The Florida Book Review features reviews of books with Florida settings or subjects, as well as event coverage and essays about Florida's literary history.
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FBR Feature: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Palmetto-Leaves
Novelist Mary Anna Evans looks at Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential 1873 book Palmetto-Leaves, which grew from essays written after her post-Civil War acquisition of a winter home in Mandarin.
The book became an "early, important example of Florida narratives urging people to 'Come on down!'” while today standing as a record of the wilderness she fell in love with, before the influx arrived.
As Evans writes, Stowe "was careful not to promise unadulterated paradise, saying that 'Florida, like a piece of embroidery, has two sides to it—one side all tag-rag and thrums, without order or position; and the other side showing flowers and arabesques and brilliant coloring.'"
Read our latest feature: "The book of Nature here is never shut": A Reconsideration of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Palmetto-Leaves.
Check out FBR's reviews of award-winning Florida fiction:
Florida Crime Fiction
Catch up with more Florida mysteries on our Crime writing page.
Classic Florida Crime
Florida Classic Science Fiction: Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys
Post-Apocalyptic Florida, Fifties Style
Classic Florida Memoirs
Moving to Miami: Classic YA
From the Seventies: Schemers and a Geriatric Sleuth, a Classic Florida Read
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.
Of Steve Lambert's poetry collection, Connor Nelson writes, "Heat Seekers is the dirt underneath the fingernail of Florida—people you look past at the gas station, shady street corner business you pretend not to notice, the insect comfortable on your motel room ceiling, death—and, like a Floridian, these poems don’t mind showing a little skin." Read the review on our Poetry page.
On our Nature & Environment Page
On our Children's Books Page
"Beautifully illustrated and fun-filled, Gator Dad tells the story of a stay-at-home dad with three young children," writes our reviewer, Jaimie Eubanks of this book from stay-at-home dad and award- winning author and illustrator Brian Lies. Read the review.
Florida Young Adult Fiction
Special Feature: Kerouac's Orlanda Blues
Of Jack Kerouac's two periods living in Florida, "The first stint, in Orlando, stretching between 1957-58, was incredibly productive though relatively unknown," writes Ariel Francisco, who finds clues in Orlanda Blues, a section of Kerouac's Book of Blues. Read our feature here.
Above: The cottage in Orlando where Kerouac and his mother rented rooms in the back. Today the restored house is the site of The Kerouac Project, which runs writers' residencies and other programs in Central Florida.
A Land Remembered: A Reconsideration
Patrick D. Smith's novel A Land Remembered has become a beloved classic, taught in Florida schools. After reading it for the first time, Pamela Akins says, "every newcomer to the Sunshine State should read this 1984 action-packed saga of the taming of the Florida frontier. It not only offers a glimpse of what has come before, but what we are fast losing." Read more on our Classic Florida Reads page.