Need some fresh inspiration for your gift list this holiday season? We’ve made holiday shopping easy in this roundup of new and bestselling books from University Press of Florida. From history to cooking, gardening, dance, and more, you’ll find the perfect gift for every reader.

All UPF books are 20–40% off with $1 per book shipping through December 16. To order, visit and use code XM19 at checkout.

04082019160128_500x500For the trivia fanatic

Roaring Reptiles, Bountiful Citrus, and Neon Pies: An Unofficial Guide to Florida’s Official Symbols
By Mark Lane

Mark Lane guides readers through the often-comic historical events that led to the selection of Florida’s official fruit, tree, gem, bird, song, and other items ranging from the well-known to the obscure, packing in personal stories and laugh-out-loud moments along the way. Did you know the state slogan was almost “the alligator state”? Or that a mailbox in the shape of the state marine mammal can tell you a lot about a person? 

11092018184451_500x500For the friend who is obsessed with reality TV

Made in Florida: Artists, Celebrities, Activists, Educators, and Other Icons in the Sunshine State
By Art Levy

Discover some of Florida’s most fascinating personalities in this entertaining kaleidoscope of interviews. Hear from Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry about their weirdest writing inspirations. Discover why Shaquille O’Neal never complains. Listen to Theresa Manuel’s experiences as one of the first black women to compete in the Olympics. These and other stars—many of whom rarely give such extensive interviews—talk family and work, joys and worries, failures and triumphs, dislikes and desires.

03192019125345_500x500For the hosts you’re hoping will upgrade their cooking this year

Sallie Ann Robinson’s Kitchen: Food and Family Lore from the Lowcountry
By Sallie Ann Robinson

Sallie Ann Robinson brings readers to the dinner table in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Born and raised on the small, remote island of Daufuskie, Robinson shares the food and foodways from her Gullah upbringing. Robinson’s recipes are passed down through generations living off the land, and her lively stories capture “the island ways of doin.” As memories of this traditional way of life fade, Sallie Ann Robinson’s Kitchen helps preserve the food, culture, and community of Daufuskie and the Sea Islands.

10312018135819_500x500For those with (or without!) a green thumb

The Nature of Plants: An Introduction to How Plants Work
By Craig N. Huegel

In The Nature of Plants, ecologist and nursery owner Craig Huegel demystifies the complex lives of plants and provides readers with an elucidating journey into their inner and outer workings. With color illustrations, photographs, and real-life examples from his own gardening experiences, Huegel equips budding botanists, ecologists, and even the most novice gardeners with knowledge that will help them understand and foster plants of all types.

11062018164917_500x500For the environmentalist

Drying Up: The Fresh Water Crisis in Florida
By John M. Dunn

America’s wettest state is running out of water. Florida—with its swamps, lakes, extensive coastlines, and legions of life-giving springs—faces a drinking water crisis. Drying Up is a wake-up call and a hard look at what the future holds for those who call Florida home. John Dunn challenges readers to rethink their relationship with water and adopt a new philosophy that compels them to protect the planet’s most precious resource.

hinex001_500x500For the science enthusiast

Geologic History of Florida: Major Events That Formed the Sunshine State
By Albert C. Hine

Geologic History of Florida covers the complete geologic history of the Sunshine State—a saga approximately 700 million years long. Albert Hine takes the reader on a journey that begins at the Earth’s South Pole during a time when Florida’s basement rocks were part of a supercontinent and ends with the emergence of south Florida and the Keys. With a glossary of essential terms at the end of each chapter, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in how the Sunshine State physically came to be.

colli003_500x500For the cousin who always comments on the weather

Florida Weather and Climate: More than Just Sunshine
By Jennifer M. Collins, Robert V. Rohli, and Charles H. Paxton

With many maps, helpful diagrams, and clear explanations, this book is an illuminating and accessible guide to Florida’s dramatic weather and climate. Florida is home to two of the world’s major types of climate—tropical wet-dry and humid subtropical. It ranks among the top states for tornadoes and is more frequently affected by lightning and thunderstorms than any other state. Florida is vulnerable to fog, drought, and wildfires. And it is notorious for its most prominent natural event—the hurricane.

10102018133123_500x500For the future astronaut

Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments
By J. L. Pickering And John Bisney

Through a wealth of unpublished and recently discovered images, this book presents new and rarely seen views of the people, places, and events involved in planning, accomplishing, and commemorating the first Moon landing. No other book has showcased as many never-before-seen photos connected with Apollo 11 or as many images covering the activities from the months before to the years after the mission.

03252019133156_500x500For the poetry lover

The Insistence of Harm
By Fernando Valverde, translated by Allen Josephs and Laura Juliet Wood

Born in Granada, Spain, in 1980, Fernando Valverde is widely considered one of the top young poets writing in Spanish today. Valverde is a leading figure in a movement of contemporary poets known as the Poetry of Uncertainty, and he has received some of the most significant awards for poetry in Spanish. This bilingual edition of his book The Insistence of Harm introduces English-language readers to some of his latest, most exciting work.

knigh001_500x500For the parents whose children sing Let It Go on repeat

Power and Paradise in Walt Disney’s World
By Cher Krause Knight

In this fascinating analysis, Cher Krause Knight peels back the layers of Walt Disney’s inspiration and vision for Disney World in central Florida, exploring the reasons why the resort has emerged as such a prominent sociocultural force. Expertly weaving themes of pilgrimage, paradise, fantasy, and urbanism, she delves into the unexpected nuances and contradictions of this elaborately conceived playland of the imagination.

