Since it’s opening in 1982 in a 500 sq. ft. space in Coral Gables, Fl., Books & Books has grown. Its flagship store moved across the street into a 9,000 sq. ft. location, which is on the Register of Historic Places, added a full-service café, and now hosts more than 60 events a month. In 1989, owner Mitchell Kaplan added a second store on Lincoln Road in South Beach. After the opening of a third store in 2005 in the Bal Harbor Shops, an upscale mall that boasts the highest dollar per sq. ft. ratio in the world, Books & Books began leveraging its brand. In 2007, it opened a store in the Cayman Islands. Three years later it opened an affiliate store in Westhampton Beach, Long Island. Books & Books also partners on stores in Miami International airport, at the Southeast Financial Center in downtown Miami, and at the Coral Gables Museum. In addition, the bookstore developed a publishing arm five years ago and has released close to a dozen titles.

Books & Books head Kaplan helped found the Miami Book Fair more than 30 years ago, and he serves on the steering committee of the Florida Center for the Literature & Writing, Miami-Dade College’s literary center, the umbrella organization for the book fair. He is a former president of the American Booksellers Association and serves on the board of the American Booksellers for Free Expression. In 2011, Kaplan received the National Book Foundation’s “Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.”

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The year’s notable fiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
ALL OUR NAMES. By Dinaw Mengestu. With great sadness and much hard truth, Mengestu’s novel looks at a relationship of shared dependencies between a Midwestern social worker and a bereft African immigrant.
ALL THE BIRDS, SINGING. By Evie Wyld. An emotionally wrenching novel traces a solitary sheep farmer’s attempt to outrun her past on a remote British island.
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE. By Anthony Doerr. The paths of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy converge in this novel, set around the time of World War II.
AMERICAN INNOVATIONS. By Rivka Galchen. Stories offer variations on a particular sort of woman: in her 30s, urban, emotionally adrift.
THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER: Stories. By Hilary Mantel. One has the sense that Mantel is working with some complex private material in these suavely stylish, contemporary fables.
THE BALLAD OF A SMALL PLAYER. By Lawrence Osborne. In Osborne’s feverish novel, the playing is done on the gambling tables of Macau by a tortured embezzler on the run.
BARK: Stories. By Lorrie Moore. Moore’s first collection in 16 years allows each story the chance it deserves for leisurely appreciation, and lets the reader savor just what makes her work unique.
THE BLAZING WORLD. By Siri Hust¬vedt. A multifaceted portrait of a creative titan whose career and reputation have been blighted by the art establishment’s ingrained sexism.
THE BONE CLOCKS. By David Mitchell. In this latest head-¬spinning flight into other dimensions from the author of “Cloud Atlas,” all borders between pubby England and the machinations of the undead begin to blur.
THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS. By Michel Faber. A pastor from Earth is picked to satisfy an alien planet’s mysterious yen for religious instruction.
THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS. By Cristina Henríquez. Latino immigrant characters face the challenges of assimilation.
BOY, SNOW, BIRD. By Helen Oyeyemi. Taking “Snow White” as a cultural touchstone, Oyeyemi’s novel offers up a cautionary tale on post-race ideology, racial limbos and the politics of passing.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS. By Marlon James. Revolving around the assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976, this mesmerizingly powerful novel addresses politics, class, race and violence in ¬Jamaica.
CAN’T AND WON’T. By Lydia Davis. In these stories, the mundane and the fathomless appear together on the same street, and calamity is always close at hand.
THE COLD SONG. By Linn Ullmann. A guilt-ridden Norwegian family is set in motion by a nanny’s murder.
COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE. By Haruki Murakami. A novel of a man’s traumatic entrance into adulthood and the shadowy passages he must then ¬negotiate.
DEPT. OF SPECULATION. By Jenny Offill. Building its story from fragments, observations, meditations and different points of view, Offill’s cannily paced second novel charts the course of a marriage.
