As the COVID-19 pandemic brings about significant changes in the daily lives of our readers, University Press of Florida is pleased to offer a selection of free eBooks for those in need of a good book during this time. You can enjoy these ten “Quarantine Reads” for free on eReaders such as Kindle, Nook, and Kobo through April 30, 2020. To access any of these free eBooks, visit your favorite eBook retailer and navigate to the book of your choice.

Most of our staff members are now working remotely, and we are thinking of our readers from our kitchens, porches, and home offices as we continue the work of book publishing. We hope you enjoy these free reads.


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Stuck at home? Learn to experience magic in unexpected places.
In Season: Stories of Discovery, Loss, Home, and Places In Between
Edited by Jim Ross

Many people imagine Florida as just a vacationland or a swamp—a place to visit and to leave behind. But the writers in this collection discover that when you venture into Florida you won’t find what you expect . . . and what you do find will stay with you forever. These essays illustrate that the places we inhabit put a stamp on us, even if we only call them home for a season.

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Is shopping a nightmare? Learn the art of foraging from the master food explorer.
Fruits of Eden: David Fairchild and America’s Plant Hunters
Amanda Harris

In Fruits of Eden, Amanda Harris vividly recounts the exploits of David Fairchild and his small band of adventurers and botanists as they traversed Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe in the late nineteenth century. Their findings led to a renaissance not only at the American dinner table but also in horticulture, providing diversity of crops and economic growth for farmers across the country.

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Find calm in the transcendence of the natural world.
The Peace of Blue: Water Journeys
Bill Belleville

In The Peace of Blue, documentarian and nature writer Bill Belleville guides you on a lyrical journey to the natural places in Florida and the Caribbean that have been forged and shaped by water. He poetically affirms the vitality of this most essential substance in our lives by showing the many ways in which water-driven landscapes nurture plants, wildlife, and the human spirit.

RinglingEscape to the greatest show on earth.
Ringling: The Florida Years, 1911–1936
David C. Weeks

John Nicholas Ringling’s years in Sarasota spanned the final quarter-century of his life. On Florida’s west coast, as the Ringling’s Circus became “the greatest show on earth,” he collected art, built an ostentatious mansion, and became the focus of acclaim, misconception, and suspicion. This is the chronicle of a man “who was not afraid to think or live on a grand scale, who knew what he wanted from life, and from art.”

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If you think life is crazy right now, check out this bizarre true story from Florida’s past.
The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet
Lyn Millner

At the turn of the twentieth century, surrounded by the marvels of the Second Industrial Revolution, Cyrus Teed proclaimed himself a prophet and led 200 people out of Chicago and into a new age. Or so he promised. The Koreshans settled in a mosquito-infested Florida scrubland and set to building a communal utopia inside what they believed was a hollow earth—with humans living on the inside crust and the entire universe contained within.

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While spring training is suspended, delve into the history of one of its hallowed sites.
The Rise and Fall of Dodgertown: 60 Years of Baseball in Vero Beach
Rody Johnson

This book traces the fascinating and remarkable history of the sometimes rocky relationship between Vero Beach and the Dodgers.  Beginning with the signing of Jackie Robinson in 1946 and ending with the close of spring training in 2007, The Rise and Fall of Dodgertown traces the changes in baseball and society for more than a half century. It is a story of community, passion, and the beauty of an American sport.

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Go behind the scenes in an industry that is now in crisis mode.
Waiting at Joe’s
Deeny Kaplan Lorber

The waiters of Joe’s Stone Crab, a one-of-a-kind South Florida landmark, have served the rich, the famous, and the infamous, ranging from Madonna and Al Capone to Amelia Earhart and Bill Clinton. By giving voice to these unsung individuals, Deeny Kaplan Lorber reveals the inner workings of Joe’s in this collection of fascinating, intimate vignettes.

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Learn how the U.S. government sponsored jobs for writers and artists amid the nation’s worst economic disaster.
Backroads of Paradise: A Journey to Rediscover Old Florida
Cathy Salustri

In the 1930s, the Federal Writers’ Project sent writers including Zora Neale Hurston and Stetson Kennedy into the depths of Florida to reveal its splendor to the world. The FWP and the State of Florida jointly published the results as Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State. Retracing the original routes in the Guide, Cathy Salustri rekindles our notions of paradise by bringing a modern eye to the historic travelogues.

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Feeling isolated? Join a virtual dinner party with 90 famous Floridians.
Made in Florida: Artists, Celebrities, Activists, Educators, and Other Icons in the Sunshine State
Art Levy

Made in Florida showcases a colorful lineup of notable people who got their start in the state and who have helped make it the unique, diverse place it is today. Art Levy has thoughtfully selected their words from ten years of conversations, resulting in an entertaining kaleidoscope of interviews with Florida’s most fascinating personalities.

duggi002_500x500Leave contagion behind and blast off to a new planet.
Trailblazing Mars: NASA’s Next Giant Leap
Pat Duggins

Travel to and from Mars has long been a staple of science fiction. And yet the hurdles—both technological and financial—have kept human exploration of the red planet from becoming a reality. Trailblazing Mars offers an inside look at the current efforts to fulfill this dream, examining the extreme new challenges that will be faced by astronauts on the journey there and back.


These ten “Quarantine Reads” can be accessed for free from your favorite eBook retailer through April 30, 2020.

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