Oh, Florida!

To some people, Florida is a paradise; to others, a punch line. As “Oh, Florida!” shows, it’s both of these and, more important, it’s a Petri dish, producing trends that end up influencing the rest of the country. To outsiders, Florida seems baffling. It’s a state where the voters went for Barack Obama twice, yet elected a Tea Party candidate as governor. Florida is touted as a carefree paradise, yet it’s also known for its perils―alligators, sinkholes, pythons, hurricanes, and sharks, to name a few. It attracts 90 million visitors a year, some drawn by its impressive natural beauty, others bewitched by its manmade fantasies.

“Oh, Florida!” explores those contradictions and shows how they fit together to make this the most interesting state. It is the first book to explore the reasons why Florida is so wild and weird―and why that’s okay. But there is far more to Florida than its sideshow freakiness. “Oh, Florida!” explains how Florida secretly, subtly influences all the other states in the Union, both for good and for ill.

Author and journalist Craig Pittman will share from his wealth of “Oh, Florida!” stories. A book signing will follow his presentation. This program is a part of the Florida Humanities Council speaker series “Weird, Wild, Wonderful Florida.”

Craig Pittman is an award-winning reporter and columnist for Florida’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times. He is a native Floridian who has written three previous books about Florida topics. In 2013, he wrote a popular blog for Slate called “Oh, Florida!” which became the genesis for this book, and which led to multiple appearances on TV and radio discussing why Florida is so odd and entertaining. “Oh, Florida!” won the 2017 Florida Book Award for Florida Non-Fiction. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.