tv Mitchell Kaplan Responds to Viewer Calls CSPAN November 20, 2016 4:45pm-5:31pm EST
it was riveting and, really important, particularly now. i was wondering why you decided to use the mechanism of magical realism after that first chapter which is so, seems so real, you know, realistically real? so what lay behind that? why didn't you just continue something that was a story that was realistic? >> right. i mean, my conception originally is a book where, she is going through different parallel countries. so i'm not a historical novelist and, maybe one day i will write a historical novel but something that has not occurred to me and i couldn't talk about, i couldn't bring in nazi germany, and tuskegee experiment and, late 19th century lynching
protocals in a book about 1850. so it allowed me to have that play with time. and to put different historical events in conversation with each other. so, it never occurred to me to play it straight. if i played it straight it would be totally different book and not as interesting to me as a writer. >> thank you. >> your book was very powerful. my question is did you know when you started writing the book how the end, particularly her mother was going to happen? >> sure. there is a linear story of the book that is cora. there are short buy graph call sections mable, caesar, ridgeway the slave catcher. >> you do women really well. >> and i guess, i have a structure in different states, definitely plotted out. seems like characters were
auditioning for their biographical sections, so i would bring out who we get -- after the north carolina section should martin or ethel get their section? ethel got it. figure out where to move, different sections around. so about 2/3 of the way through, i decided i would have mable in there and that is when i decided that would be the most dramatic place to put it for many reasons. >> yes it was, thank you. >> thank you. >> hi. i have read all your books. my favorite is sag harbor, i wonder what is your favorite of your books? >> thanks for reading all those. [laughter] it has been a while since i gone back to the earlier ones, definitely. thanks. i like them all. definitely the one i just finished is the one i like the most. this one i think definitely brought two strands of my way of writing together. my first couple books were two if books.
what if they updated this industrial age myth of john henry, the information age. i think i had this idea many years ago, the underground railroad falls into that. what if the railroad was real. from sag harbor on i was starting with a character and a situation moving into a story. here i have a what-if premise. went into a very strong character. it is really the union of two creative strands for me and seems like a cull administration of what i've -- culmination of what i've been working for a while. i will be two pages into the next book and that will be my favorite book. >> thank you so much. >> congratulations. i was so moved and in pain from what you wrote about, and it made me think, you have mentioned nazi germany and, that there's a very established impact from the holocaust that is very accepted and i know that
there is a post-slavery psychological reaction. i would be interested in what you think as the generations go on, what the psychological impact of all that cruelty and strengths? >> yeah, it persists, say, john lewis of my grandparents 'generation, who, you know, still scared by seeing colored fountains and whites-only fountains, even though they took the signs down 40 years ago, you have that primal memory being denied a library card. it is still persists in stop-and-frisk. slave controllers who were the police force in slave states before they were policemen. in language being caught by the slave controllers and showing free papers on demand is the
same language i would be in times i have been stopped by police, handcuffed and questioned for being in the wrong place at the right time, at the wrong time. so, you know, lander in the section i read says, the scars never fade. we're still undergoing these traumas in different ways. it is not slavery but it is in these mechanisms still in place that still echo slavery. you don't have to be literally enslaved to feel subjugated and chained. so, like i said, even before the election, i'm, optimistic, thing get better by degrees. i think we've had a setback but we are moving slowly forward. >> zigzag, thank you. >> hi, my name is joanna. i'm an mdc student and currently
writing my own historical fix, so i have two questions for you. if they're too heavy, i will try to be slow. so as a young woman writing about historical fiction set in the 1920s and interracial romans, very hard and very hefty. how was your experience writing the underground railroad, reading accounts you have as some one of color, and how were you able to separate yourself from being emotionally involved? and also, like i said i am 21 and i'm very young so one of the things you being at your age being so accomplished you know. >> is he like 80 now? >> very hard for people like me to come up. so i guess my question is, are you ever too young? >> sure. are you ever too young? no. i mean, definitely for me i didn't become any kind of writer until i was in my early 20s. i tried to audition for creative writing workshops in college. i was turned down each time. turns out that was good training
