Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Monday, April 10, 2017

Reading Road Trip ... Florida

Florida...long before Portland, Oregon embraced the mantle of weird, Florida seemed to be the source of all the weird news. For me Florida means the Space Coast and the home owned by my parents' friends, Les and Mary Gross, Miami Vice, and Disney World.

I'm not a fan of the Disney brand and I share that opinion with my favorite Florida-based writer, Carl Hiaasen. I've been a fan since Tourist Season (after living in Honolulu for a year, I'm not that fond of tourists) and particularly loved Native Tongue.  I also highly recommend the fantastical novel Swamplandia, tom Dorsey's Florida Roadkill, which I picked up because of the flamingo on the cover. (Flamingos say "Florida" to me, whether it's the actual birds of plastic pink flamingos in a trailer park.)

Other great books set in Florida include Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch,  Jennine Capo Crucet's collection of short stories, How to Leave Hialeah, Charles Willeford's Miami Blues, Joan Didion's Miami, and Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie.

I know that everybody always mentions The Yearling in lists of books set in Florida, but I never read that. Nor did I ever read Where the Red Fern Grows. I read enough sad animal stories as a kid to last me a lifetime. Old Yeller???? I bawled for days. And I wasn't the only one. My grandfather had to kill a dog when he turned on my father and it put my dad off pets for life.