The best books for Florida-philes

Bruce Hunt Author Of Visiting Small-Town Florida
By Bruce Hunt

Who am I?

Bruce Hunt is a native Floridian writer and photographer. He has authored eleven Florida travel and history books, and over the last three decades has written and photographed hundreds of articles for magazines and newspapers. For five years he was a regular feature writer and photographer for DuPont Registry Tampa Bay Magazine. His work has also appeared in The St. Petersburg Times (Tampa Bay Times), Tampa Tribune, The Visit Tampa Bay Official Visitors Guide, Backpacker Magazine, Rock & Ice Magazine, Skydiving Magazine, Florida Trend Magazine, Celebrity Car Magazine, Coastal Living Magazine, and Southern Living Magazine, among others.


I wrote...

Visiting Small-Town Florida

By Bruce Hunt,

Book cover of Visiting Small-Town Florida

What is my book about?

This 4th Edition of the Visiting Small-Town Florida travel guide features 79 charming, eclectic, and historic towns, tiny villages, and crossroads. Readers can tour historic districts, museums, galleries, and antique shops, and find quaint lodging, great local-cuisine diners, and hole-in-the-wall bar-and-grills. They can also learn about each town’s history and meet a few of the endearing characters that live in these places.

Simultaneously a guide book, history book, and travelogue, Visiting Small-Town Florida, 4th Edition lets the reader experience the flavor of Florida’s back road burgs, while having all the pertinent visitor information at their fingertips.

The books I picked & why

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The Everglades: River of Grass

By Marjory Stoneman Douglas,

Book cover of The Everglades: River of Grass

Why this book?

Miami Herald columnist and author Marjory Stoneman Douglas can rightfully be described as the woman who saved the Everglades. The Everglades: River of Grass was published in 1947, the same year Everglades National Park opened. For over fifty years Douglas fought tirelessly against human encroachment on the Everglades and devoted nearly all her time to explain how vital it was to the entire state of Florida. In the 1960s (while in her late seventies) she became involved with the Audubon Society of Miami’s efforts to halt the building of an international airport in the Everglades. She also formed the Friends of the Everglades, an organization that is still today one of the most powerful voices for the area’s preservation. Proving that good people do not always die young, Marjory Stoneman Douglas passed away in 1998 at the age of 108.

The Everglades: River of Grass

By Marjory Stoneman Douglas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Everglades as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before 1947, when Marjory Stoneman Douglas named The Everglades a "river of grass," most people considered the area worthless. She brought the world's attention to the need to preserve The Everglades. In the Afterword, Michael Grunwald tells us what has happened to them since then. Grunwald points out that in 1947 the government was in the midst of establishing the Everglades National Park and turning loose the Army Corps of Engineers to control floods--both of which seemed like saviors for the Glades. But neither turned out to be the answer. Working from the research he did for his book, The…


The Wilder Heart of Florida

By Jack E. Davis (editor), Leslie K. Poole (editor),

Book cover of The Wilder Heart of Florida

Why this book?

The Wilder Heart of Florida is a marvelous collection of essays on wild and natural Florida, selected and edited by Dr. Leslie Poole, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and History at Rollins College, and Dr. Jack Davis, Professor of History at the University of Florida. It is a second volume to the renowned 1999 The Wild Heart of Florida, and features insightful chapters penned by experts on real Florida, like Cynthia Barnett, Lauren Groff, Totch Brown, Lars Anderson, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Clay Henderson, as well as Jack Davis, and Leslie Poole, among others.

The Wilder Heart of Florida

By Jack E. Davis (editor), Leslie K. Poole (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wilder Heart of Florida as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fall under the spell of Florida's natural environment

In this captivating collection, Florida's most notable authors, poets, and environmentalists take readers on a journey through the natural wonders of the state. Continuing in the legacy of the beloved classic The Wild Heart of Florida, this book features thirty-four pieces by a new slate of well-known and emerging writers.

In these pages, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Groff describes the beauty of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Environmental writer Cynthia Barnett listens to seashells on Sanibel Island. Legendary journalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas records the sights and sounds of the Everglades…


Cross Creek

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,

Book cover of Cross Creek

Why this book?

Marjorie Rawlings is best known for The Yearling, but her autobiographical Cross Creek paints a vivid picture of rural north/central Florida in the 1920s and 1930s. It describes both her hard-scrabble life and her endearing connections to the people who live in the quiet back-woods hamlet of Cross Creek. Remarkably, even today this area is sparsely populated. Rawlings’ circa-1890 home and the surrounding property are now the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site.

Cross Creek

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cross Creek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cross Creek is the warm and delightful memoir about the life of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings—author of The Yearling—in the Florida backcountry.

Originally published in 1942, Cross Creek has become a classic in modern American literature. For the millions of readers raised on The Yearling, here is the story of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's experiences in the remote Florida hamlet of Cross Creek, where she lived for thirteen years. From the daily labors of managing a seventy-two-acre orange grove to bouts with runaway pigs and a succession of unruly farmhands, Rawlings describes her life at the Creek with humor and spirit. Her…


Mile Marker Zero: The Moveable Feast of Key West

By William McKeen,

Book cover of Mile Marker Zero: The Moveable Feast of Key West

Why this book?

William McKeen’s account of the evolution of 1960s–1970s Key West reads like a novel. Based largely on his interviews with Tom Corcoran (who was there then and knew everybody), McKeen tells the wild tales of some of Key West’s most eccentric and now famous characters from that era, like Tennessee Williams, Thomas McGuane, Margot Kidder, Jim Harrison, Hunter Thompson, and Jimmy Buffett.

Mile Marker Zero: The Moveable Feast of Key West

By William McKeen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mile Marker Zero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Hemingway and Fitzgerald, there was Paris in the twenties. For others, later, there was Greenwich Village, Big Sur, and Woodstock. But for an even later generation-one defined by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Tom McGuane, and Hunter S. Thompson-there was another moveable feast: KeyWest, Florida.

The small town on the two-by-four-mile island has long been an artistic haven, a wild refuge for people of all persuasions, and the inspirational home for a league of great American writers. Some of the artists went there to be literary he-men. Some went to re-create themselves. Others just went to disappear-and succeeded. No…


Florida Place Names: Alachua to Zolfo Springs

By Allen Morris,

Book cover of Florida Place Names: Alachua to Zolfo Springs

Why this book?

Allen Morris’s compilation of Florida places, by name, tells the stories of each—the origin of their names, their histories, and who settled them. It was published in 1995 but all the information is just as current today. It is a fascinating read and has been an invaluable history research tool for every one of my Florida books.

Florida Place Names: Alachua to Zolfo Springs

By Allen Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Florida Place Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many names of Florida places evoke fantastic images: Caloosahatchee, Okeechobee, Loxahatchee, Everglades, Miami—to mention only a few. Did you know that Florida's places were often named to honor prominent local citizens such as postmasters, landowners, or war heroes? Jacksonville, for example, was named for Florida's first American governor, Andrew Jackson. Later the state's interest in attracting new residents produced names that suggested pleasant places to live, such as Belle Glade and Avon-by-the-Sea. From Alachua (from the Seminole for "jug") to Zolfo Springs (from the Italian for "sulphur"), Florida Place Names delights and educates with a rich and varied offering of…


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