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Our Favorite Florida Books for Summer Reading

Pull up a beach chair and dive into these 10 fiction favorites

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Page through the treasure trove of fiction set all or partly in Florida and you’ll see glimpses of humanity in all of its facets, from the fishing- captain-turned-smuggler of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not to the Bigtree family of alligator wrestlers invented by Miami native Karen Russell, in a debut novel that earned a 2011 Pulitzer Prize nomination.

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From Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne (1865)

From Earth to the Moon Amazon

Eerily ahead of its time, this prophetic sci-fi satire foretells of the space race 100 years before it happened, in the form of a group of Civil War veterans who decide to revive the military industry by shooting a cannon from Florida to the moon.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)

Their Eyes Were Watching God Amazon

Controversial when published, the story of an African-American woman looking for love and purpose in the all-black town of Eatonville is reconsidered a seminal work of American literature.

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To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (1937)

To Have and Have Not Amazon

Papa is at the height of his literary powers in this short novel that follows antihero fisherman-turned-smuggler Harry Morgan’s travails in Depression-era Key West.

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The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)

The Yearling Amazon

The childhood classic follows 10-year-old Jody Baxter as he grows up Cracker in post-Civil War Florida, and became the best selling novel of its time. The author’s home is now a historic Florida state park.

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Continental Drift by Russel Banks (1986)

Continental Drift Amazon

Like so many before them, a disenchanted New Englander and a Haitian refugee seek the American Dream in South Florida, with differing degrees of luck.

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Killing Mister Watson by Peter Matthiessen (1991)

Killing Mister Watson Amazon

This haunting tale set in the late-1800s Everglades traces the real Edgar “Bloody” Watson, a gentleman farmer and possible murderer himself.

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The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman (2005)

The Ice Queen Amazon

A small-town librarian is struck by lightning in this quiet novel, a cautionary tale to anyone who has dashed outside during a storm.

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Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen (2005)

Skinny Dip Amazon

What do a corrupt biologist, a champion swimmer, an ex-cop and a bale of marijuana have in common? Page-turning fun by Florida’s favorite humorist.

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Deep Shadow by Randy Wayne White (2010)

Deep Shadow Amazon

The crime novelist brings Doc Ford to Central Florida, where he runs into trouble while searching for a Cuban plane wreck.

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Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (2011)

Swamplandia! Amazon

An alligator-wrestling theme park in the Ten Thousand Islands comes on hard times in this quirky debut novel.

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