November is always an exciting month. The weather is getting more tolerable (for South Florida, anyway), Christmas is in the air, Thanksgiving dinner is being planned, and the Miami Book Fair International rolls around. I’ve been making my annual pilgrimage there since the mid-80’s, and have always really loved it. One year I even had the opportunity to meet both Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame).
This year I didn’t get to see any authors or other presentations (time just didn’t allow), but I did spend the better part of what was a beautiful Saturday strolling through the book-lined streets of downtown Miami. My daughter had the chance to experience the excitement of having a book signed by the author just for her, and I had the joy of looking through tent after tent of used books, indie books, old books, rare books, and everything in between. In the end, I walked a way with only a couple of books and one or two little gems, but it was a well spent afternoon.
A funny aside: When I went to pay for the Foucault Reader the gentleman that I paid looked at me strangely enough for me to ask if everything was alright. He said that it was odd that a woman was taking an interest in Foucault. I wasn’t sure whether to be insulted or not, so I just smiled politely and walked away… but little does he know! I’ve been reading Foucault since I was introduced to him in a “Queer Literature” class in 1996!
The only disappointment this year was the absence of the “Antiquarian Annex.” I collect old and rare books (at least those that my budget allows), and the Annex was always my favorite part of the fair. So many beautiful bindings, illustrations, first editions, and some books so precious that they sit, untouchable, behind glass. Walking through the Annex always felt a bit like a walk through a small slice of the history of books and reading. There were a few antiquarians there, but nothing like in previous years. Here’s to hoping they bring it back in the future.
Despite the missing Annex, it was an absolutely lovely Saturday afternoon, and I look forward to going again next year.