Sweet November: return of the Book Fair

Sweet November: return of the Book Fair

The Miami Book Fair at Miami Dade College is evidence that, though the traditional book as we know it might be gasping for air, book fairs are alive, well, and flourishing.

Chilling atop the failing New York Times bestselling fiction list are old fuddy duddies like Grisham, Albom, and Kingsolver. The non-fiction hardcover list is as polarized as could be expected: Bill O’Reilly, Tucker Carlson, and Bob Woodward. Two outliers on this give me hope: Stephen Hawking and Kobe Bryant. Excuse me while I kiss the sky. While I’m in the matrix, paperback listings include topics like meth addiction, how Homo sapiens came to rule the Earth, a 1920 murder spree in Oklahoma versus the Osage Indians, white fragility, and Andrew Jackson. We are a diverse nation with polar interests.

The Miami Book Fair, November 11-18, brightens downtown every year before Thanksgiving with an array of authors far too numerous to mention. From the 500 or so this year, I would like to see Michael Beschloss, José Andrés, and Sandra Cisneros with Jorge Ramos.

Michael Beschloss has written nine books on presidential history, He appears often on NBC News and is a PBS NewsHour contributor. Nobody understands presidential behavior like Mr. Beschloss, and so, if you are catching my drift here, perhaps Mr. Beschloss might be able to help shed some light on what’s going on these days in the White House. What the hell do you have to lose?

José Andrés is a god. Founder and chairman of World Central Kitchen, the NGO behind #ChefsForPuertoRico, and co-founder of ThinkFoodGroup, Andrés is a Michelin-starred, James Beard-winning chef who was named among Time’s “100 Most Influential People.” His book, We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time(Anthony Bourdain/Ecco) is the story of how the chef harnessed another group of chefs to feed hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans after merciless Hurricane Maria. Chef Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. There was no clean water, no food, no power, no gas, and no way to communicate with the outside world when Andrés created a network of community kitchens to feed everyone during this crisis. FEMA needs him.

Sandra Cisneros is simply the author of one of history’s greatest books, The House on Mango Street. Enough said. She appears with journalist Jorge Ramos, he of I got kicked out of a press conference for asking uncomfortable questions fame. Ramos is the Spanish language, Mexican-American anchor known as the Walter Cronkite of Latin America. Whatever that actually means, it is a compliment. Sparks should fly here.

Of course, these days, some people no longer read. Therefore, other major events a stone’s throw from the Book Fair involve the American Airlines Arena where Drake and Migos perform on the 13th and 14th, and Marc Anthony who will perform on the 16th and 17th. If books are too passé for you, walk around the corner.

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