What makes for a good book fair? Or, are all book fairs created equal? I haven’t been to enough book fairs to honestly say. But, let’s make this a spirited competition. What makes your book fair so good? Let me tell you a little about Miami Book Fair International in 2015.
One of the first things I could say about the Miami Book Fair has to be the weather, though this year (thanks to El Nino) we had a little bit of wet closing weekend.
There were 450 authors who presented their work. Of course, I couldn’t possibly see all those, but I can tell you about a few.
Jennifer Hayden is the author of: The Story of My Tits. Is it a comic book? Is it a graphic novel? She explains it, but what I can say is this is a fascinating look at a very personal story, one that Jennifer wrote and illustrated.
I had a conversation with Jennifer, which you can hear in the first official podcast of The Author Cafe. We discussed her journey in telling this story as a graphic novel. We also talked about finding alternative methods of publication. She found a path through the online comic site ActivateComix.
Lyn Millner teaches journalism and creative writing at Florida Gulf Coast University. She’s just come out with her first book The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet. It’s a look at the cult leader Cyrus Teed, creator of the Koreshan movement of the late 19th, early 20th century. Whether you’re into history or not, this is a fun read because Cyrus was (in Lyn’s words) a fascinating lunatic.
Why do college football fans act, sometimes, irrationally? Because, they’re part of a tribe. This has nothing to do with the Seminoles. But, Florida State University professor Diane Roberts broached this topic in her latest book Tribal, College Football and the Secret Heart of America.
Roberts is a feminist, but she defends college football as an important part of American culture. Throughout her book she tackles (pun intended) issues like sexism, racism and the money that makes the sport churn.
It’s a witty and fun read whether you’re a college football fan or not.
Finally I would like to introduce Marvin Sackner. He and his late wife, Ruth, have spent close to forty-four years collecting artwork, specifically visual poetry and concrete poetry.
They recently came out with The Art of the Typewriter. This is a collection of works they have acquired throughout the years. It’s also a great primer for anyone who wants to learn about visual and concrete poetry. If anything, it’s a fun book to sift through and appreciate work that was created using manual typewriters.
You can also tune in to a future podcast and listen to my conversation to Marvin about his book. Sackner, along with Roberts, Millner and Hayden all presented their works at the book fair.
One of the other things that makes Miami’s Book Fair a lot of fun is poetry. This year O, Miami hosted the World’s Smallest Poetry Reading.
It’s a bit of gag. The group organized eight poets, all part of a new book called Eight Miami Poets. One poet at a time enters the red tent and reads one poem to the smallest audience possible – one person. Not sure if the Guinness World Record Corp. will be checking on this.
Of course, the other thing the Miami Book Fair had was plenty of vendors and publishers selling their books. There were even kids dissecting squids. I had lunch just before so I skipped seeing that.
What does your book fair have? What makes it great? Share with us.
This week’s audio commentary: Shitty Poetry.