Book Fair Weekend

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.

Bill Bryson’s “At Home,” a “Foucault Reader,” and a 1922 copy of Huxley’s “Chrome Yellow.”

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.

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7 thoughts on “Book Fair Weekend

  1. This is so wonderful! I just recently read on Books & Books website that the Miami Book Fair was happening. Glad your daughter was able to experience the excitement of having a book signed for her. As an adult, I’m still excited every time this happens.

    What a silly assumption by that man. Everyone reads Foucault. When I was in college we had to read ‘Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-century French Hermaphrodite’ with a great intro by Foucault. I recommend if you haven’t had the chance already.
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herculine_Barbin:_Being_the_Recently_Discovered_Memoirs_of_a_Nineteenth-century_French_Hermaphrodite

    • I was excited for her. You should have seen her face when the author handed her the book. She held on to that book for the rest of the day.

      No kidding, it most certainly was a silly assumption, but one that stems from an all too common place. A woman pushing a stroller can in no way have an active intellectual life, right? Drives me nuts!

      Anyway, no I haven’t read that one but I just ordered it from amazon. Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll definitely give it a read!

  2. I think postmodernism (Foucault) is an intellectual cal-de-sac. I had to read his work during my undergraduate years and thought how does one deny the legitimacy of any unifying moral discourse and at the same time affirm propositions in public policy?

    Well…you can’t.

    • I tend to agree that postmodernism can certainly be problematic, but it nevertheless is an interesting addition to the cultural/philosophical/historical discourse. And certainly one cannot completely disregard the contributions of certain post-modernists to the study of history, literary theory, etc.

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