With autumn’s arrival, our authors’ works have caught the attention of reviewers seeking adventure. Whether encouraging outdoor recreation, guiding indoor activities, or simply providing an escape, our books offer just what everyone’s looking for this fall: a taste of nature, a bit of history, and a whole lot of inspiration. Below we’ve highlighted just a sampling of our most recent and popular works that have reviewers reeling with excitement.
As football season kicks off, David A. Dorsey’s Fourth Down in Dunbar continues to impress. The Washington Times notes that “Dorsey offers a deeper look at the relationship among football, felons and Fort Myers, particularly the black part of town referenced in the title.”
“It’s the perfect documentation of a talent-rich community that seems to be in a never-ending circle of drugs, violence, and poverty, and of how the choices kids make can affect their whole lives. I highly recommend it for football fans, counselors, youth coaches, parents and athletes everywhere,” says Christopher Walsh of the Who’s No. 1 Blog.
“With unrivaled access to an insular community, Dorsey examines football’s place within the context of its local culture, bravely tackling difficult and sensitive issues of race and economic disparity,” praises Chris Lazzarino of Kansas Alumni Magazine. “Fourth Down in Dunbar provides important reminders that, when the true opponent is found on the streets rather than across the line of scrimmage, sport in American society is about so much more than the scoreboard. Young lives, not wins and losses, hang in the balance.”
Southwest Florida’s NPR station, WGCU, interviewed Dorsey on Gulf Coast Live! about these issues, and Dorsey also appeared on The John Murphy Show and wrote guest articles on NewsPress.com and the Jeff Pearlman Blog.
Our outdoor adventures continue in the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. Mac Stone’s Everglades: America’s Wetland published this month to grand fanfare. Library Journal deemed it “a visual feast, illuminating a weird and wondrous place in many moods” in a starred review and praised the book’s attention to conservation in the Everglades. “At the same time, the book shows a region at risk. Many Florida residents, environmentalists, and photographers will be moved by this presentation,” the review states. Award-winning conservation photographer Mac Stone “focuses on America’s swamps in an attempt to change public opinion towards our country’s wetlands,” and his book has begun to do just that.
A lyrical journey to the natural places in Florida and the Caribbean can be found in Bill Belleville’s The Peace of Blue: Water Journeys.
“The author breathes life into [his] narratives by providing crisp on-site observations that help re-create his many walkabouts and adventures—near, atop, or under water,” remarks the Sanford Herald.
“In this way, a rich ‘sense of place’ emerges and a greater truth takes hold. The Peace of Blue may be a literal immersion in water—or it may be a new way to help us acknowledge its energy,” the Herald concludes.
From journeying through water to touring Europe, the inspiration continues with Lee Wilson’s Rebel on Pointe: A Memoir of Ballet and Broadway. CriticalDance praised Wilson’s memoir as “one terrific read that fans of all ages will enjoy for its clear storytelling, historic perspectives and histrionic characters from someone who lived to see the status of women greatly elevated, and who was herself a part of that story.”
Wilson also gained insight into the world of ballet and Broadway during her life in dance and authored a guest blog post detailing 7 Reasons Why Ballet Dancers Choose Broadway.
If all of these adventures have you hungry, Haute Living highlighted from our selection “two new cookbooks that would make quite charming hostess gifts this season”: The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook and Good Catch: Recipes and Stories Celebrating the Best of Florida’s Waters.
As Ana Quincoces and Nicole Valls explained to us, they created The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook to “memorialize [their] history and [their] recipes” from the landmark Versailles Restaurant. As Haute Living assures, “serve any one of the recipes at your next dinner party and you will be a hit.”
From the acclaimed Field to Feast authors, Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson, comes Good Catch, a beautiful book that preserves Florida’s unique fishing culture in stories, photos, and recipes. The Charlotte Observer promises that “the book is packed with great ideas even if the closest you get to fresh fish is the glass case at the supermarket.”
The authors continue to receive praise for their first book, Field to Feast, which was recently heralded by Palate as “a beautiful book of Florida’s bounty that feels like a drive through the coastal woodlands and country roads of the Sunshine State. Full of portraits of the people who grow and cook the plethora of foodstuffs Florida offers, Field to Feast is at once a travel companion, coffee-table book, and useful cookbook,” they continue. “It’s a delicious and unique portrayal of a thriving culinary landscape.”
After cooking up some grub, sit back with a relaxing read. Celebrated in The Daily Beast Book Bag as “overlooked classic books from the Sunshine State” are Loren G. Brown’s Totch: A Life in the Everglades—”the truest of true Florida voices”—and Archie Carr’s The Windward Road: Adventures of a Naturalist on Remote Caribbean Shores, “Dr. Carr’s work on studying and preserving sea turtles…[that] elevates him to icon status among those who love mixing adventure travel with our science.”
Archie Carr’s wife is celebrated in Peggy Macdonald’s biography of the famous environmentalist, Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida’s Environment, a work that Senior Times called “at once a lucid account of the origins and growth of modern ecological awareness, a passionate love story of two scientists—Marjorie and Archie Carr, a perfect match in body, mind and spirit—and a riveting narrative of how a Micanopy mom with five children negotiated the formidable obstacles of a sexist society to preserve north central Florida’s natural wonders.”
For a bit of history, look no further than David Koistinen’s Confronting Decline: The Political Economy of Deindustrialization in Twentieth-Century New England, “an important contribution to the literature on the political economy of de-industrialization, a topic that continues to recur as industries rise and decline, according to the Economic History Review. “This book is a welcome addition to the literature of deindustrialization, and I advise anyone interested in the current political debate regarding a revival of U.S. manufacturing to read it,” adds The New England Quarterly
If you’re a war-buff, consider From These Honored Dead: Historical Archaeology of the American Civil War, edited by Clarence R. Geier, Douglas D. Scott, and Lawrence E. Babits.
American Archaeology considers it “an important addition to the growing field of conflict archaeology.” The journal notes that “despite the thousands of histories of the Civil War, it aptly illustrates that archaeologists have much to contribute before the whole story is told.”
Or, if you’re in the mood for a literary adventure, take a close look at Tison Pugh’s An Introduction to Geoffrey Chaucer. “Pugh sustains an accessible and engaging tone throughout this artful compression of an entire Chaucer course—or two, or three—into a single slim volume,” says Comitatus Review, and Mediaevistik proclaims the title “deserves a very warm welcome and recommendation.”