Celebrating the Sunshine State's Unique Treasures


Florida Books

Category: More Florida Books
Posted by: Robin Draper on Thursday, September 19, 2013

Looking for some new Florida books? Authentic Florida's book reviewer, Joyce Sparrow, shares three more reads - all featuring the sunshine state. Authors Philip Caputo, Bill DeYoung, Edward & Deborah Higgins tell stories of Florida road trips, the tragedy surrounding the Sunshine Skyway bridge collapse and 25 Florida kayak destinations you don't want to miss. 

Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Artic Ocean

by Philip Caputo

Everyone can benefit from a good road trip book - especially one that features Florida. Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Caputo has written The Longest Road Overland in Search of America from Key West to the Arctic Ocean. In 2011, Caputo and his wife leased an Airstream trailer named Ethel, as a companion to his truck called Fred, driving 16,000 miles with their two English Setters from the Key West's Mile Marker Zero to Deadhorse, Alaska. The plan was hatched when Caputo was in Alaska on a hunting and fishing expedition in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge waiting for a bush plane to return to Deadhorse. In that moment, his thoughts flashed to another island, Key West, where he lived in the seventies and eighties.

In the book, it wasn’t the writer's intention to take the pulse of the nation, but rather to see what holds the country together. The road rule was:  avoid interstates at all times. Caputo talked with many individuals along the trip. In the Keys he meets a couple who sold their five bedroom house in Huntington, West Virginia when the job market crashed. The couple walked all the way to Key West to "minister" to the addicted. Caputo sprinkles his book with various commentaries such as the superiority of café con leche in the Keys while traveling to Boca Chica, Everglades City, Chokoloskee, through Naples to Tampa - only to find themselves at La Teresita, an exceptional Cuban eatery. They continue up the west coast to Yankeetown and Cedar Key and then to Tallahassee. Caputo creatively weaves the travel tales with the expected mishaps and challenges of traveling with his wife and their two loyal dogs.

Skyway The True Story of Tampa Bay’s Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down

by Bill DeYoung

Pinellas County native, Bill De Young wrote a creative nonfiction work examining the May 9, 1980 weather event and navigational accident that resulted in the vessel, Summit Venture bringing down a section of the fifteen mile Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The catastrophe sadly resulted in 35 deaths and lifelong legal entanglements and self-reproach for deputy harbor pilot John Lerro. DeYoung cites newspaper articles, court transcripts, and personal interviews, piecing together the circumstances surrounding the Skyway's demise. The author will appear at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on October 26, 2013 on the USF St. Petersburg campus. For more details go to http://www.festivalofreading.com/

Paddles in Paradise

by Edward and Deborah Higgins

Paddles in Paradise is a southwest Florida recreational kayaking destination guide. The Higgins provide GPS coordinates for each of the 25 locations identified for novice and experienced travelers, but all the driving directions begin in Punta Gorda. Color photographs and maps are included for each site. Paddlers learn about areas as far north as Weeki Wachee Springs. As an extra bonus, hearty watering holes and restaurant recommendations are included. The essence of Paddles in Paradise is its spirit. The Higgins’ are leisurely paddlers who just enjoy the beauty of natural Florida from a quieter path - often dotted with alligators.

Joyce Sparrow writes “Florida Reads” the book review column for the Florida Library Association’s publication, Florida Libraries. She also publishes book reviews in Library Journal. Contact Joyce at ReadFlorida@gmail.com.

In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials, the books reviewed on Authentic Florida are provided at no cost by the guest contributor and this website does not receive compensation for the reviews. 

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