Rob's Blog

Tag: Florida book

May 30th, 2015 – Florida Agriculture Research!

by on May.31, 2015, under Books, Florida History!

2015-0530-Florida-AgricultureResearch

Hunkering down and wrapping up research for a talk of the history of Florida agriculture I’m giving Sunday to the Florida State Horticultural Society (FSHS) annual meeting. A mostly serious talk and a bit different for me. I’ve got more talks of Florida history to groups coming this Summer.

Been running on all cylinders this past month and will try to catch up with postings.

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May 19th, 2015 – Book: ‘Cross Creek’ by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

by on May.19, 2015, under Books

Cross CreekCross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rawlings collected writings of life in early 1900s Florida is what I deem a classic in writing. This set of essays is just extraordinary in more than writing. It’s also a view into the mind of one with a view of life that is nearly unacceptable in today’s narrow-minded, politically correct American life.

My friend B.K. recently brought to my attention, unknowingly, that I had not read Cross Creek. Considering how much I’ve read of my great state of Florida, I admit embarrassment that Cross Creek hadn’t been crossed yet.

Crossing the literary creek was an experience I’m glad I had today and not 30 years ago. Today I know the area and much about what went on in our state at the time of Rawling’s writing to better understand her adventures.

Rawlings literary renderings of Florida life are of the type that places the reader in the setting of a natural area, her home or a courtroom. She covers stories of all just mentioned and so much more of the rural living away from big cities. From hunting to farming to the personalities who lived around Cross Creek.

The writing of the natural areas she encounters is a work of beauty, whether she describes hanging spanish moss or the flowering plants she plants. Even better composed are her trips to Cross Creek and her trips along the waters in Florida.

For today’s America Rawling’s view of life would be considered a variety of popular terminology used by the over-sensitive-set. Yet, she is a she and tagging her sexist, racist or whatever is where the current name-callers get shutdown. The politically-correct crowd is precisely what Rawlings is pointing out she wants to get away from and live a real life with real people. Real people are not politically correct – which becomes abundantly clear as one reads Cross Creek.

This is an amazing work that should be a must-read for any lover of books and exceptional writing.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 10 of 10 points.

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April 19th, 2015 – My Swampy’s Florida at Dunnellon’s Boomtown Days event!

by on Apr.19, 2015, under Cartooning, Swampy's Florida

2015-0419-SwampysFlorida-FromSat-Boomtown

With my Swampy’s Florida at Dunnellon’s Boomtown yesterday. With me is City Commissioner Penny Fleeger, Jeff Smith and Tessa Noell helping out. Big crowds and lot’s of folks wanting to know about our great state of Florida!

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April 12th, 2015 – Book: ‘Flamingo Road’ by Robert Wilder

by on Apr.12, 2015, under Books

Flamingo RoadFlamingo Road by Robert Wilder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Robert Wilder’s ‘Flamingo Road’ is fictitious tale of a fictional town, Truro, with fictional characters. However, the political activity that is the foundation of this story was and is very real and happens all the time. The wondrous job Wilder does is plot the political actions taken throughout the book. As someone involved with politics, I can write Wilder does an excellent job.

Where I feel Wilder slips is over writing his narrative. It’s a problem that exists more today. There were many places where an editor should have pulled back Wilder’s reigns.

The characters are very well done. The sadistic depiction of each character is a highlight of Wilder’s work. The setting of Florida is well written. I wish he’d selected an actual location. Even an actual County. I understand the corruption that is involved, but he could have been a bit more specific. The town name of Truro is puzzling, too. The explanation is likely to be found in a Wilder interview of some such.

A bit about the film version. Too bad Shirley MacLaine wasn’t available yet for such a role. She would have been perfect as Lane Ballou. Wilder’s writing fits MacLaine so well, it’s surprising it’s impossinle for him to have known of MacLaine when he wrote the book around 1940, nearly 15 years before MacLaine started film work.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 8 out of 10 points.

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April 7th, 2015 – Book: ‘Walk with Evil’ by Robert Wilder.

by on Apr.07, 2015, under Books

Walk With EvilWalk With Evil by Robert Wilder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. I like the plot, layout, characters, pace, writing, cover, type, size of paper, binding, whoever binded it, the planet it is on….oh, and, of course, the setting. That might be a bit extreme.

It’s been quite awhile since I poured through any book like this. Characters are usually what get me and the characters in this book are so diversely written and defined that you just have to know what happens to them next. Wilder is constantly raising questions as to who is what and where and why. I just had to get through the book to find out what on earth was going on.

