If you need book recs, we’ve got them! These Florida-based books, old and new, are great time-killers on those long summer days.


Zora Neale Hurston was an American author and portrayed the reality of racial struggles through her novels, the most famous of which being Their Eyes Were Watching God, regarded now as “perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.”

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, and has spent most of his life advocating for the protection of the Florida Everglades. He works with the Miami Herald by writing the newspaper’s weekly magazine and prize-winning investigations team. He writes thrilling Florida-based novels, like Tourist Season… perfect for beach reading.

Ernest Hemingway moved to Key West in 1931, and he wrote many of his most famous works there. Check out To Have and Have Not, which follows Harry Morgan – a fishing boat captain in Key West – as he navigates the Depression Era in Florida.


Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America’s most beguiling but least understood patches of land. The Swamp is the story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades.

In A Florida State of Mind: An Unnatural History of Our Weirdest State, James D. Wright tells stories about the witty history of our state: one that’s always in the news, for everything from alligator attacks to zany crimes.

For the Kids

Fred Koehler is an artist and storyteller whose real-life misadventures include sunken boats, shark encounters, and hurricanes. Whether free diving in the Gulf of Mexico or backpacking across Africa, Fred’s sense of adventure and awe of nature overflow into his characters’ stories.

Sarah McGuire is a nomadic math teacher and author. She writes fairy tales and fun fantasy and would be just fine if one day she opened a wardrobe and stumbled into another world. Titles include recently acclaimed The Flight of Swans… “A captivating adventure about power, memory, and love.” ~Booklist

Ida Mundell and Bump Galletta teamed up to write and illustrate Goodnight, Lakeland – a charming and rhyming children’s book that presents our town as a whimsical and wonderful place.


P.S. – If you’re looking to rent and return, the Lakeland Public Library hosts a Local Author Collection that compiles fiction, nonfiction and children’s book authors from the Central Florida area.