Reading, Writing And Meeting Weirdos

I think Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books&Books, Miami, along with his Zoom guests, author John Grisham and author Carl Hiaason, forgot they were on camera this past Wednesday. It was like a boys night out. Eliot and I had 90 minutes of good laughs.

They started discussing embarrassing things that happen to them on the road during book signings. They miss going to book stores and personally meeting fans.

They talked about no one showing up for book signings, people coming by to say hello and never buying books, and being asked to sign some very strange things.

John said that one time a woman waited on a crowded line for a half hour, walked up to the desk he was sitting at, and asked him to sign her breast. He noticed her tough-looking boyfriend to the side who was just staring at him.

He decided to accommodate. Her breast was rather large so he signed John Grisham and added Jr. because there was plenty of room.

She buttoned up and walked away. Then her boy friend walked up to the desk, looked John right in the eye and unzipped his pants. He took out his penis and said, “sign this.” Without hesitation, John took his magic marker, and made the illusion to sign J.G, because there wasn’t enough room for his whole name. By that time the police showed up and asked John if he wanted to press charges. He said “no” for the gal and “yes” for the guy

John has a new book, “A Time For Mercy” coming out this October and Carl’s book, “Squeeze Me,” was just released. Carl just got engaged. At 68, this will be his third marriage.

Do you believe this nut job is Governor Gavin Newsom’s ex-wife? What was he thinking? Don’t answer that.

One Of The Best Things About Miami

When we first arrived in Miami about 25 years ago, new friends told us book stores couldn’t survive in this area of the country. Miamians said people who live in the land of sun and sand, just don’t read.

That may have been true then, but Miami native Mitchell Kaplan changed all that. For over 20 years, Kaplan has turned Miami into a reading town by establishing his book chain, Books & Books, as a cultural and entertainment center.

Eliot and I have built a social life around the main Books & Books in Coral Gables. We attend many of their hundreds of guest lectures a year, and often drop by for lunch or dinner in the cafe. It’s also a great place to spot all kinds of people from the creative world who rely on

Books & Books as a reliable destination to conduct research.

Watch the above video featuring Mitchell Kaplan as he gives a personal tour through his main branch. Kaplan is also the founder of the Miami Book Fair, the largest one in the country.

For Your Listening Pleasure

Saturdays have a new meaning for me. I look forward to listening to “The Literary Life” podcast, hosted by Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, a chain of bookstores in and around the Miami area.

The greatest plus for me is that each podcast provides information about every aspect of the book industry. From running a bookstore, to getting your book published, The Literary Life takes you behind the scenes of how it all gets done.

I love listening to Mitchell, a well-known figure in the literary field, because his interviews with authors and publishers, reveal so much. I’ve listed his recent interviews below. The most recent one, with publisher Johnny Temple, talks about the book fairs in Miami and Brooklyn. You hear about how they got started, and why they are so successful.

In case you haven’t heard, bookstores are in vogue again. Real estate developers have recently admitted that book stores attract lots of foot traffic to their shopping areas, and readers are anxious to browse the aisles again.

Many of us have always fantasized about being a famous author, or a book store owner. The Literary Life gets you closer to your dream.

Produced by Revolver Podcasts, you can listen each week with Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and iHeartMedia.