Books for every type of reader


Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.

Chock-full of history, environmental inspiration and native storytellers, Florida has quite a bit to offer when it comes to books.

The University Press of Florida has released dozens of new titles this season with something for every type of reader, whether your book lover is a chef, a nature enthusiast or a history buff.

As the official publisher of the State University System, the Gainesville-based University Press of Florida offers an array of academic studies and essay collections as well as books for general readers. The press' book selection covers Florida and Southeastern history, culture, literature, gardening, sports and more.

Here is a partial list of books published by the University Press of Florida and available in book stores and online at www.upf.com:

"Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans" ($28, Hardcover)

By Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand and Heather McPherson

Florida offers more to savor than seafood and citrus. Name an ingredient and you're likely to find it here. To research "Field to Feast," the authors traveled thousands of miles, tasting the freshest ingredients they could find. They found world-famous chefs who eagerly shared their best recipes. Pam Brandon is a food and travel writer and a managing editor of Edible Orlando magazine who has written numerous books. Katie Farmand is a food stylist, an Orlando-based recipe developer and an editor of Edible Orlando magazine. Heather McPherson, past president of the Association of Food Journalists, is a food editor and restaurant critic for the Orlando Sentinel.

"Redheads Die Quickly and Other Stories" ($19.95, Paperback)

By Gil Brewer, edited by David Rachels

Brewer (1922–83), a second-generation noir writer, spent most of his life in the Tampa Bay area, where he also set most of his fiction. He published more than 100 short stories and 50 novels, including "A Taste for Sin," "Satan is a Woman" and "The Girl from Hateville." He is known for his everyday characters — often underdogs, frequently downtrodden and desperate to get ahead in life — who ultimately succumb to their own weaknesses and desires.

David Rachels has sifted through the Brewer papers at the University of Wyoming, thumbed through thousands of publications and tracked down rare pulp magazines on eBay to create the first-ever authoritative list of Brewer's short stories, with the best featured in a single volume. Gil Brewer was among the most popular noir writers of the 1950s.

"Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock" ($27.50, Hardcover)

By Bob Kealing

Known as the father of country rock, Gram Parsons played with the International Submarine Band, The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. In the late 1960s and early '70s, he was a key confidante of Keith Richards. In 1972, he gave Emmylou Harris her first big break.

When Tom Petty reformed his Florida garage band Mudcrutch, he invoked the name of Gram Parsons as an inspiration. Unfortunately, his many musical accomplishments have been overshadowed by a morbid fascination with his drug overdose in the Joshua Tree desert at the age of 26.

In "Calling Me Home," Kealing traces the arc of Parsons' career, emphasizing his southern roots. Drawing on dozens of new interviews as well as rare letters and photographs provided by Parsons's family and legendary photojournalist Ted Polumbaum, Kealing uncovers facts that even the most stalwart Parsons fans will find revealing.

"Weeki Wachee Mermaids: Thirty Years of Underwater Photography" ($29.95, Hardcover)

By Lu Vickers and Bonnie Geordiadis

Located about 45 miles north of Tampa, Weeki Wachee has been featured in major motion pictures and visited by astronauts, movie stars and Elvis Presley. They came to see the famous mermaids — in actuality, highly trained swimmers and divers.

"Weeki Wachee Mermaids" features rare, never-before-published vintage photographs, postcards and publicity shots taken over a 30-year period, starting with the first performance in 1947 and ending with the extravagant "underwater Broadway" shows created by the corporate owners of ABC-TV.

Vickers' accompanying text retraces the origins of the attraction, particularly the ways that entrepreneur and underwater photography pioneer Newt Perry set Weeki Wachee apart from other springs in Florida.

"Digging Miami" ($29, Hardcover)

By Robert S. Carr

In "Digging Miami," Carr traces the rich 11,000-year human heritage of the Miami area from its first inhabitants through the arrival of European settlers and up to the early 20th century.

Carr was Miami-Dade County's first archaeologist, later historic preservation director, and held the position at a time when redevelopment efforts unearthed dozens of impressive archaeological sites, including the Cutler Site, discovered in 1985, and the controversial Miami Circle, found in 1998. The book is a unique anatomy of this fascinating city, dispelling the myth that its history is merely a century old.

"Corals of Florida and the Caribbean" ($24.95, Paperback)

By George F. Warner

Presenting a stunning array of beauty and biodiversity, the coral reefs of Florida and the Caribbean are part playground, part research lab for the thousands of tourists, divers and marine scientists who visit them every year. Documenting the wide variety of corals at home in the warm waters of the Caribbean, "Corals of Florida and the Caribbean" provides an easy-to-use (and carry) guidebook that is both scientifically accurate and reader-friendly.

Written for the amateur naturalist, this handbook travels well throughout the Caribbean — from Florida south to Belize, east to Tobago and all points in between.

