Brett Sokol reports from the Miami Book Fair

Brett Sokol of the Miami New Times responds to my call for reports on the Miami Book Fair International and points to his interview with a satisfyingly outraged Carl Hiassen. In email, Sokol says he and Hiassen “don’t actually chat about his lit too much (that was last year’s Book Fair issue, ‘In Search of the Great Miami Novel‘), but at least you’ll remember why you don’t live here full-time . . . .”

He’s right. And the interview’s a good one. It begins:

“You can’t be a happy newspaper columnist, you can’t be Erma Bombeck,” Carl Hiaasen insists, stabbing the air with a forkful of grouper as he lays out the tenets of Journalism 101 over lunch. “All of my best work comes from some kind of anger. If you go up to Jimmy Breslin, he’s as pissed off today as he was 30 years ago. That’s the fire you want to have in your writing.”

Sokol gently takes issue in a little back-and-forth email with my perspective on (that wrong-headed, smug conservative-in-sheep’s-clothing and shill — just so you know where I stand) David Brooks and his book, On Paradise Drive:

As for the Book Fair itself, I think we’re on opposite sides of the fence with David Brooks, but he managed to bash The Corrections and still charm a fairly hostile audience (“I feel like John Ashcroft at the Democratic National Convention”) who were in post-election mourning. His repartee with Donna Brazile was also far more entertaining than anything on CNN.

Here’s the Miami Herald‘s report on the Brooks-Brazile debate. I’m more a Thomas Frank and David Cay Johnston woman, myself.


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