Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bernadette Murphy (Herald Tribune)

Happy birthday and I hope very much you keep going to celebrate many more. Coral Gables must be one of the loveliest bookshops on the planet. Not only does the selection of books provide much food for thought, but the restaurant provides much food for pleasure and adds to the browser's experience. When I go to Miami, I stay near Lincoln Road so I am more familiar with this store. It is smaller and perhaps more charming in comparison. But what is remarkable is how its bright, cheerful persona is so perfectly attuned to the atmosphere on the rest of the street. It's always pleasant, interesting and tasteful. For the casual passerby who wanders in, buying a book becomes irresistible and certainly a pleasure. I look forward to my next visit.

Bernadette Murphy
International Herald Tribune
Neuilly, France.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Elisa Albo

Last fall, when I celebrated the publication of my chapbook with a reading at Books & Books, a dream come true, I recalled with Mitchell how nearly twenty-five years before, I would attend the monthly Friday night open poetry readings, at first much too nervous to even consider reading a poem of my own until I shakily did and gradually, over the years, grew more confident so that my hands didn't at least visibly tremble. I also reminded Mitchell of the time I wandered over to the magazine stand in the original store on the night of a reading and to my astonishment, found a copy of Bomb Magazine, in which I had just been published. I rushed over to Mitchell to show him, and I will never forget his reaction: He took the magazine from my hands and standing there, read the two poems all the way through. Then, when I went to buy the four copies he had--and I probably shouldn't reveal this!--he gave them to me. His kind and generous support that evening sustained me for a long time, as I'm sure he had done for innumerable writers over the last 25 years. From the local writers' side, what would we do without Mitchell and Books and Books, our independent gem. Thank you, and congratulations!

Elisa Albo

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jane Friedman (Harper Collins)

When I hear the name Mitchell Kaplan, I always smile.

Mitchell and Books & Books are essential threads in the fabric of our publishing lives.

25 years is such a milestone. What you have accomplished is EXTRAORDINARY. You have made Miami (a second home of my childhood) a literary destination.

We have shared so many careers together. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for so many authors and for the smart readers who come to you and your
superlative staff to see to their tastes and their needs.

I wish you everything you wish for yourself in the future.

Happy 25th Anniversary, and thank you from your friend and a "publishing veteran,"

Jane Friedman
CEO Harper Collins

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mim Harrison (Levenger Press)

The abracadabra ampersand

The books, of course, are just the half of it. There is an ampersand that joins Books and Books, and it has come to be a kind of totem that represents a union of a deeper sort. The abracadabra ampersand, symbol of the magic door that opens to community.

All the more remarkable given that it is here in South Florida, a part of the country where presumably there is no strong sense of community. Books & Books is the village well, the gathering place for a most diverse, disparate and far-flung network of people. We don’t even all know each other but we are drawn together, and not merely by a love of reading but by something more fundamental—something as elemental, perhaps, as the water in that well.

Only connect, said Forster. And so we do. The sustenance we take and the succor we find is in the sharing of ideas. It is a connection that grows stronger, deeper and more satisfying the more we come to the well. Can we achieve great things because of it? Perhaps. But more important is simply knowing that we can achieve.

Most infrastructures in a community grow weaker the longer they exist. But the infrastructure of ideas grows only stronger. The well simply never runs dry. And the magic door is always open.

Mim Harrison
Editor, Levenger Press
author of Words at Work

Friday, November 2, 2007

Walter Isaacson

There is no better spot on earth than a lovingly-run bookstore, and of such paradises one stands out: Books and Books. It is a haven of civility and letters. I have visited dozens of times, sometimes to talk and sign, but mostly to browse and replenish my mind. Congratulations.

Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe
and or Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.

David Maraniss

When I think of going to Miami, my first thought is not of the beach, nor even a delicious Cuban pork sandwich, but of going to Books & Books and seeing the greatest bookseller in America, Mitchell Kaplan, who makes an author feel completely at home. Congratulations on 25 years of great books and friendship. - David Maraniss

Rabbi Harold Kushner


The 25th anniversary of Miami’s premier bookstore coincides with my twenty-fifth anniversary as a best-selling author. But long before I was a creator of books, I was a consumer of books. Bookstores have always been magical places for me, and Books And Books has to rank high among my favorites.

