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Favorite Florida Books

Category: Authentic Florida Book Club
Posted by: Robin Draper on Sunday, April 7, 2013
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Each year, I ask Authentic Florida readers to share the titles of their favorite Florida books.  Certain beloved and cherished novels are recommended time and again.

It’s no surprise that the classics are loved by so many. A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith is still the most favored. This memorable story spans 110 years of Florida history and is told through three generations of the MacIvey pioneers. The book includes early cattle drives, the growth of citrus, the development of the railroad and the plight of the Seminole Indians and the Everglades.

But there are so many more to enjoy. This month, we feature The Barefoot Mailman a romantic adventure story of an 1880’s postal carrier who transports the mail on foot from Palm Beach to Miami, walking the beach in his bare feet.

I wanted to be sure you had the list of Authentic Florida Reader “Faves”, so when you are in search of a good book, or a summer read, you’ve got a good place to start. Again, these are your favorites.

Joyce Sparrow, Authentic Florida’s Guest Book Reviewer kindly compiled the lists based on your recommendations - separated by fiction and non-fiction - listed by author, along with a short description. These two lists are by no means comprehensive, but a good start for adding more to your library.

If you don’t see your favorite, be sure to message me and let me know which ones you recommend at Robin@AuthenticFlorida.com. We’ll add them to the list. Enjoy!

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Authentic Florida Reader Favorites: Fiction

(Alphabetically by Author)

Author

Title

Date

Summary

Robert Blaske

Calusa

2006

First in a series about Spanish expeditions in the southern states

(only available in e-book format)

Robert Blaske and Anna Wells

Queen of the Everglades

2006

Historical fiction about Laura Tillman and the Ashley Gang on Florida’s east coast (only available in e-book format)

Nina Cruz

Anna in the Tropics

2003

Drama set during the height of the Tampa cigar industry

Tim Dorsey

Florida Roadkill

1999

Comic con men exposing Florida’s foibles and stereotypes

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, edited by Kevin McCarthy

Nine Florida Stories

1990

Stories originally published in The Saturday Evening Post from 1920 – 1940.

Jean Craighead George

The Talking Earth

1983

Ecology fiction telling the contemporary story of a young Seminole girl in the Everglades

William Culyer Hall

The Trouble with Panthers

2010

Historical fiction about cattle ranching

Carl Hiassen

Tourist Season

1986

Brian Keyes, a reporter turned private eye, investigates murders in Miami

Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes were Watching God

1937

Classic Florida story featuring Janie Crawford who refuses to live in sorrow and poverty after three marriages.

Lois Lensky

Strawberry Girl

1945

Historical fiction about Florida farming

John D. MacDonald

Condominium

1977

Swindles and payoffs at the Gold Sands condominium complex

John D. MacDonald

Deep Blue Goodbye

1964

Travis McGee, private investigator in Fort Lauderdale

Peter Mattheissen

Bone by Bone

1999

Mister Watson’s story in his own voice

Peter Mattheissen

Killing Mister Watson

1990

Biographical fiction on the life of Edgar J. Watson, a real-life entrepreneur and outlaw who appeared in the Everglades in the 1900s

Peter Mattheissen

Lost Man’s River

1997

Waton’s son, Lucius, searches for the truth about his father’s death

Peter Mattheissen

Shadow Country

 

A new rendering of the Edgar J. Watson legend

David McCheyne Newell

If Nothin’ Don’t Happen

1974

A sample of Florida cracker tales from the Withlacoochee River area

Tom McGuane

Ninety-Two in the Shade

1973

Drug smuggling and fishing in the Florida Keys

Richard Powell

I Take this Land

1962

Panoramic view of life in Florida 1985-1946

Theodore Pratt

The Barefoot Mailman

1943

A 1880’s romantic adventure story set on Florida’s east coast

Theodore Pratt

The Flame Tree: Florida in the Fabulous Days of the Royal Poinciana Hotel

1950

Tale of the people who built a luxurious playground out of the isolated settlement called Palm Beach

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

South Moon Under

1933

A Cross Creek tale of Lant, a young man who supports his mother by selling moonshine

