Book lover? This magical destination is a must for your bucket list.

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.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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