Take a literary Chill Pill in Madrid

Alright…. You’ve made it to Madrid, you’ve started Spanish classes at Cronopios Idiomas and love reading books? No worries, take a literary chill pill in Madrid and imagine a bookshop where the books are free. Ok, now imagine one where they are as good as free. Tuuulibreria is just that; a small chain of charity bookshops where you can walk away with however many books you can pick up with one hand for any amount that you’re willing to pay for them.

Of course, they hope you will make a decent donation but the idea is clearly that you give what you can or what you think is fair for the books you’ve chosen. Now certainly the material available will range slightly in quality but for instance I’ve walked out with a couple of big Spanish dictionaries for a tiny fraction of the price they would cost elsewhere.

As the teachers here will tell you, reading Spanish at the right level for you can be an encouraging way to get ahead with your comprehension. If you need something easy to start with but don’t want to splash out, then there’s a large section of childrens and teen literature for whatever level you might find yourself at, more Harry Potter than you can shake a broomstick at. If you’re tired of practicing your Spanish all the time, they do have a well-stocked English language section as well as a music and dvd section.

Maybe you’re really wiped out after a day of intensive learning and one of the school’s social/cultural activities in the evening, and just want to veg out and want to watch a series instead. This is also a learning recommendation here; start with something you know and which has easy dialogue dubbed into Spanish, such as Friends for instance, which I’ve seen box sets of in the shop.

There are several branches across the city, each with its own character. The one in Lavapies is more tidy and ordered, whereas the one in barrio Salamanca has a very big selection but is a little messier and requires a bit more time to delve through the piles of books you’ll find there. Each of the shops has a comfy chair or two to sink into and the shelves and everything are made out of old pallets in a creative way, these places really have a DIY esthetic. Once you’ve dropped by, you can sit back with your new find, and relax in the knowledge that good and affordable lit is always close at hand.

Lavapies: Calle de Embajadores, 11

Salamanca: Calle de Padilla, 78

Chamberi: Calle Covarrubias, 38

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