919,  the original building (then known as Teatro Grand Splendid) served as a premiere performance space for the region's top tango talent. Dancers like Roberto Firpo and Francisco Canaro once graced the stage, dazzling audiences with the help of live musical accompaniment.

As the popularity of live dance waned, the building was transformed to a movie theater in 1929, making it the first cinema in Buenos Aires to show sound films.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Popularity and use of the cinema ebbed and flowed, though. And by the turn of the 21st century, the Grand Splendid was in dire straits.

The building and its beautiful fixtures and trimmings were slated for demolition. But in the knick of time, popular Argentine bookseller Grupo Ilhsa leased the building and transformed the space into its flagship location of their Ateneo chain, keeping the historical integrity and spirit of the esteemed performance space intact.

Nearly 100 years after opening, El Ateneo Grand Splendid welcomes more than 1 million visitors each year.

Locals and tourists of all ages come to see the spellbinding space.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

It's filled with books and music you might find at a typical chain bookstore with most of the titles in Spanish.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Many cozy up with a good book in one of the former theater boxes.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Or get some work done amid the frescos. (Good luck going back to a coffee shop after this.)

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Speaking of coffee, if you need a bite to eat, look no farther than the theater's former stage. It's now a cafe.

Some visit the store with no agenda at all. It's the perfect place to rest, relax, and take it all in.

Argentina's love affair with books isn't limited to El Ateneo Grand Splendid, either.

Buenos Aires has more bookstores per capita (nearly 25 per 100,000 residents) than any other city in the world. Books are exempt from Argentina's 21% sales tax, and popular book sites like Amazon don't do business in the country, making brick-and-mortar bookstores an important part of the community.

"Culture is very important to the people of Buenos Aires," Antonio Dalto, business manager for El Ateneo told The Guardian. "Even young kids read books, we see them here every day. Books for teenagers are one of our biggest sellers."

Bookstores and libraries have the power to take you on journeys you never imagined.  

Back in time, deep in space, through history and faraway places, reading brings new ideas and concepts to life. That's why it's so important to celebrate literacy, the written word, and the magnificent spaces that stoke our imaginations.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


Keep Reading Show less
All photos from Pilllsbury used with permission

Pillsbury is partnering with non profit, Operation Homefront, to provide housing for veterans

True

It’s the dream of many veterans: a safe and swift return to the security of home – to a place where time can be spent with family while becoming part of a community and creating new memories. With the partnership of non-profit Operation Homefront, Pillsbury is helping give military families the opportunity to do just that.

For many of our American soldiers, the dream of making a comfortable return to civilian life is often dashed by harsh realities. Pew Research Center reports that 44% of veterans who have served since Sept 11, 2001 noted having a difficult time re-adjusting. From re-entering into the workforce to finding healthcare services, returning to civilian life can be a harrowing transition. While serving in the military is incredibly stressful, it also provides routine, structure and purpose that is not easily replicated in civilian life. Couple this with a lack of helpful resources for veterans, and the hope for a brighter future can be easily derailed.


However, some companies and organizations are stepping in to show support and provide resources. Operation Homefront, an organization dedicated to helping military families transition back to civilian life, launched its Transitional Homes for Veterans (THV) Program in 2018. The program places veteran families in safe, secure, rent-free single-family homes for a period of two-to-three years while providing financial coaching and training to reduce debt, increase savings, and prepare for independent home ownership. Since the THV’s inception, Operation Homefront has defrayed more than $500K in mortgage costs to military families.

Keep Reading Show less

TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

Keep Reading Show less