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APRIL 2014
Welcome!

The Florida Book Review features reviews of books with Florida settings or subjects, as well as interviews and essays about Florida's literary scene.

Come in and sample our reviews and features.  Read the blog.  And visit again soon!  If you'd like to join our mailing list click here

Congratulations to the Winners of the Florida Book Awards
 
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Click on titles to read FBR's reviews of some of the winning books:BiscuitJointDKirby.jpg
 
Deceived, by Randy Wayne White (Gold Medal, General Fiction)
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Heart of Palm, by Laura Lee Smith (Silver Medal, General Fiction)
 
The Biscuit Joint, by David Kirby (Silver Medal, Poetry)
 
 

FindingFountainYouthcover.jpgA complete list of this year's Florida Book Award Winners is on our Blog page.

FBR Reports:

 
Louis K. Lowy reports from SleuthFest 2014 in Orlando, from "The Plot Thickens" to "Why I Write About Him/Her/Them."
 
 
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Ed Irvin interviews James Patterson about writing bestsellers, supporting bookstores, and teaching kids to love reading, on our blog.  
 
 
 
James Patterson signing at Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore in Delray Beach.
(Photo: Ed Irvin)

TheirEyesCover.jpgThe Parallax Effect:
Three Ways of Looking at Their Eyes Were Watching God

 
 
 
 
Julie Marie Wade on Zora Neale Hurston, the nature of reading, and how very differently one reader can view the same book over time.
 
 
 

New:

What's New in Florida Fiction
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Ed Irvin says, "The Heaven of Animals is a deeply evocative masterpiece..." Read his review of David James Poissant's story collection on our Fiction page.
 
 
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"Drew Perry’s novel Kids These Days chronicles the progress of a pregnancy, and it compounds the feelings of disorientation and disembodiment by making the surrounding action just as surreal, or even more so. With Florida as the farcical backdrop," Bob Morison says in his review on our Fiction page.

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Jennifer Maritza McCauley reviews Cristina García’s latest novel, King of Cuba, which "pits the Castro-like character 'El Comandante' against Goyo, an elderly émigré living in Miami." Read her review on our Fiction page.

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In her second novel, Susanna Daniel returns to Stiltsville, where she "unwinds a story of the consequences of carelessness and the legacy of unintentional neglect," Pamela Akins says in her review of Sea Creatures on our Fiction page.
New Florida Crime Writing
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Ed Irvin on Murder With Ganache, Lucy Burdette's fourth Key West Food Critic mystery, and how versimilitude about family relationships helps a cozy.  Read the review.

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"Serge is crueller—and funnier—than ever," Ed Irvin says of Tim Dorsey's vigilante serial killer Serge A. Storms, back for another adventure in Tiger Shrimp Tango. Read the review here.
 

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Ed Irvin reviews Blood Tattoo, Jude Hardin's fifth Nicolas Colt thriller.  This time, "Nicholas Colt, guitar teacher, is just your average suburban husband and father. Until a call interrupts Sunday breakfast and gets the ball rolling..."

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Thorn is back facing an environmental threat, a son he didn't know he had, and the challenges of time. Is he still as badass as ever? Read Ed Irvin's review.
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In Silent City, Alex Segura "uses the dark corners and alleyways of Miami, untouched by the neon of South Beach, to create a criminal's playground," Ed Irvin writes. Read his review here.

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Dina Weinstein takes a look at Robert Kimmel Smith's 1976 novel, Sadie Shapiro in Miami, and finds those Florida crime staples, comically wacky building schemes and swindlers, but the book's real strength is its "timelessly funny and refreshing protagonist," Sadie Shapiro, "an unlikely geriatric celebrity." Read this Florida Book Review Reconsideration our Florida Crime Writing page.

Our annual blog of Miami Book Fair International
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Our FBR team blogged Miami Book Fair International, including the Festival of Authors and Street Fair in downtown Miami. Our reports from the Fair are posted on our 2013 Book Fair Blog page.
 
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View from above of Miami Book Fair International 2013. (Photo: Jan Becker)
 

Post-Apocalyptic Florida, Fifties Style, a Classic Florida Read


  More Info

Frank Tota reconsiders Pat Frank's vision of post-apocalyptic Florida in his 1959 novel Alas, Babylon here.

On Our Tales & Legends Page



Read Jamie May's review of Fearsome Florida Creatures here.

On Our Children's Page
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Louis K. Lowy reviews the children's Florida history novel Kidnapped in Key West here.

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 Florida Literary History:

 

A Poet's Escape: The Key West Idyll (and Turmoil) of Wallace Stevens

 

An FBR feature by Dariel Suarez

From the FBR Archives:

HemingwayKW.jpgRead FBR Reports, live-blogging and reporting from Florida's literary fairs and festivals:

The FBR Staff archived live-blogs of Miami Book Fair International 2011 is here, and  MBFI 2010, and 2009, 2008 and 2007.

Esther Martinez reports from Ybor City on Deep Carnivale 2008 and 2009

P. Scott Cunningham is a Young Man in A Sea of Look-Alikes at Hemingway Days Festival 2007

On Our Poetry Page
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"David Kirby is an impossible mathematician in his own right, adding characters, facts, and events by the handful into a single poem, and somehow making it equal success." Marci Calabretta reviews David Kirby's A Wilderness of Monkeys.

