Miami Book Fair is upon us again, showcasing our favorite authors, celebrating books and pointing out that people in Florida actually can – and do! – read.
If you’ve never been to Miami Book Fair, here’s what you need to know: There are writers and readers and ideas and music and books for sale in English and Spanish and Creole. You can find a million things to do with your kids, and there’s usually a Clifford the Big Red Dog sighting. You can buy comics, watch cooking demonstrations and listen to your favorite authors read. Plus arepas.
So you should go. And if you do, you will definitely meet these people.
The Friends of the Fair
There are many of them, and they are going to get all the best seats because they are Friends of the Fair. That means they donated money, so they get first crack at tickets. Which is only fair. They will be out in force for popular historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (Nov. 15). A disproportionate number voted for Andrew Gillum and probably spent a good deal of time shouting at their TVs on Midterm Election Night. They will be out in full force to see former senator and presidential candidate John Kerry on Nov. 18.
The collector/book seller with the giant bag
This is the guy – I don’t know why it’s always a guy, but it is – who stands in line for a book sign with a bag stuffed with books. If he’s a bookseller, he will have several copies of some obscure first edition he’s foolishly hoping to sell on eBay even though nobody even uses eBay anymore. If he’s a collector, the books will all be different and tenderly well-preserved. Either way, you’re going to wait awhile for that autograph.
The audience member who rambles on at Q & A sessions
It’s easy to be the least popular person at Miami Book Fair. Just get up during one of the Q & A sessions after each reading and ask several incoherent questions that have nothing to do with what the writer just talked about.
The person who can't remember to mute his cell phone
You know who you are. We all loathe you.
The aspiring writer
These sincere people badly want to bond with all the published writers and would love to tell everybody within a 10-mile radius about their unpublished novel and/or poetry chapbook. Since they can’t, they will settle for talking about it during Q & A sessions while the rest of the audience visibly fumes. In drastic cases, they will attempt to force upon an author of a copy of their unpublished novel and/or poetry chapbook. It’s a painful thing to witness. Don’t get behind them in the signing lines, either.
The thrifty shopper waiting for late Sunday sales
You will not catch this person in some drafty auditorium. She’s lurking around the book booths with the stealth and swift reflexes of a predator, waiting for the vendors to unload books at a reduced price so they don’t have to pack them up. Get out of her way.