Had an interesting day today. I moderated a panel for the Library Guild’s “Much Ado About Books” fundrasier. My panel was two authors from the St. Pete Times, one retired, one still working.
Martin Dyckman wrote about a particularly tumultuous time in the Florida Supreme court. Back in the ’70’s, there were a couple of SCOFLA justices that wound up losing their seats because of some ex-parte communications. That’s frowned on. It was one of those things where a law clerk brought the story to Mr. Dyckman while he was at the St. Pete Times … a source that has insisted on remaining confidential to this day. Sort of like Deep Throat was in Watergate. But if you have an interest in real scandal and malfeasance in Florida politics, it’s a good read.
My other author has a bloggers’ dream job. Jeff Klinkenberg travels the state gathering interesting stories and writing about them. The book pictured here is a collection of short essays about things Mr. Klinkenberg finds interesting. A native Floridian, he writes about the back roads, interesting people, out of the way places, just anything … and gets paid for the privilege. I hope I’m able to do that and get paid for it as my retirement job. An easy read, every chapter is self-contained, and that makes for a book you can pick up when you just need a quick break from what ever you’re doing.
Then, we went and heard from two more Florida authors. The session after mine was with Tim Dorsey. Another former journalist who now writes full time. I’ve read a couple of his books, and will go back and look for more. His principal character is a sympathetic serial killer. Go figure … but it works.
The luncheon keynote speaker was Carl Hiaasen. I’ve read several of his novels as well. He spoke very entertainingly for more than an hour, relating stories about how real life Florida finds a way to out-weird the stuff he makes up for his books. He said Florida seems to attract the strange, the bizarre, and the outlandish … like the continent was tipped up and all the dregs drained down into the peninsula.
I’ve enjoyed reading Florida authors since I’ve been here, and Dorsey and Hiaasen represent some of the best. I’ve also read S.V. Date, who falls into much the same genre. Fortunately for them, their appeal goes beyond the borders of the great state of Florida, though I imagine they are best received here. Even with transplants like me, many of whom are seen as more part of the problem than part of the solution. Still, I’m not going anywhere.
So, a literary day. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. Tomorrow, maybe it’ll be the boat.