Hit Picks of Miami Lit

In which local authors and aficionados list their favorites

3. Miami by Joan Didion

Classic Joan Didion. Masterful. Wonderful.

4. Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights by Tananarive Due and Patricia Stephens Due

I'm a big fan of Ms. Due. It was a great treat to see the events and circumstances (and mother) that shaped and nurtured her. We should all have a mother like Patricia Stephens Due.

5. Cantos to Blood & Honey by Adrian Castro

If nothing else, read his poem "Some Guayaberas Spell Nostalgia," where you find this great line: "Cuba is on vacation in Miami, come back another day." Adrian is fabulous on the page, but if you get to see him read in person, oh boy!

Ivonne Lamazares

Author of The Sugar Island

1. Continental Drift by Russell Banks

2. The Sunset Maker by Donald Justice

3. Empirical Evidence by Steve Kronen

4. El Hombre, La Hembra y El Hambre by Daina Chaviano

5. Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas

Preston L. Allen

Author of Hoochie Mama and Churchboys and Other Sinners

1. The Sugar Island by Ivonne Lamazares

2. Miami Purity by Vicki Hendricks

3. The Kind of Things Saints Do by Laura Valeri

4. My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

5. Hoochie Mama by yours truly

Raquel Roque

Owner of Downtown Book Center

1. Miami Blues by Charles Willeford

2. The Chin Kiss King by Ana Veciana-Suarez

3. The Perez Family by Christine Bell

4. Under Cover of Daylight by James W. Hall

5. Going To Miami by David Rieff

6. Miracle in Miami by Zoe Valdes

7. Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire

8. Miami First by Maurice Pitchon

Miami First is actually the worst example of local literature. But my little bookstore is mentioned and visited by the main character, so I love it.

John Rothchild

Author of Up For Grabs and A Fool and His Money

1. Miami by Joan Didion

2. The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean

3. Swordfish by David McClintick

4. Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen

5. Tres Tristes Tigres (Three Trapped Tigers) by Guillermo Cabrera Infante

Sure, Three Trapped Tigers is set in Havana, not Miami, but it captures the Miami flavor.

Jonathon King

Author of The Blue Edge of Midnight and A Visible Darkness

1. Miami Blues by Charles Willeford

2. Last Train to Paradise by Les Standiford

3. In the Heat of the Summer by John Katzenbach

4. Black Miami in the Twentieth Century by Marvin Dunn

5. The Deep Blue Good-by by John D. MacDonald

Joanne Hyppolite

Author of Ola Shakes It Up and Seth and Samona

1. The Between by Tananarive Due

Spine-tingling supernatural fiction by this former Herald columnist who was also raised in Miami -- and her in-depth knowledge of the city shows.

2. Black Miami in the Twentieth Century by Marvin Dunn Do you know how hard it is to find a book that addresses the history of African Americans in South Florida? They're few and far between, which makes this book a real gem. It's thorough, readable, and you can tell the author (an FIU psychology professor) loves his subject.

3. When Night Falls, Kric! Krac!: Haitian Folktales by Liliane Nerette Louis

This Miami-based Haitian storyteller has channeled her powerful storytelling skills into a captivating text on, of course, some of the fave Haitian folktales out there.

Michael Hettich

Author of Singing with My Father and Behind Our Memories

1. Remembering Heaven's Face by John Balaban

2. Locusts at the Edge of Summer by John Balaban

3. Continental Drift by Russell Banks

4. Boy Picked Up by the Wind by Robert Gregory

5. Love Warps the Mind a Little by John Dufresne

John Dufresne

Author of Deep in the Shade of Paradise and Louisiana Power & Light

1. Naked Came the Manatee by Brian Antoni, Dave Barry, Edna Buchanan, Tananarive Due, John Dufresne, James W. Hall, Vicki Hendricks, Carl Hiaasen, Carolina Hospital, Elmore Leonard, Paul Levine, Evelyn Mayerson, and Les Standiford

2. The Kind of Things Saints Do by Laura Valeri

3. Hurricane Center by Geoffrey Philp

4. Hoochie Mama by Preston L. Allen

5. Dreamers, Schemers, and Scalawags by Stuart B. McIver

Diana Abu-Jaber

Author of Crescent and Arabian Jazz

1. Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat

I'm always attracted to writers with a great "voice," a style with literary flair and emotional depth, and many Floridians seem to have this sort of vibrancy in their work. The landscape is so bold that it's almost inevitably a part of any writer's creative process. I've only moved here recently, but I already feel the way the light and texture of Miami infiltrates my own writing. Still, it might be more accurate to call many of my favorite Miami writers "Miamians-by-association." Danticat has lived in Miami and her Caribbean sensibility melds exquisitely with the tropical fluidity of this city. This book blends political pathos with lyrical grace for a stunning cultural portrayal.

2. All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

Another Miami-sojourner who has a brilliant intensity that shines through both his journalism and this memoir, a delicate portrayal of the landscape of personal history and a complex emotional drama.

3. Monkey Hunting by Cristina Garcia

Garcia has close personal links with Miami and her most recent novel provides a unique, thrilling look at surprising intersections of immigrant history, ranging from China to Cuba to the New World.

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