for being a writer. if you internalize everyone hates you and reject your work, get used to it, you toughen up for later on. so my apprenticeship in writing working for newspaper, "the village voice in manhattan. every week you're writing and getting better with different editors. so -- we felt as a writer, paying my bills doing it. i think you're 21? you have read a lot of books that have been important to you, figure out why they're important. you know, read the authors you like, feel like what kind of writer you want to be and write and find out what kind of writer you actually are. in terms of difficulty dealing with heavy material, yeah the more research i did, the more horrified got having adult acquaintance with slavery and how bad it was obviously and just imagining my nameless
ancestors going through it and they died in georgia or florida, somewhere i have no idea. my family line doesn't go back that far. they are sort of lost in the moss of slavery. realizing cora, like many terrible scenes like the one that opens the book was very daunting. but, going back to earlier question starting with a realistic question and going to the fantasy, before i started performing reality i wanted to pay it straight to pay tribute to my ancestors that went through it and everyone else went through slavery as much as i could to testify for them. and so, how i dealt with it? it was terrible on the page and then at 3:00 p.m. i would knock out and start looking at "new york times" website for recipes to make for dinner. i shop dinner and make dinner and talk with my family and drinking wine and go to bed. >> i want to thank you for being
such a voice for young people of color like me. thank you. >> that is very kind of you. [applause] >> we have been allowed to go a little bit longer on this one but i would ask you both to have short questions, you might have to have short answer, before 5:00. >> i want to know how and when you first learned about the underground railroad? >> you know, fourth or fifth grade. i remember having the moment, there was underground railroad and learning it actually wasn't literal. stayed with me obviously. >> i thought the idea of having caesar be a worker in wood was just incredible. my question, when he went, the first time to fletcher's, am i right, fletcher house, where they're talking about him finally escaping and so on, there is a one short line in there that i thought was a stroke of genius and i don't
know you personally managed to get that line in there or it was grace of god or just me the reader, but while he is talking to fletcher and working out this very difficult idea of the escape, you said, the dog passed gas. it was just, incredible because, it broke the tension but at the same time it made you realize what heavy decisions are being made something as simple as life. >> so i can get a good fart in every book, i'm excited. >> where is waldo. look in all the books for it. >> you want the tension between what they're talking about and sort of absurdity of life and mundane things going on. you are going, you know, i am, shaping the reader's mood having moments like that in there. so, i don't think of that as one of the key lines in the book. [laughter]
but, every sentence is there, hopefully for it is doing its job. i remember why i put that in there. thank you. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much for coming. we thank miss haber, and mr. whitehead. it has been a great session. he will be signing the book around the corner. you can buy your book, and if you haven't, because it is fabulous, right outside of this room. if you're stay forge the next session, you may keep your seat.
>> colson whitehead is the winner of this year's national book award for fix. that ceremony by the way will air on booktv tonight at 10:00 p.m. a few more segments left in our coverage of the 33rd annual miami book fair. in about 20 minutes or so you will hear from maureen dowd, who was here earlier this week talking about her book "the year of voting dangerously." but in the meantime we want to talk to one of the cofounders of the miami book fair and owner of books and books bookstores in the miami area, mitch kaplan. mr. kaplan, what was one of the highlights for you at the festival this year? >> oh, man, i first have to say before i tell you that, this is always one the highlights to come and see you and to be talking down the street and see you interviewing all the authors that are here. it really shows the diversity
what we do at the book fair. for me, what was so important was the incredible conversation that went on, day in and day out, given where we just came, having an election, which was, you know, we have a divided country and hearing people really be engaged in serious discussion from the author stage into the audience. and that for me showed me that this book fair is really a necessary thing for civic engagement, for community involvement, for all of those things. >> you were the host of quite a big event last night. >> yeah. that was something. we had bernie sanders here. >> he has become an event, hasn't he? >> he has become an event. we were -- we could have filled up one of the stadiums with him. >> so do you get calls from friends or neighbors who want tickets? it's a ticketed event, right? how do you do that? >> the tickets were free but i'm smart enough all these years i don't answer the phone when i see that happen. >> well you know what?
