Finding some good fiction to read is a challenge because of the time I have available for searching. I want to know that what I’m buying is going to be worth the time, not to mention the money.  I subscribed to something called BookBub, which sends me recommendations for ebooks, and the New York Times Review, and I am a member of Goodreads, but with short blocks of free time for researching, these are almost useless to me.

I want to know that what I’m buying is going to be worth the time, not to mention the money.

So since my Amazon Prime Reading recommendation for Cocoa Beach came with a free sample, I could check it out on the bus on the way to school.  I downloaded it and it wasn’t terrible, so I paid the $13.99 for the whole book (by a New York Times Bestseller List author, by the way) and I’m on my way to what I hope will be a satisfying reading experience.

(I’m not going to write a book review, just in case you’re wondering; I’m just going to make a couple of comments.)


First of all: I love Florida. I have loved it since I was eight years old when I went for the first time. I love movies that are filmed in Florida, I love television series about Florida, I love Karl Hiaasen‘s books. I loved visiting the sister ship to Ernest Hemmingway’s Pilar on Islamorada in the Keys. I loved the mangroves and brought home a mangrove sprout to give to my grandmother. The shrubs that are only houseplants in the rest of the country grow to tree-size there.  The boat rides with my brother through Boca Raton to the Atlantic were idyllic. I love the blue water and white sand vacations with my kids on the Panhandle so much it breaks my heart.


So a novel about South Florida set in the 1920s? Florida and history! It could be a dream come true!

I’ve read about five chapters of Coco Beach so far, and I am enjoying the way the author switches back and forth between past and present in alternating chapters. I can see the landscapes and settings from her descriptions, some of which are quite fresh. Although her attempts to portray human emotions are more “telling” and less “showing,” I am willing to concede that I understand what is happening in the mind of the protagonist.

But then I begin to see adverbs.

Stephen King (famously) said, in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft: “The road to Hell is paved with adverbs.”

He also said he can be a good sport about them.

Am I becoming a more discriminating reader or just a pedantic nit-picker?

I can too, I guess . . .  but then when they start to jump out at me, I think maybe I’m on that road.

“Staring at a photograph while the clock just ticks and ticks, ten o’clock drawing inevitably toward eleven.”

How else can ten o’clock reach eleven, except inevitably?

Am I becoming a more discriminating reader or just a pedantic nit-picker?

I put “literary fiction” into the search bar and returned a Goodreads page with a whole bunch of possibilities. I’ve downloaded a couple of samples to read on the bus.

Good reading material comes from unexpected places; one of my students gave me a copy of Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune–it’s so good it breaks my heart, and it’s been translated from Spanish! It doesn’t take place in Florida, but it’s very well-written, and tells its heroine’s story with believable characterization and lots of research into the period.

And the author doesn’t get carried away with adverbs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s