• Florida's Adventure Coast

Nine Holiday Gift Books for the Florida Reader

Do you need ideas for the book lover in your life? We’ve selected nine holiday gifts that will help you check off your shopping list. You may even want to buy a few for yourself to begin the New Year.

But why not further your love and passion for Florida? We’ve covered every topic from Florida history to nature, food to walking tours, children, a gripping mystery, and even – an iconic “must have” book that should be in everyone’s authentic library.

Take a look, add a few of these books to your holiday list and enjoy the season while learning more about our beloved Florida.

Walking St. Augustine: An Illustrated Guide and Pocket History to America’s Oldest City, Elsbeth “Buff” Gordon

With this vibrantly rendered, easy-to-use, and color-coded guide, visitors will discover the remarkable history of this oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the continental United States. Walking St. Augustine fuses illustrated history and intimate handbook. The author, Elsbeth “Buff” Gordon, one of the city’s most highly regarded historians, is also a resident and offers insider tips for exciting adventures. She vividly retells landmark events, highlights areas of architectural and historic interest, delves into the genealogy of the multicultural families that have made St. Augustine home, and offers human stories and heritage recipes passed down through the centuries.

Our Sea Turtles: A Practical Guide to the Atlantic and Gulf from Canada to Mexico, Blair & Dawn Witherington

Blair and Dawn Witherington thoroughly reveal the lives of sea turtles in Our Sea Turtles: A Practical Guide to the Atlantic and Gulf from Canada to Mexico. The book’s pithy, well-organized sections are lavishly illustrated. It is a guide for anyone who is the least bit curious about these fascinating marine animals. Bite-sized installments harmonize with multiple images on each page to make this book a unique and entertaining resource. The story it tells covers many facets including understanding, experiencing, and saving our sea turtles, with descriptions of how these endangered animals contribute to our happiness and why they deserve a helping hand.
A Land Remembered should be in everyone’s library, especially if you live in Florida. In this best-selling novel, Patrick Smith tells the story of three generations of the MacIveys, a Florida family who battle the hardships of the frontier to rise from a dirt-poor Cracker life to the wealth and standing of real estate tycoons. The sweeping story that emerges is a rich, rugged Florida history featuring a memorable cast of crusty, indomitable Crackers battling wild animals, rustlers, Confederate deserters, mosquitoes, starvation, hurricanes, and freezes to carve a kingdom out of the swamp.
In December of 1892 a little-known event changed world history, and its influence can be seen in headlines today. This 12th novel of the Honor Series is woven around that event. Commander Peter Wake has left the world of espionage behind and is back in the sea-going navy. But duty has called him from his new Spanish lover back to Key West to investigate an assassination and prevent another one—all of which leads him to old German foes in Mexico as well as Spanish ones in Cuba and Tampa. The life of the great patriot of Cuba, José Martí, is at stake.

Pickled, Fried, and Fresh: Bert Gill’s Southern Flavors, Bert Gill with Erika Nelson

A pioneer in Florida’s local food movement shares his southern kitchen and bold recipes in Pickled, Fried, and Fresh. In the past 15 years, Chef Bert Gill has established three acclaimed restaurants and this cookbook showcases his signature items like pimento cheese, clams with fennel and oranges, watermelon salad, and bourbon cocktails. The recipes and photos in this book showcase the unique personality of Gill’s local foodscape–a region with multiple harvests throughout the year and access to fresh catch from both coasts. His cookbook represents how Florida chefs are using local ingredients to create their own exciting niche in southern cuisine.

Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de León and Florida’s Magical Waters, Rick Kilby

Although the myth of Juan Ponce de León’s quest for the fountain of youth was debunked long ago, his fabled search remains inextricably tied to the image of the Sunshine State. Featuring reproductions of hundreds of eye-catching postcards, vintage advertisements, vibrant photos, and other “Ponceabilia,” Finding the Fountain of Youth reveals how Florida itself has been transformed into a veritable fountain of youth, a paradisiacal playground, a utopia of rejuvenating springs and supple mermaids. Kilby’s delightful collection of images demonstrates how “magical” waters and their restorative powers have been used to promote the state to tourists and new residents alike.

They Dared to Dream: Florida Women Who Shaped History, Doris Weatherford

From prehistoric times to the space age, women have made giant contributions to Florida history but have too often been left out of historical accounts. They Dared to Dream reveals the lifestyles and achievements of women throughout landmark moments in history, including Native civilizations before the arrival of European colonists; early Spanish, British, and French exploration, the Civil War era, Reconstruction, the early twentieth century, and the population explosions post-World War II. This pivotal examination of Florida’s female agents of change draws attention to women’s instrumental roles in the historical events that defined the Sunshine State.

Alligators in B-Flat: Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida, Jeff Klinkenberg

With a keen eye for detail and a lyrical style, Jeff Klinkenberg sets his sights on the contradictions that make up the Sunshine State. Though a civilized place, Florida is also home to panthers, bears, rattlesnakes, and alligators, just waiting to take a bite out of the unprepared. No other writer would think to engage a professional symphony orchestra tuba player to find out whether bull gators will thunderously bellow back at a low B-flat during mating season (they do, but only to that pitch). From fishing camps and country stores to museums and libraries, Klinkenberg is forever unearthing the magic that makes Florida a place worth celebrating.

My Color – Full Florida, Linda Schilling Mitchell

My Color – Full Florida offers an entertaining and educational way to learn about the interesting people, places and things in Florida’s amazing history. Readers also discover the unique attractions that lured tourists to Pre-Disney Florida, which are still open and can be experienced today. The various stories are conversational and interactive for readers of all ages, and each story is complemented with a black and white illustration. Recent Florida residents will appreciate learning about their new home, and younger readers will enjoy adding their personal touch by coloring the pictures.

So, what’s on your Authentic Florida holiday list? Share your favorites with us an enjoy reading!

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