we're going to spend a little time talking about books, talking about book selling, things like this. if you want to call in and talk about what you're reading we want to hear from you too. mitch kaplan can talk from soup-to-nuts. 202-year code. 748-8200 in the eastern, central time zones. 748-8201 in the pacific and mountain time zones. we'll leave numbers up so you can call in. mr. kaplan, we've been running best-sellers from books and books we got from your stuff. >> thank you. >> one is jd vance's hillbilly elliegy. why do you think that caught on? >> it caught on clearly because of what was going on during the election. i think people who live in the city like miami, which is so urban, wanted to really understand exactly what was going on and why people were so
dissatisfied and what was happening in communities that are not communities like miami. i think j.d. vance really touch ad nerve by writing that book. and he basically let people here in such a crazy city like miami understand what was happening in another part, another part of the country in essence. >> what is on your current reading list? >> books that i have read recently i'm just in love with, is a book that was written by paul kranthy, which is called when breath becomes air. i'm sure you covered on the show. .
and so comment that is kind of what i'm doing. i am reading right now a book by paul auster, who is a great, great called for, three, two, one. exactly what he's done is he has written kind of his grand opening. it is the story of a young boy who grows up and goes through his life but it's a little bit like sliding doors. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 m. 1.4.
it's the same character leading for distinct lives. it's a very, very keen paul has done. but he's written it marvelously. that is coming out in january. >> host: is he somebody you know personally? >> guest: i have known him over the years. he's one of america's great leaders. >> host: as a bookseller, you are reading the book and you like it? what does that do to your order? >> guest: we are actually going to do an event with paul in february that's going to be called the music, magic enemies. paul's daughter is an amazing singer-songwriter and there are musicians because of other books he's written with an evening of music, magic and paul giving a reading as well. it's a way of giving us complete
taste of coupon lives. >> host: what it's about you under order miss the boat non? >> guest: usually the next day you can get the next days you can under order 17. and what are books that have taken by surprise and in that sense there's a lot of them. starring harry potter for instance. the very first harry potter had a modest printing believe it or not. ellis scholastic in a very small printing. there are lots of those books over the years that complete me, completely surprised me. tony boardgame's -- his first book. i read it, i liked it, but nobody knew it would become the phenomenon that it became.
that happened a lot because then books you find it really is about word-of-mouth. it is about the book and sometimes their slogan developed in various ways. i remember when john grisham wrote his first book and it was about published by a very small price and then all of a sudden he exploded. i'm for red october, one that goes way back was a book that was printed with a very small print. so you know, it is the kind of democratic democracy of reading which is so wonderful. >> host: you mention anthony boardgame. ducote books sell well? >> guest: they do, for certain people they do. it was the makeup book. it was kitchen confidential so it's really about what happens in the kitchen, which is why it did so well. if we start out with just a coat
hook it might not have done as well as it did. it is more of a memoir. >> host: dreams do come you mentioned john grisham, hunt for red october -- of course i'm blanking on his name right now. those are books that were made in the movies. does that happen a lot with books? >> guest: yeah, it does. one of the things that i have done is sort of developing new muscle after 35 years as a bookseller if they started a film production company. we have a film based on a book that is a marvelous book called the men who invented christmas and it's about charles dickens in the making of a christmas carol, and many people don't know this. the christmas carol was probably -- the best-selling self published book cover.
he was in a bad, bad way when that book came out, he couldn't find a publisher for it. so last told the story of that and how that book created our modern concept of chris meant. charles dickens became a superstar in all of that and remaking a movie and it going to be shot in dublin starting in about three weeks. we have stephen from downtown iv christopher plummer starring jonathan spacefaring peers about his one and i recommend that book. and then there is another one many of your listeners have heard a call to literary appeal society written by mary ann schaeffer who died unfortunately. that is the book starring lily james who also is done cannot be and is being direct down by a wonderful direct their who did
that studio canal. so this is a company based in l.a. i'm in a very unique position as a bookseller and a very young and early-stage so i can pick and choose. >> host: at some point they talk about buying the rights to about. >> guest: that's what we do. we optioned the rights. optioned the rights for a particular period of time and then you have that period of time to get the book made. >> host: lets her friend janet cullinan from poland, maine. you are with mitch kaplan at at the miami book fair. >> caller: hi, sarah. i recently read two books that were very provocative. one was cane river and the other
with launch of our fathers but paul turow. i wonder if you're familiar with those books. give me new perspectives -- >> guest: i am vaguely familiar with them. >> host: janet, why did those books affect you? >> caller: because it gave me a new perspective on how african-americans might feel about the south. >> guest: well, that is fantastic. if you like that book, there is a book that you should really read called between two worlds, which is a memoir also by an african-american gentleman who wrote about his growing up and his experience as an african-american man living in this country. >> host: and he wrote it as a letter to his son. >> guest: he did indeed. it was after ferguson act he
decided to write this letter to his son and it went on to sell billions of copies. >> host: national book award winner from 2015 for nonfiction. we were just listening to colson on his reimagining of the underground railroad. have you picked that up yet? >> guest: i have indeed. colson is kind of a favorite of so many of us booksellers because as you can see from what just happened, he reads so well and speak so articulately. he's such a good guy as well. a lot of his books have started as kind to indy bound favorites and for those of you out there who want to look for finding a book that you might love and enjoy, the american booksellers association sponsors what is called in the next and his was the number one pick.
