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Books, music, authors, food -- it's time for the 25th annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading. This week on Florida Matters we're talking with three of the authors that will be featured in the event, held Saturday November 11 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.


80 Books Missing From Dunedin Classroom After Irma

Sep 21, 2017
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A Dunedin teacher found an empty bookshelf when she returned to her classroom, which had served as a shelter for Hurricane Irma evacuees.

Florida takes its hits, from late-night TV jokes to, now, even a ranking as the worst state in the nation for a “staggeringly impressive” “awfulness resume,” according to the website Thrillist.

But for all the Flori-duh jokes (that we make, too, but we live here so it’s OK), this is an astonishingly large, diverse, beautiful, interesting and yeah, sometimes staggeringly awful place — and it has produced some remarkable works of literature.

A state that has places like Little Havana, Key West, Disney World and the "Redneck Riviera" is just begging to be written about in fiction. Several recent award-winning novels have been set in Florida, and that's the topic of an upcoming Florida Matters on WUSF 89.7.

In this preview,  Florida Matters' Robin Sussingham sat down with Dr. Julie Armstrong, an English professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and Colette Bancroft, the book editor at the Tampa Bay Times, to talk about the novel "Fates and Furies," by Lauren Groff.
 

M.S Butler

The Barnes and Noble at Brandon Town Center hosted a read-a-thon of the Harper Lee classic "To Kill a Mockingbird," on Monday.

The 12-hour reading event was held to celebrate and build anticipation for the long-awaited release of "Go Set a Watchman," an earlier version of  the original Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

Ninth-grade Hillsborough County English Teacher and part-time book store employee Amanda Marriott could barely contain her enthusiasm for the release of the new novel.

Welcome to the first meeting of the Morning Edition Reads book club! Here's how it's going to work: A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We'll all read it. Then, you'll send us your questions about the book. And about a month later, we'll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.

Ready? Here we go:

Remember the first time you felt really terrified — and liked it? "Being scared is like sex," Stephen King says. "There's nothing like your first time."

For a lot of readers, King's 1977 horror novel The Shining may have been their first fictional scare. "An awful lot of the people who read The Shining were like 14 years old, they were at summer camp, they read it under the covers with a flashlight on," King tells NPR's David Greene.

Harper's Magazine is publishing a story in its October issue by a promising young author named Ernest Hemingway.

"My Life in the Bull Ring with Donald Ogden Stewart," a five-page story about a socialite who comes face to horns with a bull, was written by Hem when he was just 25. It was rejected in 1924 by Vanity Fair magazine, whose editor, Frank Crowninshield, wrote, "With our regret ... we cannot use it, clever and amusing as it undoubtedly is," which is a phrase that's about as undoubtedly dry as a martini at the old Algonquin.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing and the occasional author behaving badly.

Book News: Zimmerman Juror Drops Book Plans

Jul 16, 2013

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

As a columnist for the Miami Herald and a prolific novelist of books such as Strip Tease, Lucky You and Star Island, Carl Hiaasen has a subject: Florida. Hiaasen grew up in the state during the 1950s and has lived and worked there his entire life, watching it morph from a rural backwater with abundant natural beauty and resources to one struggling with the effects of development and tourism.

In the late 1950s, after the Soviet Union successfully put their satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit, American fears over the Communist threat reached a new height. The U.S. was trailing badly in a competition that would come to define the next decade – the race to space.

So on April 9, 1959, the U.S. kicked off its own space age by introducing the country to its first astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven. Their story is well known, but the story of their wives is often overlooked.

Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You read it here first: Floridians buy a lot of books.

Last week, Amazon.com announced its third annual list of the Most Well-Read Cities in America. The unscientific ranking is based on per-capita book, magazine and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle formats.

Whether buyers actually read all those tomes or just use them as doorstops is anyone's guess. Still, with five Florida cities in the top 20, we'd like to think some of those words have sunken in.

Here's the list:

Dalia Colón / WUSF Public Media

Inkwood Books, one of Tampa Bay’s last remaining independent bookstores, will soon be under new ownership.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that Carla Jimenez and Leslie Reiner have sold the South Tampa bookstore to longtime customer Stefani Beddingfield. Financial terms were not disclosed for the sale, which takes effect April 1.