04082019155837_500x500For the risk-taker

The Mariel Boatlift: A Cuban-American Journey
By Victor Andres Triay

Set against the sweeping backdrop of one of the most dramatic refugee crises of the twentieth century, this book presents the stories of Cuban immigrants to the United States who overcame frightening circumstances to build new lives for themselves and flourish in their adopted country.  Alongside a fast-paced narrative offering a brief history of the Mariel Boatlift, Victor Triay presents testimonies from former Mariel refugees.

04092019175901_500x500For the history buff

Jacksonville: The Consolidation Story, from Civil Rights to the Jaguars
By James B. Crooks

In the 1950s and ’60s, Jacksonville—a conservative, Deep South, backwater city—began its transformation into a prosperous, mainstream metropolis. Readers familiar with Jacksonville over the last 40 years will recognize events like the St. Johns River cleanup, the building of the Jacksonville Landing, the ending of odor pollution, and the arrival of the Jaguars NFL franchise.

milln001_500x500For the lover of oddities and curiosities

The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet
By Lyn Millner

Cyrus Teed was a charismatic and controversial guru who at the age of 30 had been “illuminated” by an angel in his electro-alchemical laboratory. At the turn of the twentieth century, surrounded by the marvels of the Second Industrial Revolution, he proclaimed himself a prophet and led 200 people out of Chicago and into a new age. Or so he promised. Was Teed a visionary or villain, savior or two-bit charlatan? Lyn Millner weaves the many bizarre strands of Teed’s life and those of his followers, the Koreshans, into a riveting story of angels, conmen, angry husbands, yellow journalism, and ultimately, hope.

For those relatives who never stop talking about politics

03142019145809_500x500The Modern Republican Party in Florida
By Peter Dunbar and Mike Haridopolos

Despite Florida’s current reputation as a swing state, there was a time when its Republicans were the underdogs against a Democratic powerhouse. This book tells the story of how the Republican Party of Florida became the influential force it is today. It provides a timely history of the modern political era in Florida and a careful analysis of challenges the Republican Party faces in a state situated at the epicenter of the nation’s politics.

08222018130155_500x500Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture
By Karen L. Cox
With a New Preface

Even without the right to vote, members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy proved to have enormous social and political influence throughout the South—all in the name of preserving Confederate culture. Karen L. Cox’s history of the UDC, an organization founded in 1894 to vindicate the Confederate generation and honor the Lost Cause. In this edition, with a new preface, Cox acknowledges the deadly riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, showing why myths surrounding the Confederacy continue to endure.

For the aspiring dancer

10102018133109_500x500Dancing with Merce Cunningham
By Marianne Preger-Simon

While immersed in the vibrant arts scene of postwar Paris during a college year abroad, Marianne Preger-Simon was so struck by Merce Cunningham’s unconventional dance style that she joined his classes in New York. She soon became an important member of his brand new dance troupe—and a constant friend. Dancing with Merce Cunningham is a buoyant, captivating memoir of a talented dancer’s lifelong friendship with one of the choreographic geniuses of our time.

05172019123734_500x500Broadway, Balanchine, and Beyond: A Memoir
By Bettijane Sills and Elizabeth McPherson

In this memoir of a roller-coaster career on the New York stage, former actor and dancer Bettijane Sills offers a highly personal look at the art and practice of George Balanchine, one of ballet’s greatest choreographers, and the inner workings of his world-renowned company during its golden years.  Winningly honest and intimate, Sills lets readers peek behind the curtains to see a world that most people have never experienced firsthand.

04112019124944_500x500La Meri and Her Life in Dance: Performing the World
By Nancy Lee Chalfa Ruyter

This intriguing biography details the life and work of world dance pioneer La Meri (1899–1988). An American dancer, choreographer, teacher, and writer, La Meri was ahead of her time in championing cross-cultural dance performances and education, yet she is almost totally forgotten today. This book illustrates that the popularity of world dance today owes much to the trailblazing efforts of La Meri.

10132017185232_500x500-1Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir
By Halifu Osumare

Dancing in Blackness is a professional dancer’s personal journey over four decades, across three continents and twenty-three countries, and through defining moments in the story of black dance in America. This is the inspiring story of an accomplished dance artist and a world-renowned dance scholar who has boldly developed and proclaimed her identity as a black woman.

07092019144736_500x500Bravura! Lucia Chase and the American Ballet Theatre
By Alex C. Ewing

To many people, Lucia Chase (1897–1986) was the American Ballet Theatre, and her reign as the queen of American ballet lasted for more than four decades. Combining unique personal insights as Chase’s son along with experience garnered from his own professional dance and administrative career, Alex Ewing offers the definitive story of one of the true pioneers in the world of American ballet.

To order any of these books at discount prices and to receive $1 per book shipping, visit and use code XM19 at checkout. Sale ends December 16.

Orders over $50 will receive a free UPF tote bag while supplies last.

We wish all our readers a wonderful holiday season!

One thought on “Holiday Gift Guide 2019

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