Book notes

Rather than go into depth about the Miami Book Fair International — others have staked that ground pretty thoroughly — here is a brief selection of the notes I took at the events I attended.

  • John Waters: author, film maker
  • “I was on Howdy Doody. Pee Wee Herman was on Howdy Doody, too. It screwed up both of us!”
  • On showing Pink Flamingos to prison inmates: “These murderers said, ‘You’re fucked up!'”
  • “Divine was created as a combination of Jayne Mansfield and Godzilla, something made up to scare hippies.”
  • Carl Hiaasen: journalist, novelist
    • “South Beach is a magnificently silly place.”
    • “Balloon Boy is moving to Florida. That was inevitable, wasn’t it?”
    • “Nothing of consequence ever happens [on South Beach].”
  • Lynda Barry: author, cartoonist
    • “On three, say your first phone number. Good, okay, now remember the phone number three before your number now. When you remembered the first one you all smiled, you got happy. The recent number didn’t do anything. That first number is an image linked to a sense of play, and play stimulates brain activity.”
    • “There is an absolute biological reaction to stories, measurable in specific brain activity.”
    • “Any time you get your hand moving with a crayon or a pen it’s good for you.
    • “I’m from Wisconsin. Got a tricky stain? Norwegian blood can suck the color out of anything!”
  • Lev Grossman: critic, novelist
    • “The publication of [The Magicians] was delayed six months for legal vetting, to make sure there wouldn’t be any trouble with the C.S. Lewis estate.” This came after all pastiche allusions to the Narnia books were removed.
    • “I now know more about fair use than I ever wanted to know.”
    Jaime Hernandez at Miami Book Fair 2010
    Jaime Hernandez at Miami Book Fair 2010

    For me if was a very successful fair, the best I’ve attended in a while. Every aspect was stepped up from previous years, even (or especially) the more utilitarian and operational aspects like a more useful website and a better selection of food vendors. It’s even more amazing knowing how hard the mostly volunteer staff has to work to put this together. (I feel like Jordan and Lisette are friends, I see them so often.) The Book Fair is one of the events that keep my interest in Miami alive, and I feel certain that even if my future draws me away from South Florida, I’ll want to reserve a week in November for an annual visit.