Celebrating Authors & Books at Word of South

We are once again excited to participate in Word of South, Tallahassee’s annual festival celebrating literature and music at Cascades Park April 13-15.

Word of South is unique because it brings together writers and musicians, providing the local community with a venue to appreciate the relationship between literature and music. As the festival’s founder Mark Mustian said after Word of South’s inaugural event in 2015, “There’s a lot of value to people realizing…that books are fun, music’s fun, and the two of them together could be really fun.”

To foster this collaboration and inspire readers of all ages, Midtown Reader will be at Word of South on April 14 and 15 to support the festival and its artists. We are proud to join Word of South to applaud and support many of the 2017 winners of the Florida Book Awards (just announced last month), which are coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries to celebrate the best new work in Florida literature.

So please join Midtown Reader at Word of South for a celebration of these (and many other) authors and books:

The Potlikker Papers, John T. Edge

"The one food book you must read this year." Southern Living

This book provides a people's history that reveals how Southerners shaped American culinary identity and how race relations impacted Southern food culture over six revolutionary decades. Over the last three generations, wrenching changes have transformed the South, and The Potlikker Papers tells the story of that dynamism—and reveals how Southern food has become a shared culinary language for the nation.

Dear Martin, Nic Stone

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning New York Times bestselling debut, a William C. Morris Award Finalist.

The Ice House, Laura Lee Smith

Laura Lee Smith is returning to Tallahassee to participate in Word of South. Ms. Smith visited Midtown Reader a few months ago to read from and discuss The Ice House, and we are thrilled to welcome her back.

Based in Jacksonville, The Ice House follows the beleaguered MacKinnons as they weather the possible loss of the family business, a serious medical diagnosis, and the slings and arrows of familial discord. Witty and heartbreaking by turns, The Ice House is a vibrant portrait of multifaceted, exquisitely human characters that readers will not soon forget.

Smith was awarded first prize in the 2017 Florida Book Awards for General Fiction.

The Guerilla Factory: The Making of Special Forces Officers,

The Green Berets, Tony Schwalm

With a veteran Green Beret as your guide, go deep inside the grueling training that every Special Forces soldier must endure to become an elite fighting machine. With “a fresh, authentic voice” (Publishers Weekly), former Special Forces commander and current instructor Tony Schwalm takes readers deep inside the training on the notorious Q course, required for all Special Forces soldiers before they can join the elite Green Berets to defend our country in nontraditional operations.

Come Home, Patricia Gussin

Nicole Nelson and Ahmed Masud are a dynamic, highly successful Philadelphia couple. But cracks are beginning to appear in their fairy-tale life: lingering post-9/11 prejudice against Arab men, accumulating malpractice lawsuits for Ahmed, and most recently, pressure from Ahmed's wealthy family in Cairo for him to return to Egypt—permanently—with his son.

The pressure from Ahmed’s family peaks as the Mubarak regime is seriously threatened by protestors in Egypt. His parents need Ahmed back home to help move their fortune and family out of Egypt and into South America. Ahmed must make a decision—stay with Nicole in America or obey his father. And what about their son? Tragic consequences, which Ahmed could have never foreseen, propel both families on a path toward unspeakable tragedy.

Gussin was awarded first prize in the 2017 Florida Book Awards for Popular Fiction.

Because of the Sun, Jenny Torres Sanchez

After Dani’s mother’s violent death, her life is thrown into turmoil when she is relocated from south Florida to New Mexico to live with an aunt she never knew she had. The awkwardness between them is palpable. One day, she meets Paulo, who understands how much Dani is hurting. Although she is hesitant at first, a mutual trust and affection develops between them. And as she and her aunt begin to connect, Dani learns about her mother’s past. Forgiving isn’t easy, but maybe it’s the only way to move forward.

Sanchez was awarded first prize in the 2017 Florida Book Awards for Young Adult Fiction.

The Jews of Key West: Smugglers, Cigar Makers, and

Revolutionaries (1823-1969), Arlo Haskell

Long before Miami was on the map, Key West had Florida's largest economy and an influential Jewish community. This book traces their history as 19th century peddlers, their roles as 20th century sympathizers with José Martí's rebels, and their resistance to the anti-immigration hysteria that swept the United States during the 1920s. Ultimately, many Jews left Key West during the 1930s, and their stories were ignored or forgotten by the mythmakers that reinvented Key West as a tourist mecca. Until now.

Haskell was awarded first prize in the 2017 Florida Book Awards for Florida Nonfiction.

Census, Jesse Ball

When a widower receives the devastating news that he doesn't have long to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult son with Down syndrome. With a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son.

During their travels, the man and his son encounter a wide range of human experience and reactions to their work as census takers. As they approach the end of their trip, the man must confront a series of questions: What is the purpose of the census? Is he complicit in its mission? And just how will he learn to say goodbye to his son?

Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Kaveh Akbar

Addiction. Recovery. Repeat. Akbar blazes the poetry scene with this introspective, powerful and passionate debut.

Akbar was awarded first prize in the 2017 Florida Book Awards for Poetry.

An Honorable War: The Spanish-American War Begins, Robert


Politics, love, and war swirl around U.S. Navy Captain Peter Wake in Havana when the USS Maine explodes on a quiet evening in February, 1898. Working with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt in the tense pre-war days, carrying out a perilous espionage mission inside Cuba, and leading a disastrous raid on the Cuban coast, Wake is in the middle of it all. This is the first of a dynamic trilogy set during the Spanish-American War in the Caribbean, when America changes forever into a global power.

Macomber was awarded second prize in the 2017 Florida Book Awards for Popular Fiction.

Baby on Board: How Animals Carry Their Young,

Marianne Berkes

How do animals carry their babies? Not in backpacks or strollers, but tucked in pouches . . . Gripped in teeth . . . Propped on backs . . . Even underneath! Marianne Berkes' rhyming verses present some of the many ways that animals carry their young. Cathy Morrison's magical illustrations capture the intimate moments of mother and baby.

Berkes was awarded first prize in the 2017 Florida Book Awards for Younger Children’s Literature.