every month, independent sellers from around the country submit their favorite books from the galleys that we've read and colson spoke was the number one pick. so yeah, it is a remarkable story. it struck a nerve in this country at this time. >> host: around this time of year, observing viewers on television will see mitch kaplan. how would they see you, mr. kaplan on network television? >> guest: well, it is very funny. i was stoned for an american express shot small business saturday and they keep running back cover show. i've heard from people from other ventures schools who have seen it. it gives me an opportunity to plug small business saturday. i'm also a small business person and everyone out there ought to make sure that you really do
bend your dollars for the holidays and your local small business. >> host: how many books are there? >> guest: we have five. they are small, but we have one that we just open that you would love. we opened up a books and bikes stored together. it's called winglet and it's been a lot of fun having it. we also have a graffiti artist named lebo. he is a sports announcer's brother and he's got a gallery within our space as well. >> host: david and cmx leveraging it. you are on with mitch kaplan. >> guest: hello, mr. kaplan. my wife and i just went to spain and visited barcelona and a friend recommended that we read carlos luis shadowed the way wind which we thought was fantastic and we wondered if you
read it and what you think of it. >> host: david, what was it about the book that grabbed you? >> guest: it was dickens sony in. it had strange characters and descriptions that were much like charles dickens. >> guest: you are absolutely right. and it's about books. it is a book that looks sellers love and i love it as well. thank you for bring it to her attention. >> host: christine, new hampshire. hi. >> guest: -- >> caller: . am i speaking to mitchell kaplan? >> host: you are. >> caller: i knew you back in the 90s. i was a faculty member and a very dedicated book fair volunteer at that time. and help to recruit lots and lots of volunteers in that capacity.
i just wanted to say after 10 years in the middle east i now live in new hampshire and i just wanted to comment how important independent bookstores are in england. i live in new hampshire and we don't have anything left here at the big guys. there is one barnes & noble and manchester m1 imports meant, but nothing within a couple hours of where i live. but there are some wonderful, wonderful independent bookstores. that's the only place i buy books. i don't do anything online. i think i learned that from you. >> guest: thank you for your help in the early days of the book fair. i'm glad you're getting a chance to watch it. new england is really, really a place where there's been a resurgence of independent bookselling. i could go on for two hours about all the remarkable
bookstores that are in new england and it's great to see younger people opening books yours. and now, there is a meme a few years ago is that if his dad and i think this book fair and bookstores have shown that it's no longer at all anywhere near being accurate. >> host: when this festival began 33 years ago, how did it start? >> guest: well, great story. downtown miami was very different than it is today. miami was very different. it was a very rough time. riots in the streets. we had just had this gigantic influx of people from cuba, from aerial happening. miami was suffering. there is a "time" magazine article entitled miami paradise and people -- early 80s. people weren't sure what was going to happen. i got a call with a couple of other booksellers from eduardo
pedro was a personal hero of mine who is coincidentally going to be receiving. >> guest: first of all -- the largest college in the country with 160,000 students over eight campuses. edward it was the president of one campus at the time and he's going to be getting the presidential medal of freedom this coming week and we could be more thrilled. he is deserving of it nine times over. >> host: >> host: that will be at the white house on twos day. >> guest: will be. we want to do something to really highlight miami. he had just come from the barcelona book festival and seeing what a book fair could really do. i was a young bookseller. i had been up in two years. i knew that serious books are being read in miami and i have a lot of faith that we could afford this kind of book fair. from the beginning, the hallmark
