Honestly, I have to say that this was the most jam-packed weekend that I have ever had in the Miami Book Fair!
I arrived at the book fair on Saturday, November 17th at around 10 am in order to avoid having to pay Miami’s ridiculous parking fees. My priority was to take advantage of the free parking available at the Miami Dade College parking garage and I rushed to get over there to meet my book club friends!
When I arrived at the Miami Book Fair one of my good book club friends happened to snag me a press pass and I was luckily able to take advantage of as much free food, desserts, tea, and coffee that my bookish heart desired. Life was good.
Matching shirts for book club!
My friends were going to book events back to back but my schedule was more relaxed since I only had two book panels that I planned on attending that Saturday and two on Sunday. Although since I hadn’t seen my book buddies in a while and in effort to spend time with them I decided to stay all day Saturday and Sunday tagging along. They were making me look bad when I saw them with actual suitcases of books to be signed. Loll. But again being a reader is not about the multitude of books you own or get signed it’s about the love for reading. I made sure to rid my jealous bibliophile heart of comparison!
Here are the events that I loved the most…
Tales of Transformation: Thrilling YA Fantasy
The authors for this book panel was Kiersten White, Danielle Clayton, Megan Shepherd, and Somalia Dad.
I have never read any of these ladies books but the authors that I loved listening to and I am intrigued by are Kiersten White, Daniella Clayton, and Megan Shepherd!
I have never been interested in reading The Belle’s until I heard Danielle Clayton speak and I found her discussions surrounding her book to be thought-provoking and relatable.
She spoke about her background of growing up in a very privileged existence and not seeing the reality about women of color and the role of women in society until later on in her life. The book The Belle’s was inspired by this woke experience that she had in her life. The fact that the book is dealing with current issues that women face wrapped up in a fantasy sounds like a very intriguing book!
Grim Lovelies sounds like the perfect fantasy novel for me because it is set in Paris (my dream place), the heroine is a quiet heroine and not your typical badass tell it like it is character!
Last year, I attended a book panel with Kiersten White and I promised myself that I would read her books and it is yet to be seen! #guilty
Her book The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein sounds like a delightfully creepy novel. Kiersten White stated that she was always fascinated by the life of Elizabeth Frankenstein and she told us a story that when the husband of Elizabeth Frankenstein died she actually stole his heart! Just hearing this cringy fact makes me want to pick up the book even more!
I have to say that this was my favorite group author panel of the whole weekend! You can see that the authors had incredible chemistry and I loved watching them joke with one another! There was a hilarious discussion about Hogwarts houses and Danielle Clayton admitted that she cheated her way to be a Hufflepuff but she is actually a Slytherin. Kiersten White jokingly said, “You know that is a Slytherin trait right?” They loved and respected one another’s work and that was refreshing to see!
Madeline Miller’s Circe
I am not a huge fantasy reader and I can count the number of fantasy books I have read this year with one hand but Circe has to be the best fantasy book I have read so far! Now I haven’t finished reading the book but so far I am in love with the exquisite and lush atmosphere that Madeline Miller has created. She mentioned that she has a background in theater and I can tell she has a gift of theater because she really captures the voice of Circe. When you read Miller’s writing you’re aware that she has definitely done her research on Greek mythology because it has the exact feel of Greek mythology only this time with a feminist perspective.
During the book panel, there was a podcast that was actually interviewing her and the interview was extremely thought-provoking. They covered the feminist perspective in her book and revealed the distinctions between the original story of Circe and her version of Circe. Miller discussed that she wanted to change the story and not have Circe be defined by the man she will marry unlike the original. I loved the discussions between them so much that I made sure to check out their future podcasts episodes and if anyone wants to check them out their podcast is fiction/non/fiction podcast.
Here are some quotes of Madeline Miller’s discussion that I absolutely loved…
“The more power and freedom that women have the more power and freedom men have.”
“Circe is mythological realism because it’s the kind of story where Circe is stuck in a horrible family and Odysseus is essential a war veteran that’s just trying to get home to his family.”
YA Authors on Love, Loneliness, and Everything in Between
The authors of this book panel were Janelle Milanes, David Levithan, and Ngozi Ukazu.
This book panel was my MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK PANEL ever! I was most excited to meet Janelle Milanes for this book panel because she wrote an own voices novel written by a Cuban American author with a Cuban American main character! As a Cuban American, it was a huge thrill for me to read this book and I was so excited to meet the author. I love how the writer writes about a character that can be relatable to anyone and she is not written as a caricature Cuban cha cha queen. The main character is a quiet and shy nerdy character just trying to get through high school and learning about romance for the first time. I love this novel because I grew up just like Analee in high school and being Cuban American I was stereotyped for most of my life to act a certain way and like certain things just because I am Cuban American.
I met David Levithan for the first time in this event and he seems to be a very sweet person. He spoke about his writing process and his experiences writing romance. In the panel, he mentioned that one of his favorite romance movies are Before Sunrise and he loved how they fell in love through just having one long deep conversation. I also believe that Before Sunrise is one of the most romantic movies on earth because what can be more romantic than having deep conversations walking around the streets of Vienna?!
The topic of the book panel was related around love and romance and it was a very entertaining discussion. They asked a good question to the authors about what draws them into a story and of course, my girl Janelle Milanes said that the romance is what draws her into a story first and I couldn’t agree more. There were hilarious discussions about their favorite ships such as wishing that Buffy and Spike ended up together. (I wholeheartedly disagree with this. Buffy and Angel forever.)
I told Janelle Milanes that I am so appreciative that this novel has Cuban American rep and she was so appreciative and humbled by my comments. We spoke about some tidbits about the book and she seems to be a super cool person to talk to!
This book panel was my last one of the weekend and I am so happy that it ended with getting to meet Janelle Milanes! I hope to meet her again and talk to her about the book Victoria in my Head which will be my next read!
Miami Book Fair was an insane weekend with back to back book panels but these book events always leave with the best book high! If you ever have the opportunity to go to these book events I highly recommend them because they are so inspiring and it’s a sure fire way to get rid of those book slumps!
Chat with me and let me know in the comments if there are any book events that you attended this year that you loved!