27 of the best Florida books to cozy up with this winter
Design by Joe Frontel
The Dec. 1, 2022 cover of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
“Cozy” is a complicated concept in central Florida, especially when it comes to the winter. We just don’t have the same touchstones as others. While many of our Yankee countrymen are donning cable-knit, Floridians are still heading to rapidly-eroding beaches, excited that the water has finally dipped below 85 degrees. Our pumpkin spices are icy, our sweaters still tucked away until those two cold weeks in January. Luckily, curling up with a good book is a cozy activity you can do from both a beach chair and in front of a roaring fireplace. With Florida being home to hundreds of writers—including many in Tampa Bay—here’s a non-definitive list of new releases from Florida’s own to keep your cozy time local.
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Photo via University Press of Florida
If there was a must have book for self-respecting Tampeños, this is it. Across nearly 150 pages, this gastronomical triumvirate of local historians present deep research that criss-crosses the northern hemisphere from Cuba, to Florida, Nevada, Chicago, the east coast, all the way to Ireland, all in the name of sending to press a definitive history of Florida’s iconic sandwich.FFO: Going down the wormhole, salami, being the most interesting person at the lunch counter (University Press of Florida, $24.95)
Penguin Random House
In November, the writer and Winter Park resident released his new book, “Musical Tables,” via Penguin Random House. The work is one of his longest books—I counted 129 poems—and in a lot of ways, also one of his shortest. There are poems that are like a single line or couplet, and it’s a wonder how Collins, 81, ended up going in this direction.
FFO: Chords, the Tao Te Ching if it was funnier (Penguin Random House, $26)
Photo via Reedy Press
After releasing the first edition of “100 Things” in 2014, Tampa Bay Times obituary writer Kristen Hare returned this year with the third installment that’s not only a guidebook for newcomers but a secret list of things that even the most seasoned Tampa Bay locals might not have done.
For fans of: road trips, not arguing over what to do today (Reedy Press, $17)
Photo via Newman Springs Publishing
This one was published in 2021, but didn’t hit our eyeballs until after the pandemic. Crowley is a local product (and alum of Ybor City’s Booker T. Washington when it was a middle school) and former Seminole fan who was so shaken by the end of the Charlie Ward era that he switched alliances. His book reads like a diary entry and is strangely cathartic for anyone who’s ever been left in a lurch by their favorite team’s trials and tribulations. FFO: Danny Wuerffel, being non-committal about Urban Meyer’s off-field gaffes (Newman Springs Publishing, $13.95)
Photo via Penguin Random House
When Keiser was living in Tampa, she ran a high-powered PR firm and juggled dinners, galas, and relationships. But at 38, after a failed marriage, several miscarriages, and filled with anxiety, Keiser makes the biggest impulse purchase of a lifetime: a working farm in rural Mississippi. She learns how to haul wood, shoot a gun, and care for the 75 animals that call her farm home—including herself. FFO: The Growing Season, Cork Dork, and cottagecore (Penguin Random House, $28)