THE DOG. By Joseph O’Neill. In O’Neill’s disturbing, elegant novel, his first since “Netherland,” a lost and tormented New York lawyer recognizes more darkness within himself than in the iniquitous place he works, Dubai.
EUPHORIA. By Lily King. King’s novel turns an episode in the life of Margaret Mead into a taut tale of competing egos and desires in a landscape of exotic menace.
EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU. By Celeste Ng. Tragedy tears away at a mixed-race family in 1970s Ohio.
F. By Daniel Kehlmann. Deserted by their enigmatic father, three brothers struggle with life in this sly tragicomedy.
FAMILY LIFE. By Akhil Sharma. Deeply unnerving and tender at the core, the novel charts a young man’s struggles to grow within a family shattered by tragedy and disoriented by its move from India.
FOURTH OF JULY CREEK. By Smith Henderson. An overburdened social worker becomes involved with a near-feral boy and his survivalist father in 1980 Montana.
A GIRL IS A HALF-FORMED THING. By Eimear McBride. An Irish writer’s odd, energetic first novel.
I PITY THE POOR IMMIGRANT. By Zachary Lazar. A Brilliant novel of spiritual discovery features Meyer Lansky, an American journalist and an Israeli poet’s murder.
THE LAUGHING MONSTERS. By Denis Johnson. A cheerfully nihilistic novel about two scammers and rogue spies in Africa derives much of its situation from several of his early journalistic pieces.
LENA FINKLE’S MAGIC BARREL. Written and illustrated by Anya Ulinich. Ulinich’s graphic novel traces the marital and romantic adventures of her immigrant heroine.
LET ME BE FRANK WITH YOU: A Frank Bascombe Book. By Richard Ford. In four linked stories, Ford’s aging Everyman surveys life after Hurricane Sandy batters New ¬Jersey.
LILA. By Marilynne Robinson. A young woman with a past of hardship and suffering makes a new start in Robinson’s fictional town of Gilead, Iowa.
LOVERS AT THE CHAMELEON CLUB, PARIS 1932. By Francine Prose. Prose, a subtle psychologist, has created a genuinely evil character in Lou Villars, a cross-dressing French racecar driver and Nazi collaborator.
THE MAGICIAN’S LAND. By Lev Grossman. In the strong final installment of a trilogy, an exiled magician attempts a risky heist.
THE MOOR’S ACCOUNT. By Laila La¬lami. Estebanico, the first black explorer of America, narrates this fictional memoir.
MY STRUGGLE. Book 3: Boyhood. By Karl Ove Knausgaard. The third installment of Knausgaard’s Proustian six-volume autobiographical novel.
THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH. By Richard Flanagan. A frail humanity survives the unspeakable in this novel of the Burma-¬Thailand Railway of World War II.
NORA WEBSTER. By Colm Toibin. In Toibin’s luminous, elliptical novel, set in the late 1960s and early ’70s, an Irishwoman struggles toward independence after her husband’s unexpected death.
PANIC IN A SUITCASE. By Yelena Akhtiorskaya. As a Ukrainian family adapts to life in Brooklyn, old-country memories linger.
THE PAYING GUESTS. By Sarah Waters. Hard times, forbidden love, murder and justice are the themes of this nevertheless comic novel, set in London after World War I.
REDEPLOYMENT. By Phil Klay. Twelve stories by a former Marine who served in Iraq capture on an intimate scale the ways in which the war there evoked a unique array of emotion, predicament and heartbreak.
REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS. By Bret Anthony Johnston. A skillful and enthralling debut novel, a family is reunited after an abducted son comes home.
A REPLACEMENT LIFE. By Boris Fishman. In Fishman’s bold and wickedly smart first novel, a Soviet émigré writer in New York becomes disturbingly adept at forging applications for Holocaust reparations.
SONG OF THE SHANK. By Jeffery Renard Allen. Allen’s masterly novel blends the personal story of the enslaved autistic piano prodigy Thomas Wiggins with the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
10:04. By Ben Lerner. A Brooklyn-based narrator preoccupied with identity decides to help his best friend have a child in this brilliant second novel.
THIRTY GIRLS. By Susan Minot. The atrocities wrought by a murderous African rebel army with candor yet without sensationalism.
THOSE WHO LEAVE AND THOSE WHO STAY: Book 3, The Neapolitan Novels: “Middle Time.” By Elena Ferrante. The third novel in Ferrante’s series, which tracks a long and complicated friendship.
THE WALLCREEPER. By Nell Zink. A heady, rambunctious debut is an environmental novel, if a totally surprising and irreverent one.
WE ARE NOT OURSELVES. By Matthew Thomas. A gorgeous family epic follows three Irish-American generations.
WHEN MYSTICAL CREATURES ATTACK! By Kathleen Founds. This dark, rich little novel in stories shows Founds as a talented moralist of nearly Russian ferocity.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