I loved the answers peppered through the book that lead to more questions and more questions.

About Florida: the setting is very well done. It is a fictitious town with a name that chalks up the biggest minus to the book: Redemption City. More than a bit much.

To me, whatever might be a bit much is little to how well this book is constructed.

Here’s the BIG question: Why the heck is this, at this point, the ONLY review of this book in Goodreads. People, hunt this book down and take no prisoners. You’ll have no time for prisoners ’cause you’ll be reading this book!

Bottom line: Guess. 10 out of 10 points.

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MArch 24th, 2015 – Book: ‘The Saint in Miami’ by Leslie Charteris

by on Mar.24, 2015, under About Us

The Saint in MiamiThe Saint in Miami by Leslie Charteris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an outstanding book for many reasons.

It’s the first Charteris book I’ve read and I must seek more. The writing is very good.The characters are well defined. The plotting also intricately planned. Especially considering today there is the perspective of the past and how much Charteris was cobbling together of the larger World War to come.

Reading this book had me banging my head into the wall as to why authors just won’t write like this today???? Same thoughts while reading Slaughter or even Brett Halliday. Is it so hard to write with intelligence?

The Florida angle: This, for me, is the best part! Charteris went far, far, far beyond my expectations depicting Florida! Clearly he traveled the state and did careful research.

His weakest description is around Miami. The beach area and the coast are written loosely. Though, a commentary of Miami Beach tourists is particularly well done. Since the sketchy description is early on, I figured the Florida setting to get worse. It doesn’t. His driving narrative reflects well the roadways around Dade County in 1940.

He kicks it all up a notch with his writing of areas in the Everglades. A floating gambling pub and surroundings are well depicted. It’s their trip through the Gig Cypress (Which was yet to come and referred to as the Everglades) that Charteris really nails down the writing of sawgrass, swamp trudging, a rain storm, felled trees in the swamp and so much more.

So much of Charteris description of Florida is better than what celebrated Florida authors do today.

A couple of oddities in writing of Florida:
*) The sheriff is a main character throughout. But the more prominant law in the area, the Miami and Miami Beach police are barely mentioned. Seems that is for expediting the story.
*) A character is coming from “Olustee”, which is written as somewhat nearby. Olustee sems to stand in for Raiford.
*) Though heat and sweat are occasionally mentioned, the reality of a visitor from the UK in many situations exposed to heavy heat is not well covered.

The best part of the book is the accurate Florida setting.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 9 of 10.

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January 29th, 2014 – More of my City Hall artwork: A Puppet Fairy Tale

by on Jan.29, 2015, under Cartooning

2015-0129-ArtistChyallenge3of3

Here’s something else I did while at the City of Orlando, though i did a bunch of this with my own time. It was for the puppet theater the City used to have at the City Community Centers.

Each of the characters shown was also a puppet. I remember going out to get photos for this.

This for Facebook Art Challenge #3 of 3. Pam Treadwell

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December 3rd, 2014- My annual Christmas card artwork!

by on Dec.03, 2014, under Illusration

2014-1203-Christmas2014-Inks

My annual Christmas‬ card of ‪‎Florida‬ native critters inside The Ivy House in Ocala, Florida. Used lots of reference for the interior of the 1890 house/restaurant and had to skew things a bit to make the image more readable. Also,used more reference than years past for the critters. I tried to limit the animals a bit so that the interior of the building could be better felt and understood. I finished inking this Monday.

The Dorris Bobber Memorial Palmetto Bug is hidden somewhere. You’d need to see the actual card to find him, though.  This is the first year Swampy, Trilby and Zuber of Swampy’s Florida appear as part of the illustration.

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November 8th, 2014 – Book: ‘Key Biscayne – The Romance of Cape Florida’ by Jim Woodman

by on Nov.08, 2014, under Books

Key Biscayne The Romance of Cape FloridaKey Biscayne The Romance of Cape Florida by Jim Woodman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful book of history! Well written and thorough to it’s goals. The book has a great airy feel in it’s construction and makes reading far more enjoyable than history books can usually be.

Author Woodman does focus most on pre-1900 and whips up the 20th century, up to it’s publication of 1961, in just a few pages.

Bottom line: I highly recommend this hard to find book.
So hard to find, I had to add it to Goodreads.

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On the #drawing board: Happy Gators!

by on Sep.16, 2014, under Cartooning, Swampy's Florida

2014-0916-Trilby-Color-2

This is the finished color art for an upcoming Swampy’s Florida product. There’s a bit more to this, but I’m leaving that for the Swampy’s Florida page. Look for it there.

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