By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
Price starts with that fateful foul ball on a Sunday night in Little Rock and unspools the tape of both men's lives—one that began in Binghamton, New York, the other in Puerto Rico. The tales show life in the minor leagues is bitter, mean, and unfair.
"Fans look at baseball as this sort of Field of Dreams environment of magic and romanticism," says Price. "Baseball players really don't. Everybody's got an 'I got screwed' story. I wanted to write an adult book about baseball that told the truth about this very tough existence."
Comedian Andy Borowitz describes his work this way: "Two hundred and fifty words is the far reaches of my genre. Once I hit the 250th word, then it's like I'm writing Anna Karenina."
The Bard of Shaker Heights is also a stand-up comedian and frequent contributor to The New Yorker, where he penned the classic "Emily Dickinson: Jerk of Amherst." He also created that touchstone of early '90s television: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
This will be Borowitz's third Miami Book Fair appearance, though he also admits to having once come down for Super Bowl weekend, but not for the actual Super Bowl. "The less said about that the better," he explains. One might assume Borowitz would read from the recently reissued "Bernie Madoff Edition" of his Who Moved My Soap? The CEO's Guide to Surviving in Prison (Simon & Schuster, $9.95). Instead he's doing a duet with fellow comedian Susie Essman, best known as Susie Greene on Curb Your Enthusiasm. (If we have to explain who that is...let's just say we shouldn't have to.) "We're going to interview each other," he explains. "There are sure to be many intrusive, inappropriate questions asked."
Ben Greenman was age 20 and fresh out of Yale when he started work for Miami New Times in 1990. The Palmetto Senior High alum joined a rabble-rousing crew including Greg Baker, Jim DeFede, Sean Rowe, and Steve Almond. They laid the foundation for our muckraking ways. "It was the Wild Wild West in those days," Greenman notes. "The paper gave us a lot of license to do creative work."
In "Cracking Up," he chronicled an experiment in which he followed the late mad scientist John Detrick around downtown Miami on a very hot summer day to see if eggs really would fry on sidewalks. In 1991, when violent criminals were targeting lost tourists in their rental cars, Greenman concocted the "New Times Rental Car Conversion Kit," a handy package of mail-order accessories tourists could use to give their rented vehicles a local look. "To be a journalist in Miami at the time, you always knew something crazy would come up," he says. "The paper was fun in a very intense way."
Greenman has gone on to edit the calendar section of the The New Yorker and in his free time, he writes quirky, clever fiction. His latest literary work, Please Step Back (Melville, $16.95), chronicles the life of Rock Foxx, a fictional musician who makes the transition from soul to rock during the heady Sixties.
You're dying to dig into Tao Lin's new novella, Shoplifting From American Apparel (Melville, $13), chronicling sex and theft among Generation Y's hipster-nerd contingent, but you can't solve that Internet-age ethical conundrum of whether to "file share" or pay actual money for your entertainment materials. Well, don't worry about it, the pressure's off. "If you care about my financial situation, I encourage you to buy it. If you don't care about my financial situation, I encourage you to steal it," Lin says. "I'm OK with either choice."
This is typical of Tao Lin. Born in Orlando, but now based out of Brooklyn, the 26-year-old author doesn't mind that the web is destroying the publishing industry and replacing it with complex networks of artists and friends who communicate (and disseminate their work) almost exclusively by blog, cell, email, text, and Gmail chat.
This is the cultural moment that Lin playfully confronts in Shoplifting From American Apparel as well as his previous published work: two books of poetry, a short story collection, and a novel, Eeeee Eee Eeee. He may be best known for self-promotional stunts, like the online sale offering $2,000 shares in a future Tao Lin work.
As for his appearance in Miami: "I plan to seem witty and charismatic yet shy and nervous, in a manner that people will blog about."
Back in the 1990s, Ann Louise Bardach made herself infamous in Miami by scoring a huge interview with Fidel Castro for Vanity Fair. Later, she nailed American hypocrisy toward terrorists when talking with Magic City mad bomber, Luis Posada Carriles. That work was published in the New York Times.
In her new book, Without Fidel, Bardach tells more about Castro's present maladies (she calls him the "convalescent-in-chief" ) and his complicated family tree than has ever been divulged before. Suffice it to say, he has been as wily at avoiding death as he was in getting the drop on the CIA's exploding cigars.