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 Our reviewer Leslie Taylor says Kristine Snodgrass's first book, The War on Pants, "reads like a collection of poems from a dystopian future."
 

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Guillermo Cancio-Bello finds that Jen Karetnick's Landscaping for Wildlife puts Florida's "wildness into form." Read his review here.
 

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Julie Marie Wade reviews Stephen S. Mills' He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices, winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Poetry, and finds in it "the peculiar, the unextected, the contemporary poet in a necessary conversation with the ever-present past."

On Our Nonfiction Page...

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Ed Irvin says Carl Hiaasen's latest collection of columns, Dance of the Reptiles: Rampaging Tourists, Marauding Pythons, Larcenous Legislators, Crazed Celebrities, and Tar-Balled Beaches, is "equal parts funny, sad, and enraging." Read the review on our Nonfiction page.

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"Waddell has the reporter's eye for odd detail (even among an abundance of oddity) and the reporter's knack for getting people with underground stories to tell them anyway," says Bob Morison of Lynn Waddell's Fringe Florida: Travels among Mud Boggers, Furries, Ufologists, Nudists, and Other Lovers of Unconventional Lifestyles. Read the review on our Nonfiction page.

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Paul Christiansen reviews the most recent issues of The Southeast Review and Saw Palm. Check out our listings of Florida presses and literary journals.

On Our Young Adult Page
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Guillermo Cancio-Bello says William Durbin's middle-grade novel El Lector, set in 1930s Ybor City, will appeal to any readers "who wish to lose themselves in a heroic tale." Read his review on our Young Adult page.

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Louis K. Lowy reviews Olivia Brophie and the Sky Island, and finds this second installment of Christopher Tozier's middle grade series is "an even more rousing adventure." Read his review on our Young Adult page.

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Ashley M. Jones says that Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker takes the reader on a "fiery, emotional ride."  Read more on our Young Adult page.

Moving to Miami: Classic YA
 
irving.jpgIrving and Me, published in 1967, was written by New Yorker cartoonist and popular writer for young people Syd Hoff. Sally.jpg1977 marked the debut of Judy Blume's Starring Sally Friedman as Herself. Both authors were themselves transplants to Florida, and their books tell the stories of young people uprooted to Miami. 
 
 
Dina Weinstein (a transplant, too) reconsiders these two Young Adult books on our Classic Florida Reads page.

Florida Politics: Always a Brawl?
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Dawn S. Davis reviews The Reluctant Republican, a memoir about what happens to "an idealistic, yet reasonable person who finds herself immersed in the smarmy, sleight of hand world of politics,"on our Florida Politics page.
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Bob Morison reviews Walkin' Lawton, the story of the little-known politician who walked the length of the state and became Senator and Governor, on our Florida Politics page.
 
On Our Environment Page

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D.S. Davies "Until recently . . . believed there were more obstacles than opportunities in Florida vegetable gardening." She reviews Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida on our Environment page.

On Our Florida History Page

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In Finding the Fountain of Youth, Rick Kilby compiles his finds "from historical facts about the state's development, to vintage brochures, postcards, and archival photographs of 'tourist traps,'" to document how Florida's allure was built on the myth of rejuvenation.  Read Marci Calabretta's review here.

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Reading Robert S. Carr's Digging Miami, Jan Becker says she became aware of "how vulnerable the relics of the past are to modernity's machinery" and how we "walk on ground that has been tread on for more than ten thousand years." Read her review here.

On our Florida Travel Page

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For those exploring Florida or armchair traveling, Marci Calabretta reviews Forts of Florida: A Guidebook on our Travel Page.

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 Lynne Barrett reviews Finding Home, A Memoir of A Mother's Undying Love and An Untold Secret, the story of the too-short life and possibly sports-related death of All-American pitcher Ramiro "Toti" Mendez.

On Our Food & Drink Page

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Cheers! Bob Morison reviews To Have and Have Another: a Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene.
 

On Our Environment Page

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Jan Becker reviews Native Wildflowers and Other Groundcovers for Florida Landscapes, a guide to finding what's native in "a land of transplants" on our Environment page.

FBR FEATURES:

American History,PrangEd1893ColumbusTakingPossession.jpg

Florida Style

Memoir by Dan Wakefield

Tennessee Williams in Key West
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 Join Pulitzer Prize winner Madeleine Blais as she takes us on her journey to the Key West of the late 70s to meet the playwright in her essay "Do You Want to See My Shrine?"
                  

Florida's Literary Landmarks Features
 
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Dariel Suarez tracks down the Floridastephen_crane.jpg adventures of  José Martí
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

PortraitofVLR.jpgThe Search for Florida's Forgotten Poet Laureate
 
 
Read Antolin Garcia Carbonell's Feature on Vivian Laramore Rader
 
 
 

JDM.jpgRereading John D. MacDonald

Keith Ferrell's "Memories of MacDonald, Memories of MacDonald's McGee"


Lynne Barrett reconsiders Pleasure Was My Business, by Florida's sultry Madam Sherry—whose book stirred things up as far away as Egypt...

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