Funny how you live with something for so long that you're discombobulated when it's done. MIami Book Fair International ended Sunday on a high note with Susie Essman and Andy Borowitz and an appreciative full house. I was tempted to go home (I confess, I was dying to see the Mad Men season finale) but decided to stick around, and I was glad I did. Although I must confess, as funny as they were, the event did not top Saturday's John Hodgman/Larry Wilmore appearance, which was twice as hilarious as most stand-up acts.
So many highlights, so many I saw, so many I missed. The book fair will be absolutely perfect when we can clone ourselves and attend more than one session at once. So many great moments, from thriller writer and former Miamian Paul Levine musing about how nothing has changed in the 10 years he's been gone ("I get off the plane and the first thing I read is that the entire city commission has been indicted...nobody's running the city, which is probably a good thing.") to the eloquent novelist Sarah Dunant telling her audience about reading a sexy book under the covers at night and being caught by her horrified mother ("Children should always push the boundaries.")
One of the best sessions of the fair was John Freeman (The Tyranny of Email) and Hal Niedzvieckl (The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors), a thought-provoking look at YouTube culture and the way email, Facebook and Twitter run (and ruin) our lives. I'm not sure Mr. Freeman has persuaded me to start writing letters again, but he's definitely convinced me I should read his book (and also possibly consider spending a bit less time on FB.)
Another great discovery at the fair: Michael Thomas, author of the novel Man Gone Down, whose appearance on the PEN International panel was so compelling I walked right out of the Chapman Conference Center and bought his book (he also appeared with Ben Greenman and Jonathan Lethem on Sunday).
So we're done for another year (during which we hope Miami Dade College finishes construction on the Auditorium, because those a/c units in the tents acting as substitutes drove us all crazy by the end of Sunday). Now, it's time to settle down with all those books whose authors we heard, met and liked. Happy reading.