Seasons of Real Florida

( 2 )

Overview

From the foreword:
"What is raw, alive, and essential about Florida is becoming more difficult to find, true; but it's still possible to encounter it, to experience it, and a good place to start is any story or book by Jeff Klinkenberg. . . . Jeff loves Florida. It shows."--Randy Wayne White, author of Shark River and Everglades

"Klinkenberg is a genius reporter and a wonderful writer. I read this book in one gulp, then went outside, looked at ...

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Seasons of Real Florida

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Overview

From the foreword:
"What is raw, alive, and essential about Florida is becoming more difficult to find, true; but it's still possible to encounter it, to experience it, and a good place to start is any story or book by Jeff Klinkenberg. . . . Jeff loves Florida. It shows."--Randy Wayne White, author of Shark River and Everglades

"Klinkenberg is a genius reporter and a wonderful writer. I read this book in one gulp, then went outside, looked at that magnificent Florida sky and made myself all sorts of promises."--William McKeen, author of Highway 61: A Father-and-Son Journey through the Middle of America

No wonder Jeff Klinkenberg loves Florida. At any time of year he can find a place in the state that's ripe to enjoy or a person whose story has aged to perfection.

Arranged by season, the book opens in the fall, which Klinkenberg says is like spring in the north--a time of celebration: "Having survived our harshest season, we feel renewed." Fair weather, good food, and the joys of nature lie ahead, described here in essays that are like time capsules of "old Florida values." Preserving the past, they reveal Klinkenberg's waggish appreciation of the state's history, folkways, and landscape, not to mention its barbequed ribs, smoked mullet, stone crab claws, and fresh lemonade.

Many pieces focus off the beaten path and on modern rogues who seem to turn their backsides to the subdivisions and shopping malls that pave the state: Miss Ruby, whose fruit stand features rutabagas, boiled peanuts, and her own brightly colored plywood paintings; an 85-year-old resident of the remote island of Cayo Costa who hums Beethoven while she hunts for shells; the scientists who test mosquito repellent in Everglades National Park; and the unofficial caretaker of Lilly Spring on the Santa Fe River, who greets canoeists wearing glasses, a necklace, and on occasion a synthetic fur loincloth. Other pieces pay homage to Klinkenberg's literary heroes who've written in and about Florida, such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Rawlings's companion and memoirist Idella Parker, Everglades crusader Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and novelist Ernest Hemingway. Klinkenberg also revisits an old St. Johns River campsite of 19th-century botanist William Bartram, whose encounters with alligators there were as alarming as Klinkenberg's with beer cans and soda bottles.

For anyone who has a stake in the real Florida--resident, tourist, naturalist, or newcomer--this tour of the seasons will linger in memory like the aroma of orange blossoms on a clear winter night.

Florida native Jeff Klinkenberg has been writing for the St. Petersburg Times since 1977. He is the only two-time winner of the Paul Hansell Distinguished Journalism Award, the highest honor given by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to St. Petersburg Times writer Klinkenberg, there are no cartoon mice, art deco dance clubs or exclusive golf courses in "Real Florida." For him the Sunshine State's essence lies in its hidden swamps, forests, rivers and caves and in the forgotten characters and creatures that inhabit them. In this collection of his Times columns, Klinkenberg seeks out these people and places to document their stories before they are overrun by high-rise hotels and sunburnt tourists. Organizing the columns (which were reworked) by the four seasons, Klinkenberg lets readers into the secrets of Florida's fall (stone crabs, flamingos), winter (orange blossoms, manatees), spring (alligators, hurricanes) and summer (heat, mosquitoes). Whether he is visiting a Florida institution (the Yearling Restaurant) or telling the story of Florida's artists (photographer Clyde Butcher, painter Christopher Still), writers (Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Hemingway) and local personalities (LoinclothMan, Shell Woman), Klinkenberg has the enviable task of telling stories about storybook places and gifted storytellers. A skilled writer, he knows when to listen and when to nudge each short story along. While the vignette structure allows for quick and easy reading, Klinkenberg doesn't always succeed in making readers feel as if they are traveling with him on his Florida journey, from beginning to end. Still, this collection of close to 50 examples of real life from the Keys to the panhandle gives readers a jumping-off point to find their own path. Photos. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A feature writer for the St. Petersburg Times, Klinkenberg has published two earlier collections of his columns (Real Florida and Dispatches from the Land of Flowers). Arranged by season, starting in the fall, these insightful and sharply focused portraits of people and places represent the range of the many cultures that make up the Sunshine State. Here, we encounter a Florida that most tourists never see-that of an 85-year-old "shell lady" from Cayo Costa Key, of painter Christopher Still, or of Buster Agliano, a fishmonger in Ybor City. What all these pieces of local color share is the author's love of his home state, and they will help to preserve a part of Florida history that is rapidly vanishing. Recommended for specialized collections and especially Florida public libraries.-Herbert E. Shapiro, Empire State Coll., SUNY at Rochester Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813027135
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 5/15/2004
  • Series: Florida History and Culture Series
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,001,622
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.62 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Florida native Jeff Klinkenberg has been writing for the St. Petersburg Times since 1977. He is the only two-time winner of the Paul Hansell Distinguished Journalism Award, the highest honor given by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, and the author of Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators.

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Table of Contents

Series foreword
Foreword
Preface
1 The subtle season 3
2 Peebles 6
3 Flamingo tourists 11
4 Inmate No. 793362 16
5 Clyde butcher 23
6 The smallwood store 28
7 Pictures of history 32
8 Travels with a bear man 38
9 Torreya state park 43
10 The Herlong mansion 47
11 Old woman river 56
12 Last fish monger 67
13 Fruit hog 73
14 Mister citrifacts 76
15 Miss Ruby 80
16 In the footsteps of the masters 86
17 Smoked fish 94
18 Winter perfume 98
19 Minding the manatees 103
20 What lies beneath 107
21 The Yearling restaurant 114
22 Black Seminoles 119
23 His father's voice 124
24 Coconuts and alligators 135
25 Bartram's travels through our dreams 139
26 Idella 146
27 Mastry's bait and tackle 154
28 Barren beauty 158
29 Tom Gaskins 162
30 The guru of fly-fishing 165
31 Marjory Stoneman Douglas 168
32 Builder of boats, keeper of history 171
33 No such thing as a dead gator 176
34 When trees talk 183
35 A Florida boy keeps his cool 193
36 Loincloth man 196
37 Kiss of the swamp angels 200
38 Cracker cattle 205
39 Florida's deepest roots 210
40 Shell woman 217
41 Wakulla springs 222
42 A fisherman named Hemingway 225
43 Man out of time 230
44 For a song 235
45 Soul food 239
46 Dark night of the soul 244
47 Firefly doc 253
Credits 261
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 22, 2013

    Great book!

    I love books about Florida. Jeff writes about the real people of Florida. I love how he tells their story. The book is so interesting and I enjoy how he writes about the people. The book is good old Florida history. It's about people and places we would never think about.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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