Sometimes the best cure for wanderlust can be to pick up a good book. I find this to be particularly accurate if the story takes place in one of my top bucket list destinations. So, if you’re currently dreaming of Argentina, here are my top picks for books to read before going to Buenos Aires. This list is quite a mix of suggestions, with everything from more serious choices to some light-hearted romantic picks! I hope you enjoy, and I wish you the best time in Buenos Aires.
To get a real taste of Argentina, I recommend starting with a book by an award-winning Argentinian, Patricio Pron. My Fathers’ Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain is Pron’s first work to be translated into English, making it accessible to a much wider audience. The story begins with our narrator, a writer living abroad in Germany, returning to his home country of Argentina. There, he finds that his dying father has become obsessed with an unsolved local murder. Interested in discovering why his father is so fixated on this crime, the narrator begins to dig into the details. In an interesting twist, his search causes him to relive his tumultuous childhood during Argentina’s dirty war. For those who are unfamiliar with Argentina’s history, this book offers a great example of what it would have been like to be alive during this turbulent era in South America.
For an easy-to-read romance, look no further than the Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club by Jessica Morrison. The novel begins with our introduction to Cassie Moore, a young woman who happens to have her entire life planned. However, after losing her job and finding her fiancé with another woman, Cassie makes a brash decision: she drunkenly books a ticket to Buenos Aires. After arriving, she meets Mateo, an arrogant and sexy Porteño who doesn’t fit within “The Plan”. She also finds a community of fellow expatriate singles who decide to form the Broken Hearts Club. As the novel progresses, we see Cassie pulled in multiple directions as she finds both herself and a bit of romance. Readers will enjoy visiting BsAs after enjoying this novel as they will be able to see many of the attractions and cafés mentioned in the book in real life.
If you weren’t aware previously, each dialect of Spanish is vastly different. Therefore, it can often be a good idea to learn some of the phrases of the Argentinian dialect before visiting Buenos Aires. Particularly for those studying abroad or visiting for a longer period of time, !Che Boludo! A gringo’s guide to understanding the Argentines can be a great asset. This book contains a list of phrases and idioms as well as a helpful section on “vos”, which is used instead of the “tú” form in Argentina.
For a quick introduction to what makes Argentina the country that it is today, The Argentina Reader is a great resource. This collection of historical works flows in chronological order and contains speeches, poetry, articles, and other literature by Argentinian authors. Many of these pieces were actually translated into English for the first time in order to appear in this collection. Furthermore, through these pieces, the reader obtains a sense of important historical periods such as the Spanish colonial regime, Argentina’s independence, Peronism, and the dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. The only downside to this book is that it’s very academic and thus, a bit dense, so plan to read it slowly.