In her short story collection, “How to Leave Hialeah,” Jennine Capó Crucet examines the gains and losses associated with escaping both the Miami area and the expectations of a family and culture steeped in patriarchy. In doing so, she paints Hialeah and other parts of Miami-Dade County with crystal clarity.
For Afro-Caribbean perspectives on the city, Edwidge Danticat takes readers to Little Haiti in “Everything Inside,” and the poet and novelist Geoffrey Philp portrays Miami through the lens of a Jamaican in “Garvey’s Ghost.”
What if I want a celebrity memoir?
Luther Campbell’s “The Book of Luke: My Fight for Truth, Justice, and Liberty City” bridges the personal and the political. Campbell, also known as Uncle Luke, balances the story of his rap career, his fight for artistic freedom and the collective story of Liberty City, a part of Miami that is often vilified, always neglected and rarely considered as the nucleus of the fight against racial terror.
What if I want something gritty and atmospheric?
“Miami Noir,” edited by Les Standiford, offers plenty of content that could be ripped from headlines that employ the words “Florida Man.” In one standout story, an ex-con takes up secret residence in a Miami Beach couple’s crawl space. While they’re at work, he cleans up after them and takes care of their cat. In another story, a married couple buys their dream home, and inherits the alligator that frequents their swimming pool. And in another, an anthropologist uses his research to eliminate his rival for a job at the University of Miami. Standiford’s introduction includes a brief history of the crime fiction that has been set in Miami, going back to the 1930s, in case you want to follow the trail.
What’s a good place to curl up with a book?
If you’re willing to travel some miles off the beaten path, Matheson Hammock Park in Coral Gables offers lush greenery, the shade of many banyan trees and a coral rock picnic pavilion. Near the marina, a tranquil beach opens onto an atoll pool, fed and filtered by Biscayne Bay. Alternate between cooling off in the water and lying beneath an ample supply of a palm fronds.
What’s the best time to visit Miami if you are a book lover?
The Miami Book Fair, held every November on Miami Dade College’s downtown campus, provides access to literary luminaries, local authors and even a celebrity or two, depending on whose tell-all is published in a given year. The weeklong festival draws readers and writers from around the globe.
For poetry lovers, and for people who prefer a protracted cultural experience, the annual O, Miami Poetry Festival takes place throughout the month of April (which happens to be National Poetry Month) and consists of individual events and programs held across the city. The festival’s goal is to see that “every single person in Miami-Dade County encounters a poem during the month of April.”