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Chapter 42 - Swamplandia

We had the great fortune to spend the Thanksgiving holidays in Tampa, Florida with our son and his family. It was a warm, relaxed, easy atmosphere with lots of Tampa humidity. We ate, talked, watched football, ate some more, watched soccer, and read. It was truly a perfect visit.

I am so happy we have started traveling again. While I am still very much aware of COVID (is this my third or fourth booster?), I am also determined it is not going to stop me from going places I want to go. I hope this applies to you too whether you are vaccinated or not (no judgement zone here).

In reflecting on our Thanksgiving trip I was thinking about all the books I've read and which of these take place in Florida. Here are some I have read and enjoyed.

Swamplandia by Karen Russell - Ava Bigtree has grown up at her family's Florida gator-wrestling theme park. When her mother becomes ill, the family begins to fall apart with her father becoming distant, her sister falling for a scary beau and her brother defecting to a rival gator park. Ava's mission is to save it all.

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen - Hiaasen has written the Skink series and while this is number 5 in the group, you do not have to read them in order. Joey Perrone is retrieved from the ocean by former cop Mike Stranahan. She knows her marine biologist husband, who has thrown her overboard from their boat, is up to no good and she and Mike work to figure it out. This series is laugh out loud funny and appeals to men and women.

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton - Three very different women meet on this Labor Day weekend in 1933. Mirta Perez from Cuba is on the train celebrating her honeymoon with her gangster husband. Elizabeth Preston is trying to save her family from ruin and is only able to do so if she tracks down her WWI vet brother. Helen Berner, a Key West native, is pregnant and trying to leave her abusive husband. The three stories intertwine to produce interesting historical fiction.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead - Ellwood Curtis from Tallahassee is wrongfully sentence to a juvenile detention center called Nickel Academy. As punishments from the school become increasingly violent, Ellwood and his friend make plans which have repercussions throughout the rest of their lives.

Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax - The first book in the Ten Beach Road series, Madeline, Avery, and Nikki are strangers to each other. Finding themselves victims of a Ponzi scheme, they discover that they together own a ramshackle 1920's beachfront house. While they could sell it and recoup a little of their investments, if they renovate it they will make much, much more and so they combine resources with charm and sweat equity to do so.

Have you read any great books which take place in Florida? Let me know.


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