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The Yearling

1938

Florida farm life

Ann O’Connell Rust

The Floridians Series

1980-1990

Five novels set in 1865 central Florida

Sally Settle

In the Shadow of the Lone Cypress

2003

Historical fiction

Smith, Patrick

A Land Remembered

1984

Historical fiction

Robb White

The Lion’s Paw

1946

Adventures of three children sailing on Florida waters

Randy Wayne White

The Man Who Invented Florida

1993

Doc Ford, marine biologist

Robert Wilder

Bright Feather A Novel

1948

Pulp fiction set in Florida in 1830

Authentic Florida Reader Favorites: Non-Fiction

(Alphabetically by Author)

Author

Title

Date

Summary

Lars Anderson

Paynes Prairie: The Great Savanna A History and Guide

2004

Natural history

Mary Ida Bass Barber

Florida’s Frontier: The Way It Wuz

1991

An account of pioneer life and the cattle wars of the 1870s in central Florida

Cynthia Barnett

Mirage: Florida and the Vanishings Water of the Eastern U.S.

2007

Investigative journalism and environmental history of fresh water

William Bartram

Travels of William Bartram

1791

Journal entries from an American botanist and naturalist who embarked upon a solitary four-year journey

Bill Belleville

River of Lakes

2000

History of the St. Johns River

Bill Belleville

Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost and Found in the State of Dreams

2011

Natural History

Bobby Braddock

Dawn in Oburndale: A Songwriter’s Youth in Old Florida

2007

Successful country song writer remembers his Florida youth

Loren G. Brown

Totch: A Life in the Everglades

1993

Biography

Al Burt

Becalmed in the Mullet Latitudes: Al Burt’s Florida

1983

Social history

Al Burt

Tropic of Cracker

1993

Anecdotes about county living

Archie Carr

A Naturalist in Florida

1994

Natural history of Florida

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Everglades River of Grass

1947

Historical and environmental assessment of the Everglades

Federal Writers’ Project

The WPA Guide to Florida

1939

Florida in the 1930s

Michael Gannon

Florida A Short History

1993

Florida history

Howard Gauer

How to Win in Politics

1947

Classic book on politics

Michael Grunwald

The Swamp

2006

History of Everglades, social, political history 

Joe Hutto

Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season With the Wild Turkey

2006

Wild turkey hunting in Florida

Gloria Jahode

The Other Florida

1967

Description and travel around Florida

Jeff Klinkenberg

Seasons of Real Florida

2004

Collection of essays

Mary Linehan

Early Lantana, Her Neighbors, and More

1980

Biography

E. C. May

Gators, Skeeters & Malary

1953

Recollections of a pioneer Florida judge

John McPhee

Oranges

1967

A study of the Florida orange juice industry

John Miur

A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf

1916

Botany study from his journals

Frank Oppel and Tony Meisel

Tales of Old Florida

1987

Reprints of magazine articles originally published  1870-1911

Gary Mormino

Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams

2005

A social history of modern Florida

Susan Orleans

The Orchid Thief

1998

Details about the arrest of John Laroche, a renegade orchid dealer

Craig Pittman

The Scent of a Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid

2012

Details of the Florida orchid commerce

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Cross Creek

1942

Social and farm life in Cross Creek, Florida

Jack Rudloe

The Living Dock at Panacea

1977

Essence and wonders of aquatic life

Glen Simmons and Laura Ogden

 

Gladesmen: Gator Hunters, Moonshinters, and Skiffers

1998

Biography

John Kunkel Small

From Eden to Sahara: Florida’s Tragedy

2004

Botanic history of Florida

Les Standiford

Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Ride and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed the Ocean

2002

Construction and demise of the Key West Railroad

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Palmetto Leaves

1873

Description and travel in the St. Johns River area

Charlton W. Tebeau

Florida’s Last Frontier: The History of Collier County

1967

The legacy of the Collier family

Jim Bob Tinsely

Florida Cow Hunter: The Life and Times of Bone Mizell

 

Cowboy and cattle trade in De Soto County

Gilbert Tucker

Before the Timber was Cut: Life and Memories of a Florida Cracker

1999

Biography


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1 comments on "Favorite Florida Books"

Robin Draper on June 12, 2017 said:
Florida Enchantments, In the Florida Wilds, A Yank Pioneer in Florida, Across The Everglades.......

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