Friday, November 21, 2008

2008 Miami Book Fair

So it's been a week since I've posted on Passion for the Page and what a week it was!

I spent part of last weekend at the 2008 Miami Book Fair. It was their 25th anniversary and my 1st time attending. I was only able to go to the street fair (which was awesome), but that is only a small part of the fair itself which lasts for a week. This year it was from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16. There were TONS of authors including Salman Rushdie, Joyce Carol Oates, Dave Barry, Ishmael Beah (A Long Way Gone), Billy Collins (Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003), and Frank McCourt to name just a teeny, tiny fraction.

And did I get to see any of these people. Um...NO. But that's OK. It was my first time. I'll know what to do next year ;o). See, the deal is, you have to sign up for tickets in advance to see the really popular authors. The tickets are free. You can sign up for them any time before you go. Did I do that? No. Why? Cause I'm stoopid. I figured I'd just stand in the stand-by line. This is the line that you can stand in with about 100 other people too stoopid to sign up for free advance tickets in the insane hope that someone who actually went to the trouble of signing up for the free tickets doesn't show. Yeah. That's happenin'.

So, no, I didn't get to see any of the authors, but I did spend about 5 hours in the blazing heat (Miami broke all kinds of heat/humidity records that day and as used to the Florida sun/heat as I am--it was HOT!) crawling around the street fair. Lots of good bargains to be had if you are in the market for cheap books (or graphic novels--they had a whole tent devoted to graphic novels). However, sadly, if you could see my groaning, overstuffed bookshelves, that does not exactly describe me. So I limited myself to only spending $30 on books that I intend to keep (read--non-fiction, reference since I give everything else away to make room for more books--yes, I do realize I have a problem).

Since I've only been in Florida for a little over a year, I decided to concentrate on my new (beloved ;o)) state. Luckily, I found the Pineapple Press (based in Sarasota, just a little south of me) and The University of Florida Press booths. Both of these publishers also had "hurt book" tables where you could get books for $5. They might have dings on the corners, but what do I care? I'll eventually ding them anyway.

From Pineapple Press I got:
Sea Kayaking in Florida by David and Mark Gluckman
Florida's Living Beaches by Blair and Dawn Witherington
The Lightkeepers' Menagerie: Stories of Animals at Lighthouses by Elinor De Wire
The Book Lover's Guide to Florida -- Kevin McCarthy, editor

And from The University of Florida Press I got:
St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream 1888-1950 by Raymond Arsenault
Florida Stories -- Kevin McCarthy, editor -- a collection of short stories by various authors including Ernest Heminway, Zora Neale Hurston, Stephen Crane, and Gore Vidal.

After leaving Miami Saturday afternoon, my husband and I continues on to Key West. We brought along our bicycles and, of course, The Book Lover's Guide to Florida that I'd just purchased. The Book Lover's Guide to Florida is, basically, a travel guide book to literary sites in Florida. Key West has 22 entries including the houses Tennessee Williams, Robert Frost, and, of course, Ernest Hemingway.

So even though I didn't get to see any live authors at the Book Fair itself, I did get to see where a lot of dead authors had lived (and a BUNCH of 6-toed cats ;o)). Next year I will definitely return to the Miami Book Fair with free advance-reserved tickets in hand.

These guys attended the fair, too. Check out their accounts (they're much better than mine, they actually saw authors):
Miami Book Fair Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary at the Fair
Photos of the Rock Bottom Remainders Rocking the Miami Book Fair -- no, Steven King wasn't with them this year and, yes, I missed them, too.


Beth F said...

Nice post! I had just finished the Bookreporter's report, so now I feel as if I were there too! Except I spent yesterday watching it snow!

Anonymous said...

That's terrible that you didn't get in! You are a person who CLEARLY deserved to be there!!

Suzannah said...

I'm sorry you didn't get to see any of the big names in person. Next year....!

The Rock Bottom Remainders, a band made up of writers, played on the roof of building 1 on Nov. 15, no tickets required, and plenty of room. Band members: Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Matt Groening (Simpsons creator), Roy Blount, Jr., Carl Hiassen, and special guests Frank McCourt and Richard Belzer. (Members of the Remainders who weren't there: James McBride and Stephen King.)

You can watch some of the authors in the C-Span archives. C-Span broadcast those ticket-only events live.

Archive here (click the orange Flash video icon on the upper right to watch):

Kristi said...

Thanks for the link, Suzannah, that's fantastic! Yeah, it was a complete lack of planning on my part *g*. I didn't really have any concept of how big the fair was going to be and I'm not a great planner anyway. I tend to just show up and see what happens ;o). Now I know...Next year, I'm planning ahead! Thanks again for stopping by.