WITH FAMILY, WORK AND COMMUNITY OBLIGATIONS, MANY OF US DON’T HAVE TIME TO READ AS OFTEN AS WE’D LIKE. But when we get into vacation mode, that changes. The warm sand, expansive views, silenced alarm clocks and reclined chairs create the perfect setting in which to calm down and open up good books. Think about it. How often do you look around and see lots of people reading at once? Besides academic environments and libraries, I see more books on the beach than anywhere else.
I particularly enjoy reading books written about my home or favorite vacation spots. Fortunately, there’s an abundance of books written about/set in/inspired by South Walton County.
Local author Deborah Rine has lived all over the world, but she now calls Freeport, Florida, home. Rine applies her life experience, bright imagination and obvious love of 30A beaches to her writing. Enjoy her mysteries series: The Girl on 30A, Envy on 30A and Missing on 30A.
Grayton Winds by Michael Lindley is a riveting historical tale. Lindley has several best-selling books with beach backdrops.
30-A Supper Club by Liza Elliott —
Dive deep into Southern history with this saga of relationships, drama, and family secrets.
The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King — King is no stranger to writing finesse as she is the widow of the great Pat Conroy. In The Sunday Wife, King wows readers with her expert use of conflict, character development and prose to spin the unusual story of a preacher’s wife.
Study up on folklore and fact with Harvey H. Jackson’s The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera: An Insider’s History
of the Florida-Alabama Coast. Jackson addresses almost 100 years of history through personal, commercial and cultural interpretations of life on the Gulf Coast.
Florida’s Northwest: First Places, Wild Places, Favorite Places by Michael O’Donovan and Robin Rowan — I was recently inspired to order this book for myself after a day trip to Cape San Blas, about 80 miles east of 30A. The book description reads, “ … the authors, both long-time residents, encourage locals and visitors to plan their own road trip into the wilds of Florida’s Northwest, using this book as a starting point.”
Another intriguing travel book is Northwest Florida Backroads Travel: Day Trips Off The Beaten Path: Towns, Beaches, Historic Sites, Wineries, Attractions by Mike Miller.
South Walton residents and visitors may indulge anytime in fresh seafood and local fruits and vegetables. Why not dine in after researching and preparing new dishes?
Gulf Coast Oysters: Classic & Modern Recipes of a Southern Renaissance by oyster expert Irv Miller delights readers with gorgeous photography and delicious recipes.
Get really local with Coastal Flavors and Flowers: A Seagrove Garden Club Cookbook. The book provides over 300 recipes at all skill levels and for every occasion. As a bonus, the authors share stories and photos of real life on 30A beaches.
Seaside A to Z — Children can learn about this one-of-a-kind town, thanks to author Katie Hines Porterfield and illustrator Liza Snyder.
In Fred Visits the Emerald Coast, author and artist Diane Shapley-Box uses charming animal characters to teach children about heroism, friendship and everything Emerald Coast.
A Turtle’s View of the Ocean Blue — Readers follow a sea turtle through his underwater world. Author Catherine Barr and illustrator Brendan Kearney teach youngsters about the five oceans on Earth.
Goodnight 30A — Part of a series,
this children’s book showcases original illustrations of all the iconic little towns along 30A. Everybody here has this book, and you’ll likely see it in many bunkrooms.
The 30A Coloring Book — Adults and children find the joy of coloring with this collection of hand-illustrated scenes from Dune Allen, WaterSound, Alys Beach and many other picturesque spots in South Walton County.
I suggest stopping by a local bookstore to make an informed decision. Tell employees your favorite genres, and let them help you select the perfect literary getaway. I like to browse Sundog Books in Seaside (in operation over 30 years), Blue Giraffe in Inlet Beach (also has fabulous art), and The Hidden Lantern Bookstore in Rosemary (showcases local authors and content). Happy beach reading!