Native Virginian Brian C. Perlin came to Miami to earn his undergraduate and law degrees at UM, and decided to stay put. He established his namesake firm 36 years ago in Coral Gables, where he lives with his wife, Wendy.
How did you initially come to be a Miami Book Fair supporter?
I was hanging around Books & Books, met Mitchell Kaplan, and really just was drawn to the concept of the Fair. And I love hearing the authors speak.
How does MBF’s work align with your personal thoughts on access to literary culture?
The Fair brings books to people, it encourages writing, and it allows for an exchange of ideas. That kind of access is important, because it pushes people to look at things a little bit differently, and to experience different views. And the more knowledgeable we all are as a people, the better we handle ourselves in the real world.
Who are some of your more memorable MBF moments?
There have been a number of great speakers that my wife and I have really enjoyed. John Waters was one, George Will was one – and when you hear two such different authors speak one after the other, that’s a fascinating contrast. Dave Barry, obviously, and Carl Hiaasen. And the food is great.
You are the first person to mention the food.
Yeah, whoever does the guacamole there gets an award. The author party – that was fun, too.
What’s the last great book you read?
I just went into Books & Books a couple of days ago and bought Anthony Bourdain’s World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, so that’s what I’m reading now. But before that it was A Nervous Man Shouldn’t Be Here in the First Place, Amy Condon’s biography of Bill Baggs. Before that was Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth by Noa Tishby, The Year of Dangerous Days by Nick Griffin, The Cubans by Anthony DePalma, and Disposable City by Mario Ariza.
That’s a really great – and eclectic – selection of nonfiction titles. Did you catch Anthony DePalma’s conversation at Book Fair last year?
Yes, I saw it online.
What about things you read as a child or teenager – is there any one book that sticks out for you?
Yeah, you can even say it like this: I got f—ed up real early. [laughs] I have a cousin that gave me a book called How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne, and when my high school history teacher saw me reading it she suggested I read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
Oh, God. Thanks high school teacher.[laughs] It took me about 10 years, 10 years to be deprogrammed.
Interview by Elisa Chemayne Agostinho.