How could it be otherwise when the single most memorable experience of all my book tours happened there. In 1989, I was promoting my book Who Needs God and my tour brought me to Books and Books in Coral Gables. I was about to end my talk by interpreting a parable from Gabriel Garcia Marquez when a paperback fell off the shelf and hit me on the head. It was a collection of Garcia Marquez’s short stories. It seems he was offended by my interpretation. But you see why I consider Books and Books to be a magical place.

The union of the bookstore and the people of Miami is a perfect marriage, a clientele that appreciates good books and a bookseller that knows how to meet their needs. I wish you many more years of prosperity.

Rabbi Harold Kushner

Mark Trowbridge (Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce)

When I think of our community’s most successful businesses and outstanding independent business owners, I immediately think of Books & Books and Mitchell Kaplan. It is hard to imagine Coral Gables without Books & Books, and for the past 25 years, we are most grateful we have not had to. In Books & Books, we have a business whose very heart beats to the rhythm of its customers and pumps conversation into our community. In Mitchell Kaplan, we have a community icon whose generous spirit and genuine bliss are bound together in the pages of a passionate narrative – his own true story. As a Chamber of Commerce, it is reassuring to know that we have an enduring community partner and stalwart friend in Books & Books and Mitchell Kaplan. We thank you both from the bottoms of our collective hearts for 25 years of delicious dialogue, delightful discovery and immense joy.

Mark A. Trowbridge
President & CEO
Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

Beth Dunlop

An Ode to Books & Books

From the start, the name filled our consciousness like so many thrumming tom-toms: Books & Books, Books & Books, Books & Books. For many of us, our lives can be charted by the 25 years we’ve had this remarkable bookstore. My son — just months younger than Books & Books — grew up there, both of us sitting cross-legged on the floor of the children’s room with Miss Nelson (who went missing), George and Martha (having tons of fun) and Bill and Pete (who went down the Nile) not to mention grinches, witches, wild things, giant peaches and big friendly beasts.

All too soon, the grinches gave way to epic journeys, existential quests and unreliable narrators. We were in the “adult room” and following Odysseus, Captain Ahab, Holden Caulfield, John Dowell and Nick Carraway. In sequence, Books & Books opened on Lincoln Road, built its incredible new Coral Gables store and expanded in Bal Harbour. I’d venture to say that the Coral Gables Books & Books, with its elegant rooms and open-air courtyard, is arguably one of the handsomest bookstores to be found anywhere.

None of this would have been possible, of course, without the astounding Mitchell Kaplan. He would call himself a bookseller, plain and simple. But in an era of too few heroes, he is one. He is an idealist, an intellectual, a patron, a public thinker. Without him, we would not have the Miami Book Fair International. We would still be a distant outpost on the literary circuit, not be a must-stop for authors. With independent bookstores under siege from large chains, Kaplan has been a valiant crusader for the homegrown, for the local. And despite the national odds, he’s survived a quarter century with his own very local bookstore. There isn’t an author in Miami (or near Miami) who doesn’t worship him. And he’s family. He’s watched our children grow up; we’ve watched his. His very presence and his passion has made Books & Books a place where we discuss politics, philosophy, poetry, literature, history, music, art, architecture. It has been at the core of Miami’s intellectual and cultural growth.

Now, the very kids who came of age on Books & Books are the ones sitting cross-legged on the floor with their own toddlers, who will be the third generation to learn to love literature and architecture at Books & Books where our history and culture have been safeguarded so carefully for a quarter of a century now. First and foremost, bookstores are about books, but they are also about the structures that house them, and the cities that make them possible. Books and buildings are two key ways we pass on culture from one generation to another, and we should cherish the fact that in Miami, at this very special bookstore, the two come together.

Beth Dunlop
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