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Tales Beneath the Sun: A Fort Myers Beach Reading List

Fort Myers Beach in Florida is a place that beckons you with its sugar-white sand, turquoise waters, and endless sunshine. It’s the kind of place that invites you to sink your toes into the warm sand, feel the ocean breeze on your face, and let your worries drift away with the tide.

And do you know what can make your beach escape even more enriching? Pack a great book (or two), perhaps even a story that captures the vibrant spirit of this coastal paradise. Reading is like a mini-vacation in itself, whisking you away on adventures within the pages.

Whether you’re in the mood for a light beach read or a more intriguing tale set against the backdrop of sandy beaches, there’s a perfect novel waiting to be discovered. Besides, immersing yourself in local literature can deepen your appreciation for the unique character and charm of Fort Myers Beach.

Are you ready to fill your beach bag with some literary treasures? This blog will bring you a curated list of titles that are ideal companions for your Fort Myers Beach getaway.

Happy reading!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Since this is Florida, let’s start with some gators. This coming-of-age story is set in the fictional Gatorland, a Florida gator-wrestling theme park run by the Bigtree family.

Ava Bigtree, our thirteen-year-old protagonist, finds her world turned upside down after the death of her alligator-wrangling mother. With the family business struggling and her father retreating from reality, Ava must navigate the murky waters of adolescence, family drama, and the mysteries of the swamp itself.

While not your typical beach read, Swamplandia! offers a unique blend of elements that can enhance your beach experience. The vivid descriptions of the Florida Everglades will transport you from your beach chair to a lush, mysterious landscape.

Swamplandia! was a critical darling upon its release in 2011, hailed as “A suspenseful, deeply haunted book” by The New York Times and filled with gorgeous language by The Oregonian.

The author, Karen Russell, is an American novelist known for her magical realist style and imaginative storytelling. This was her debut novel and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. And this is a big feat!


The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Here’s a book that makes you laugh, smile, and cry. The Guncle is a story that follows Patrick, a flamboyant former sitcom star living a carefree life in Palm Springs, Florida. His world is upended when his niece and nephew, Maisie and Grant, are sent to live with him after their mother’s death and their father enters rehab. 

Patrick, initially overwhelmed, creates a set of quirky “Guncle Rules” to navigate this new family dynamic. Through laughter, tears, and unexpected adventures, Patrick and the kids learn to heal, support each other, and discover the true meaning of family.

This is a delightful summer read for several reasons: it’s heartwarming and humorous, with Patrick’s witty remarks and the children’s innocent observations keeping you entertained. The story also explores themes of resilience and hope, offering a feel-good escape that resonates with the optimism of a beach vacation.

The author, Steven Rowley, is an American author who has written several novels and screenplays. His writing style is known for its blend of humor, heart, and relatable characters.

Circe by Madeline Miller

To us, Greek myths go very well with beach settings! Circe is a captivating retelling of the Greek myth of the sorceress Circe, daughter of the sun god Helios. Unlike the often-villainized Circe of Homer’s Odyssey, Madeline Miller paints a nuanced portrait of a woman ostracized for her power and yearning for connection.

The story follows Circe’s exile to a lonely island, her exploration of witchcraft, and her encounters with various mythological figures like Hermes, Daedalus, and Odysseus. Circe grapples with themes of identity, belonging, and the complexities of love and loss.

This isn’t your typical light and fluffy beach read, but the vivid descriptions of the island setting transport you to a world of sun-drenched shores and mysterious forests. Besides, the story’s themes of self-discovery and connection resonate with the introspective mood of a beach vacation.

Madeline Miller is an American novelist and classics scholar known for her beautiful prose, strong female characters, and ability to breathe new life into ancient myths.

Doc Ford series by Randy Wayne White

The Doc Ford series by Randy Wayne White centers on Marion “Doc” Ford, a former CIA agent and marine biologist. Leaving his clandestine past behind, Doc establishes a marine research lab and a tiki bar called “Cigar Hut” on a fictional island inspired by Captiva, dubbed Doc Ford’s Conch Republic — and so many stories unfold.

These thrilling narratives by Randy Wayne White seamlessly blend elements of mystery, suspense, and environmentalism. Doc’s unique skill set and his circle of remarkable friends often come into play as he tackles various challenges.

Wondering what is a good starting point for the series? “The Mangrove Coast” is an excellent choice. The series also includes titles like “Sanibel Flats,” “The Heat Islands,” and “Captiva.” White’s prose is crisp and engaging, offering insights into marine biology, ecology, and the intricate ecosystems of Florida. The series’ environmental themes resonate deeply with anyone who appreciates the natural wonders of Fort Myers Beach.

Happy Place by Emily Henry

What about a journey into the realm of romantic comedy? Look no further than Happy Place for your vacation reading pleasure. Renowned TikTok sensation and New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry weaves a tale of a couple navigating the complexities of a faux relationship during a getaway with their closest friends. But can they effortlessly maintain the facade of their affair, deceive their friends, and suppress their true emotions?

As the narrative unfolds, you’ll become intimately acquainted with Emily Henry’s intricately crafted and authentic characters, becoming entangled in the intricate web of their love, relationships, and personal development. This novel is replete with richly detailed settings, vibrant character portrayals, and a generous dose of humor — all while also allowing for moments of poignant reflection.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Another delightful addition to Emily Henry’s repertoire perfect for a vacation is “Beach Read,” published in 2020. This novel follows the journeys of two writers: January Andrews, a successful romance novelist, and Augustus Everett, a literary fiction author.

Fate intertwines their paths as former college rivals who find themselves staying in neighboring beach houses, both dealing with writer’s block. In a whimsical twist of fate, they strike a unique arrangement – January will venture into the realm of literary fiction, while Augustus will try to craft a happy romance novel.

Within the pages of this book lies a poignant exploration of themes such as grief, betrayal, and the process of rediscovering love. Much like the book above, “Beach Read” captivates readers with its characters, ingenious premise, and profound emotional resonance. And with a title like this one, it simply had to be included in our list of recommendations!|

Great Books to Enjoy on a Trip to Fort Myers Beach

Looking for the perfect companions for your Fort Myers Beach getaway? Picture yourself sinking into a cozy beach chair, surrounded by the soothing warmth of the Florida sun and the gentle melody of ocean waves, while diving into a captivating book. It’s the epitome of relaxation, isn’t it?

Here are some extra ideas to make your reading experience even better:

    • Support Local Gems: Skip the big chain bookstores and seek out independent shops in the area. You’ll find unique reads that offer local flavor and history, plus you’ll be supporting the community.

    • Read Local Authors: Before you go, research more writers from the area. Look for stories that capture the essence of the region, like novels, short stories, or poems — they all work. They can offer a whole new perspective on the place you’re visiting.

    • Find Your Perfect Spot: Whether it’s a cozy cafe with a warm ambiance or a quiet park bench nestled amongst the trees, seek out a reading haven that inspires you. The right spot can truly elevate your bookish escape.

    • Audiobook Adventures: Love the idea of a story but short on time? Audiobooks are a lifesaver! Download titles onto your phone or device and listen while sightseeing, during long car rides, or even on a scenic hike (just be mindful of your surroundings!).

    • Embrace Digital Books: Traveling light? E-books are your friend. Pack a whole library in your pocket and enjoy a vast selection of titles wherever you wander.

Want more tips on Fort Myers Beach? Head to our blog, where we’ve written about several topics, including where to go for some retail therapy, the best restaurants in town, and a complete guide to fishing and hunting around Fort Myers Beach.

We also have a dedicated page on things to do in and around Fort Myers Beach. So there’s a lot of information you might want to check out to make your trip a one-of-a-kind!

Wondering where to stay during your visit to Fort Myers Beach?

Our resort-style vacation rentals in Fort Myers Beach cater to all tastes and budgets. Whether you choose to explore the sights or stay indoors, you’ll find everything you need to make yourself feel right at home.

And guess what? You can bring your dog along! We offer beautiful pet-friendly homes on Fort Myers Beach.

To experience the highest quality in amenities, decor, and cleanliness, book your stay with Sun Palace Vacations. We guarantee you’ll have the most enjoyable and relaxing vacation ever!

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