Books By Jeff Klinkenberg

Son of Real Florida: Stories from My Life. Hardcover, Paperback and Kindle – March 2018


Klinkenberg tells what it was like growing up in pre–air conditioning Florida and becoming a newspaper reporter in mid-century Miami. He introduces us to the stout-hearted folks who have learned to live and even prosper among the insects, sharp-toothed critters, and serious heat. We meet beekeeper Harold P. Curtis and his prized orange blossom honey; frog whisperer Avalon Theisen; Sheepshead George of St. Petersburg; and Miss Martha, the oyster-shucking queen of Apalachicola. This book also takes us tosome of the most interesting, little-known places in the state. We travel to Solomon’s Castle of reclaimed materials, the neighborhood of “Rattlesnake, Florida,” and the smallest post office in the United States. Along the way, Klinkenberg stops to impart true Florida wisdom, from how to eat a Key lime pie to which writers and artists every Floridian should know. Above all, Klinkenberg portrays Florida’s people, places, food, and culture with a deep understanding that does not relegate them to cliché. He writes with warmth and authenticity of a state he still sees as wondrous in its own ways. Though some may think the real Florida is a thing of the past, he says, “Do not tell me Florida is no longer a paradise.”


Alligators in B-Flat: Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida[/readolog_title]Hardcover, Paperback and Kindle – April, 2013

Readers will join Klinkenberg as he roams through the twisted roots of past and present, describing a beautifully swampy places, forests and small towns that are becoming increasingly endangered. The traditional ways of the scallop shuckers, moss weavers, and cane grinders in his stories are now threatened by corporate greed, environmental degradation, and development.  At fishing camps,  country stores,  museums and libraries, Klinkenberg is forever unearthing the magic that makes Florida a special place. Join him in exploring Florida, both old and new.

Pilgrim In The Land of Alligators
 Hardcover, Paperback and Kindle – April, 2008

Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators provides a welcome opportunity for readers to discover the character–and characters–of “real” Florida. In this compilation, drawn in part from his award-winning columns, Klinkenberg celebrates some of the Sunshine State’s most distinctive personalities, including the original Coppertone girl and the actor who played the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Along the way, he travels to swamps, rickety piers, and Florida’s only cook-your-own pancake restaurant.  Klinkenberg roams the state from panhandle to the keys, looking to answer the question, “What makes Florida Florida?” Pilgrim in the Land of Alligators will be a welcome addition to the bookshelves of longtime fans or readers new to his work.


Seasons of Real Florida 
 Hardcover and Paperback– April, 2004

In Jeff Klinkenberg’s Real Florida there are no cartoon mice, art deco dance clubs or exclusive golf courses. For him the Sunshine State’s essence lies in its hidden swamps, forests, rivers and caves and in the forgotten characters and creatures that inhabit them. In this collection, Klinkenberg seeks out these people and places before they disappear.  A skilled writer, he knows when to listen and when to nudge each short story along.



Dispatches from the Land of Flowers: A Snake Man, a Sad Poet, a Lightning Stalker and Other Stories About Real Florida
 Paperback– August, 1996

Visitors to Florida will find some little-known hidey holes to explore in this book. Suburban Floridians can dream of the state’s hidden wonders that Klinkenberg writes about — and maybe be inspired to see them. Subtly hidden among the pages of stories, readers will learn the language of authentic Florida — a “mess” of anything is just the right amount. Some of the people and places in the stories are lumpy, bumpy, and flawed. But they’re all real.


Real Florida: Key Limes Pies, Worm Fiddlers, a Man Called Frog and Other Endangered Species
 Paperback– April, 1993

No wonder Jeff Klinkenberg loves Florida. At any time of year he can find a place to enjoy or a person with an irresistible story. Arranged by season, the book opens in the fall, which Klinkenberg says is like spring in the north — a time of celebration. Fair weather, good food, and the joys of nature lie ahead, described here in essays that are like time capsules of “old Florida values.” Preserving the past, they reveal Klinkenberg’s waggish appreciation of the state’s history, folkways, and landscape.



Jeff Klinkenberg is the ghost orchid of Florida nonfiction; an observer who prefers swamps and shadows to sunshine banalities; a prose writer of distinction whose roots seek out, then elegantly entwine, that which is fine and funny, outrageous and rare about our beloved state. Alligators in B-Flat is a virtuoso performance, and proves, once again, that Klinkenberg is among our finest writers.”—Randy Wayne White
You read this fine writer and you stare with him into the canals for the dark shape of a manatee and listen for rumors of alligators and stand over the grave of a green snake in the yard in mourning. This is a writer who has never forgotten any of the mystery of this mysterious place, who never allowed his paradise to be paved over in concrete, at least inside his heart, and I could read him all day.”—Rick Bragg 

No one captures the old, secret Florida, the Florida of the swamps and forests where alligators and panthers rule, like Klinkenberg does. He uses his formidable reportorial skills to get fantastic (often hilariously funny) stories which belie the ghastly six-lane, strip-mall, gated-community, golf-course, air-conditioned, theme-parked Nature-wrecking Florida that most of its citizens know. Almost everything Klinkenberg writes is a public service as well as an enriching and educating experience.”—Diane Roberts, author of Dream State