of the miami book fair with something for everyone because we live in a diverse community. we wanted to create a tent under which the entire community could live. so this year, so many years later we now have programs in creole, programs and french. it's remarkable to see how the book fair has grown to serve the kind of original vision that we have. >> host: mr. kaplan, when we asked you some of your favorite books, you mentioned dew breaker. >> guest: dew breaker is a book i cap are highly recommend it to heartbreaking book in many ways as well. for those of you don't know the work of ed veatch, run out and learn all about it. she is a young haitian writer who chronicles in fiction, nonfiction and now children's
books. she chronicles her own experience as well as the experience of her family, as well as experience of what is happening and what is happening now and in the past. she is one of our treasures here in miami. >> host: lets here from louisiana. ken, you are in booktv with books and books owner mitch kaplan. go ahead. >> caller: hi, mitch. i love your store in miami and other independent bookstores. i am wondering, though, there is some authors who can't get the book published or can't reach an agent for various reasons and end up publishing the amazon. i know that necessarily to have unambiguous show is a relationship with amazon because they are eating your lunch in many ways or have been. if somebody had published by john sallied through your bookstores or how does that
work? >> guest: i should let you know that amazon is one place where people can self publish. their other self-publishing platforms that you can find on the internet who didn't spark and others where you don't have to sell through amazon. amazon is very proprietary when it comes to that. what we do do is if there is a local author who has published their amazon and they are doing an event at the store, we will have those authors into the store and we will carry their books as well. but i do encourage people to look across all the spec terms of self-publishing, you know, before you make your choice. >> host: barbara, newark, new jersey. hi, barbara. go ahead. >> caller: hi, mitch. i bet your black-and-white kingdom check shirt. very fashionable.
i like the last color and self-publishing i've got a five star reviews. have you ever heard of people self-publishing been banned from getting -- been more commercial because you are so controversial ? >> guest: well, that shouldn't happen. if you look at traditional publishing houses, i think everybody would agree that it isn't too controversial. everything gets published. so the idea would he to show that you do have a market, even beyond the reviews. in fact, publishers actually look to self published authors as you know and they often bring them over to their publishing houses and publish them more
globally as well. >> host: mitch kaplan, one of your regular customers, jeb bush. >> guest: yeah, he is. you know, it's really interesting, he recently after he got off the campaign trail had recommended to me one of his really close associate named sally bradshaw, who also left the campaign trail and in essence left politics in that way and this just open up a marvelous, marvelous new book story in tallahassee that i have to recommend to everybody. sally is a remarkable, nice, lovely person and her dream is always to have a bookshop in tallahassee didn't have an independent store and so she went up there. >> host: he called and asked
you -- just as sally came down, we spoke and it was wonderful. one of the things as more of a gray beard and this business, it is wonderful to see new people getting into this business because i really believe that bookstores that place are so important to communities and to see more and more bookstores opening is something that every bookstore last to see. >> host: have you seen an uptick in sales -- >> guest: i really haven't. i've seen an uptick in books about donald trump. you've had many of the authors sign, whether it they cannot donald trump trump revealed, people want to understand him. but the art of the deal really has not told more for us. >> host: mitch kaplan, cofounder of the miami book fair, open a books and books here in miami.
as always we appreciate the hospitality and your coming and having a chat with us to close out our live broadcast here. the miami book fair has grown into a weeklong event in earlier this week cut we covered maureen dowd was down here for the book fair and here she is. ♪ >> hi, good evening, everyone. welcome. my name is ted mcmahon and i want to welcome you -- no, i'm kidding. i mitchell kaplan on behalf of all the book fair, i want to welcome you to the 33rd miami book fair. [cheers and applause] how many of you -- or how many of you is this your third night here? quite a few of you. this has been a remarkable book fair that couldn't come at a better time to be honest.
