Books and Music
São Paulo has many bookstores, but the best of all is the newly renovated Livraria Cultura (Av. Paulista 2073, Cerqueira César, tel. 11/3170-4033, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–8 p.m. Sun.). Located in the Conjunto Nacional building, this sprawling bookshop has a terrific selection covering all subjects (as well as a considerable number of English-language titles) along with national and international magazines, CDs, and DVDs. This is a great place to pick up art books as well as travel guides and maps.
Among the several branches of the French chain FNAC, the largest is FNAC Centro Cultural (Praça das Omaguas 32, Pinheiros, tel. 11/3579-2000, www.fnac.com.br, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily). Spread over three massive floors, along with a gallery and cyber café, are over 100,000 books (including many in English) as well as CDs, DVDs, and photography and computer equipment.
Although the megastores carry impressive musical selections, collectors with a specific penchant for rare and alternative Brazilian music should head to Baratos Afins (Rua 24 de Maio 62, Lojas 314-318, Centro, tel. 11/3223-3629, www.baratosafins.com.br). This record and CD store is also an important indie label. It was founded by Arnaldo Baptista, the guitarist of the ’60s rock group Os Mutantes, which has been a major influence on artists as diverse as Kurt Cobain and Beck. Over the years, BA has recorded and rereleased an impressive number of Brazilian underground and alternative artists—you’ll find these and other treasures in this fantastic store.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition