Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

There are books that gently reach out to you. They take your hand and invite you in, beguiling you, teasing you, luring you in so you find yourself in a different world. These are the kind of books I write. I assumed Eliot Schrefer wrote those kinds of novels as well.

I had the pleasure of meeting Eliot at a book event we both attended a few years ago. We were the only two writers there who were younger than 50 (what can I say, it was in Florida) so we quickly started chatting. From the fifteen minutes we spent together he struck me as friendly and kind, very smart but not in an intimidating way, just a really comfortable person to talk to. I was so happy for him when I heard his novel, Endangered, was a finalist for the National Book Award. It's been in my to-read pile for a year. I finally read it and from the first page that book reached out, snatched my lapels and yanked me in. This was no gentle lure. I was mugged.

Endangered is well-researched, exquisitely written, and so searingly powerful I finished reading it in less than 48 hours. Sophie and Otto will teach you everything you need to know about loyalty, courage, and hope in the face of impossible odds.

Here is the first few lines of the book (and I dare you to tell me you don't want to keep reading.)

Concrete can rot. It turns green and black before crumpling away.

Maybe only people from Congo know that.

More later,

South Florida Museum

I'll admit, there are some nice perks to being a novelist. Like going to work in your pyjamas. Or having a meeting with your editor, in your pyjamas. And the short morning commute. In your pyjamas.

Okay, yes, I spend much of my days wearing pyjamas. But yesterday I had to put on some real clothes. Because one of the other great perks (aside from wearing PJs all day and reading novels to work on "craft") is doing research. Sometimes, research can be fun.

Like when I drove to the South Florida Museum and the curator of the collection, Ashley Burke, let me in and took me behind the scenes.

This is Ashley.

That's an Indian depiction of a manatee. Or at least that's what some experts say.

A ancient shell drinking cup. The inside has been perfectly smoothed. There are even right-handed drinking cups and left-handed ones.

The collection is an amazing look at Florida flora, fauna, and evolving civilization and the museum in a gorgeous building and overlooks the sparkling waters of Tampa Bay, because that's how we roll here in Florida.  You should see the view from the library.

Thanks Ashley! Thank you South Florida Museum!

More later,