"Homegrown in Florida" ($24.95, Hardcover)

Edited by William McKeen

During a recent reunion, writers McKeen, Tim Dorsey and Jeff Klinkenberg found themselves lamenting that so many of their childhood memories were fading away. For them, and for many, Florida is not just a place people go to; it's where they come from.

That can mean many things to many people, as the stellar cast of writers, journalists and musicians eloquently reveal in "Homegrown in Florida." This utterly satisfying and powerful anthology aims at the heart of the glories of childhood and the pain of growing up. Both a celebration of the exotic, untamed wilderness of a youth filled with moss-draped oaks and citrus fields, evergreen winters and palmetto fronds, and a reminder that innocence often gave way to experience as bike paths became private developments and swimming holes were paved over by interstates, "Homegrown in Florida" is filled with tears and laughter alike.

Featuring contributions from Carl Hiaasen, Tom Petty, Zora Neale Hurston, Michael Connelly and many more, this is a book for every child of old Florida — and every child at heart.

Mckeen is the author of nine books, including "Mile Marker Zero," "Outlaw Journalist," "Highway 61" and "Rock and Roll is Here to Stay." He teaches at Boston University, where he chairs the Department of Journalism.

"The Saltwater Angler's Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida" ($22.50, Paperback)

By Tommy L. Thompson

Thompson's "The Saltwater Angler's Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida" is the one-stop shop for all of the information you need on saltwater fishing along the Gulf of Mexico below the panhandle.

Thompson, an experienced saltwater fishing guide, provides GPS coordinates for the best "hot spots" from Tarpon Springs to Marco Island, and he highlights how to catch the game fish unique to each area. This detailed guide covers every step of the process, from where to launch your boat to what rods to use to get the very best catches to restaurants and hotels where you can rest your weary sea legs when you finally decide to head back to shore.

"Everglades Patrol" ($29.95, Hardcover)

By Tom Shirley

As law enforcement officer and game manager for the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Lt. Shirley was the law in one of the last true frontiers in the nation — the Florida Everglades.

In "Everglades Patrol," Shirley shares the stories from his beat — an ecosystem larger than the state of Rhode Island. His vivid narrative includes dangerous tales of rogue gladesmen, gators and airboat chases through the wetlands in search of illegal hunters and moonshiners.

Tom Shirley is an active advocate for the protection and restoration of the Everglades wetlands to its original ecosystem and for acknowledgment of the gladesmen's "traditional use" rights. In 1999, he received the "Francis S. Taylor Outdoorsman of the Year Award" for his efforts to conserve and protect the Everglades.

"The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story" ($26.95, Hardcover)

By Kathleen Kaska

Millions of people know a little bit about efforts to save the whooping crane, but few realize that in the spring of 1941 the population of these magnificent birds had reached an all-time low of 15. Written off as a species destined for extinction, the whooping crane has made a slow but unbelievable comeback over the last seven decades.

This recovery would have been impossible if not for the efforts of Robert Porter Allen, an ornithologist with the National Audubon Society, whose courageous eight-year crusade to find the only remaining whooping crane nesting site in North America garnered nationwide media coverage. His search and his impassioned lectures about over-development, habitat loss and unregulated hunting triggered a media blitz that had thousands of residents on the lookout for the birds during their migratory trips.

Allen's tireless efforts changed the course of U.S. environmental history and helped lead to the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973.

"Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space" ($29.95, Hardcover)

By John W. Young with James R. Hansen

He walked on the moon. He flew six space missions in three different programs — more than anyone else. He served with NASA for more than four decades. His peers called him the "astronaut's astronaut."

Young, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian Hansen, recounts the great episodes of his amazing flying career in fascinating detail and with wry humor. He reveals astronauts as ordinary human beings and NASA as an institution with the same ups and downs as other major bureaucracies.

"Tango Nuevo" ($24.95, Hardcover)

By Carolyn Merritt

The Argentine tango is one of the world's best-known partner dances. Though tango is much admired and discussed, very little has been written on its ongoing evolution. In this innovative work, Merritt surveys tango history while focusing on the most recent iteration of the dance, tango nuevo, and the práctica scene that has exploded in Buenos Aires since the early 2000s.

Combining sensuous prose, provocative images and often heartbreaking stories, this book takes an unflinching look at the complex motivations driving the pursuit to master this intricate dance.

"The Life and Times of Mary Musgrove" ($34.95, Hardcover)

By Steven C. Hahn

As a literate Christian, entrepreneur and wife of an Anglican clergyman, Mary Musgrove was one of a small number of "mixed blood" Native Americans to achieve a position of prominence among English colonists. Born to a Creek mother and an English father, Mary's bicultural heritage prepared her for an eventful adulthood spent in the rough-and-tumble world of Colonial Georgia Indian affairs. Active in diplomacy, trade and politics — affairs typically dominated by men— Mary worked as an interpreter between the Creek Indians and the colonists — although some argue that she did so for her own gains, altering translations to sway transactions in her favor.

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