Book Stores ~ James Patterson

Bestselling author James Patterson is putting his money where his heart is, pledging $1 million to independent bookstores in the next year.

He comments, “We’re making this transition to e-books, and that’s fine and good and terrific and wonderful, but we’re not doing it in an organized, sane, civilized way. So what’s happening right now is a lot of bookstores are disappearing,” Patterson says he hopes the funds will support everything from raises for staff to larger projects. What’s essential is that the bookstores have a viable business model and that their shops include a children’s section. Bookstores interested in learning more can fill out a form on Patterson’s website.

Kudos to those who care about our bookstores. Keep current on literary news by checking my website, http://www.bookreportradio.com.



Penguin Young Readers Group’s latest debut author is also one of its target readers: a 13-year-old boy. Jake Marcionette has just landed a two-book deal for his middle-grade series, Just Jake. The first book in the series will hit the shelves in February 2014.

Jake, who began the books when he was 12, writes about a boy named Jake Ali Mathews whose life is upended after his family moves from Florida to Maryland. In his new school, Jake struggles to start fresh, while also avoiding the local bully.

The publisher said he was “blown away” when he found out the series, which will also feature illustrations, was written by a 12-year-old. OK…now there’s food for thought, and what is YOUR kid doing right now?

For more from the publishing world, check my website bookreportradio.com, and tune into my show The Book report.

KIDS CLASSICS ~ Amelia Bedelia

One of your favorite childhood friends has just turned…50!

Amelia Bedelia, has been charming readers since 1963. Amelia’s misinterpretation of simple instructions is actually an introduction to the funny turns of phrase often found in our language. Ok…some backstory….the author, Peggy Parish admitted the character was inspired by a maid from Cameroon, well known for her quirky collection of hats.

Parish went on to write twelve Amelia Bedelia books. For years after Peggy’s death,. her estate received letters begging for new Amelia Bedelia stories. In 2009, Parish’s nephew, Herman, took over the series.

For more on characters from the book world, tune into my show The Book Report.



Book lovers, rejoice…stats point to a resurgence of independent bookstores.

Indie bookstores were supposed to go the way of the stone tablet – done in first by national chains, then Amazon, and finally e-books. But, a funny thing happened on the way to the funeral.

While beloved bookstores still close down each year, sales at indie bookstores overall are rising. Owners credit the modest increases to everything from the shuttering of Borders, to the rise of the “buy local” movement, social media, and a get-‘er-done outlook. If Indies have to sell cheesecake or run a summer camp to survive, they do it.

For more news from the world of books, check my website, bookreportradio.com. And tune into my radio show, The Book Report.


Attention Book club gals, these books, coming out in the next months, are for you. 

Coming soon to a book store near you….and definitely worth your group’s time is the hotly anticipated romance debut from Stephanie Evanovich, Janet Evanovich‘s niece. The book, scheduled for July, looks to be a rollicking chick-lit-ish romp of love. The Astor Orphan by Alexandria Aldrich is an insider’s look at an American Royal family.  And Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me by Patricia Volk is the author’s tale of growing up under the gaze of these stylish, difficult women.

Anytime you’re looking for suggestions, check my website, http://www.bookreportradio.com. And tune into my show, The Book Report.