they had trevor noel, then we have james carville and we didn't see alan coming. he was kind of remarkable. nietzsche said geraldine brooks who was really terrific as well. and tonight we have our special guest who i can't wait to hear from us well. as many of you know, it really does take a village to put this book fair on. i watch you think everybody here at this remarkable college, miami-dade college for opening their doors and sponsor msn being the heart is old of this book fair. so let's give them a big round of applause. [applause] is going to say we also have a journalist -- two journalists who will be speaking for one another. although journalists have given us but clearly the "miami herald" led by their book critic connie ogle who is here somewhere.
i want to thank connie. it's not easy these days being a journalist for you have to file for your four stories and do it on before like 11:00. it's a little crazy, but we think her for all the great coverage but died. i also want to say that we have started a group called the glitterati society. it has been a very, very important part of the book fair. if any of you want to learn a little bit about it, you can speak to the one in whom we will now introduce and that is for mci mns marquez. floating via is a seasoned real estate professional with significant project management and strategy skills over 20 years while leading organizations in both professional and volunteer capacities.
she also has a deep knowledge of travel, hospitality, art and culture industries. prior to her own firm, she owned a strategy and marketing expertise and while that nonprofit academic institutions, startups and fortune 500 companies. she regularly mentors startups and participate entrepreneur. she's an avid cheerleader for the business and cultural scene and is committed to help shape the city's changing landscape. having emerged as the leader in civic organizations, she's also been, as i said the proud founder of miami book fair society and a huge supporter of everything that we do in the literary world of ours. please give it back, and they miami book fair welcome. [applause]
>> thank you so much. wow, i sound so much better on paper than i do in my head. good evening. welcome again to the third night of the book fair are what i like to call it the best week in miami. [applause] i think that's a good round of applause. as mitch said, i am here tonight representing the young professional membership groups supporting the book fair. it is my great pleasure to introduce maureen dowd, best-selling author, prize winner and "new york times" columnist. i think it is very safe to say that pretty much any of our authors this week would be thrilled to have just one of those titles attached to their name. her signature style and critiques of both sides may not have made her politically but they have not heard popular and critical claims.
tonight we are lucky to have her with us just one week after we all sat around on a boat and we were with my 8-year-old daughter who is also here tonight. she had blood red pencils with colored and the electoral college map. she is also here tonight and ask a lot of questions. marine's latest book is transfixed -- transfixed. it is a collection of her takedown from the presidential race, which i think we can all agree is probably the most bizarre, destructive and divisive race of modern political history. she is here in conversation snap the man we all recognize by name and my voice, if not by faith, mr. tom hunt then, who runs -- [inaudible] so, i know we have a lot of questions in our audience tonight.
so please, help me welcome the incomparable, maureen dowd. [applause] >> good evening, everybody. great to see you could welcome back to miami. welcome back to the book fair, maureen. >> thank you. >> "the year of voting dangerously," will we survive? >> i don't know. you know, william goldman, a famous screenwriter which had a famous line about hollywood. nobody knows anything and that is the line we have to think of when we think of washington now because we have a lot of people on tv in our 24 hours a day trying to tell us what is going on. but trust me, no one knows what is going on. nobody knows what is coming, especially donald trump. he's dumbfounded.
you know, you can see it in his face. and so, we are all in for an incredible read here. >> i've heard it described as the dog on the bus. now what is he do with it? do you hold on? >> it's interesting you bring up the dog metaphor because one of trump's biographers, tim o'brien used to work with me at the times had a wonderful metaphor for a wide trump on this week. he said that, you know, a lot of people on the left think that the press just didn't explain who donald trump was or wasn't hard enough on them, but that was the net. what happened was as tim said, all of these voters, you know, in hard-hit across the country really wanted a rottweiler to
rip the face of washington. so sometimes when donald trump had unsavory characteristics, that just persuaded these voters that he was more of a rottweiler, so they loath to washington more than they didn't like his behavior. you know, i think it was -- i wish i had brought this in the high 50s, disapproved of, you know, when he won, the presidency, his unpopularity rating was historic in the high 60s. i think over 70%. this is trump when he won the other day. over 70% disapproved of how he treated women in the 60s again didn't think he had the temperament to be president, but they voted for him anyway. not because they didn't know who it was, because they knew who he was and he was their rottweiler.