Best Spanish-Language Bookstore - 2000
Libreria Distribuidora Universal
Years ago, when a New Times writer was in graduate school in North Carolina, she took an independent-study course on Latin-American women writers. And no place in the United States did a better job of delivering the works of the most exhilarating escritoras than Juan Manuel Salvat's Little Havana shop. When the New Times writer headed south to teach graduate school in Colombia, Salvat provided a semester's stock of Spanish translations of English works by U.S. Latino writers. In business more than 30 years, the Salvat family has developed a bibliographic expertise helpful to scholars and dilettantes alike. Although Universal specializes in Cuban books, the shelves also include a wide selection of everything else imaginable. Squeezed in alongside the complete works of Lydia Cabrera and José Martí are treasures ranging from Argentine classics to daring new works from Spain. Best of all Universal hosts monthly Saturday-afternoon visits from the writers published by Salvat's press, Ediciones Universal. The lively discussions provide living proof that Universal is a bookstore for people who not only love to read, but love to think.