books

All evidence points out to the fact that the earth is warming and the climate is changing. In Florida, that means more unpleasantly hot days, rising seas and stronger storms. 

So, it may be time to read up on the subject, if you haven’t already. Some concerned members of the community have taken up learning how to teach others about climate change science and solutions. 

The last year has been a divisive one for our national political scene. But one uniting factor has been to turn a lot more of us into political junkies - talking, texting and tweeting about the latest moves in Congress or the White House as if they were episodes of "Game of Thrones."

Sometimes, though, it's nice to take a break from the fire hose of breaking updates and Twitter feeds and read an entire book. We asked some journalists who closely follow politics for their recommendations.

It's a time-honored tradition for novelists to draw material from their own lives, and author Tom Perrotta is no exception. His 2004 book, Little Children, sprang from his experience as the parent of young kids. Three years later, he published The Abstinence Teacher, which was inspired, in part, by the junior-high and high-school sports his children played at the time.

Simon Cocks / Flickr

Florida takes its hits, from late-night TV jokes to, now, even a ranking as the worst state in the nation for a “staggeringly impressive” “awfulness resume,” according to the website Thrillist.

But for all the Flori-duh jokes (that we make, too, but we live here so it’s OK), this is an astonishingly large, diverse, beautiful, interesting and yeah, sometimes staggeringly awful place — and it has produced some remarkable works of literature.

For an entire generation of writers, Michiko Kakutani acted at times as intrepid champion, hated villain or helping hand. But from her perch as chief book critic at The New York Times, the Pulitzer Prize winner rarely left one thing in doubt: her vast influence over the literary world she assessed.

On Thursday, after 38 years, Kakutani announced she is stepping down.

Courtesy of ruthbehar.com

A few years after Ruth Behar and her family arrived in Queens, New York from Cuba in the early 1960's shortly after Fidel Castro took power, they were in an awful car accident that killed five teenage boys and left her in a full-body cast for most of the next year. She was nine years old, and spent her 10th birthday in that cast. 

We've had mangoes on our mind all month. (Stay tuned for an upcoming story about mango chutney!)

Then we remembered Miami Spice month starts Aug. 1. So, to prepare for deals on delicious meals in South Florida, we asked two writers and a chef about their favorite food books. 

In an essay on Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf observed, "Of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness."

To that double-edged and astute assessment, one can add, she is also the most difficult to catch in the act of tea-time.

This observation might seem irksomely contrarian to the legions of Janeites in hats and bonnets gathered around tea and scones to pay fealty to the novelist on the bicentenary of her death, which falls today.

It’s Bastille Day! To celebrate the French national holiday, this week we asked some experts on France and the French language about their favorite books.

Share yours with us — or just tell us what you’re reading – by tweeting us @WLRN.

Travis Cohen, writer

Mary Casanova / Literacy Volunteers of America

Ever since Peter Minuit bought Manhattan Island from the Native Americans, New York City's character has been defined by money and con artistry. So it is that classic New York stories are always populated by a grifter or two.

Octavia Butler used to say she remembers exactly when she decided to become a science fiction writer. She was 9 years old and saw a 1954 B-movie called Devil Girl from Mars, and two things struck her. First: "Geez, I can write a better story than that!" And second: "Somebody got paid for writing that story!" If they could, she decided, then she could, too.

Christophe Ena / AP

It’s July and if you follow the sport of cycling, you are probably aware that this month belongs to the Tour de France — the sport’s biggest event.

In honor of the tour, we asked some local cycling enthusiasts for their favorite books about bikes.

Share yours with us — or just tell us what you’re reading — by tweeting @wlrn.

Christopher Hamilton, bicycle/pedestrian/transportation coordinator, city of Key West

For this Friday before the Fourth of July, we asked some South Floridians about their favorite works of American history. Tell us what you're reading — or your favorite American history book — by tweeting us @wlrn.

Capt. Bobby “Beetle” Baker, Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station Key West

Summer Reading For The College-Bound

Jun 30, 2017

Madison Catrett, 18, grew up in south Georgia — in a town about 30 miles from Tallahassee. Her high school was mostly white, Christian, and conservative — a place "where education is not as important as football," says Catrett.

She's bound for Duke University in the fall — and she's a little nervous to go somewhere new, somewhere so different from her hometown.

Luckily, she and other Duke freshmen have a built-in conversation starter: the reading they've all been assigned — Richard Blanco's Prince of Los Cocuyos.

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