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Sunshine State
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
Rising literary star and Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award finalist Sarah Gerard uses her experiences growing up along Florida’s gulf coast to illuminate the struggles of modern human survival—physical, emotional, environmental—through a collection of essays exploring intimacy, addiction, obsession, religion, homelessness, and incarceration. With the personal insight of The Empathy Exams, the societal exposal of Nickel and Dimed, and the stylistic innovation and intensity of her own break-out debut novel Binary Star, Sarah Gerard’s Sunshine State uses the intimately personal to unearth the deep reservoirs of humanity buried in the corners of our world often hardest to face. In the collection’s title essay, Gerard volunteers at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a world renowned bird refuge. There she meets its founder, who once modeled with a pelican on his arm for a Dewar’s Scotch campaign but has since declined into a pit of fraud and madness. He becomes our embezzling protagonist whose tales about the birds he “rescues” never quite add up. Gerard’s personal stories are no less eerie or poignant: An essay that begins as a look at Gerard’s first relationship becomes a heart-wrenching exploration of acquaintance rape and consent. An account of intimate female friendship pivots midway through, morphing into a meditation on jealousy and class. Sunshine State offers a unique look at Florida, a state whose economically and environmentally imperiled culture serves as a lens through which we can examine some of the most pressing issues haunting our nation.
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review
Mitch
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Pickpick

This set of essays, part memoir, part journalistic, part autobiographical, reveal a really interesting cast of characters that have in some way connected with the author. When it worked - it was real, written with passion & heart and the characters were drawn with deep interest & respect. Where it was less satisfying, it felt the author had strayed too far from her roots, spent too long on her high school years and finished some essays abruptly.

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Mitch
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Some nice evening light to end the day with.... Happy Tuesday. 👍🏼

Hoopiefoot Love your sandals!
5d
Mitch @Hoopiefoot thank you! Xx 5d
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Mitch
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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This week our #BFC group is all about selfcare, listening to ourselves, being kind to ourselves and having fun! So in that spirit I walked home from work today slowly, started a new book (I know, walking and reading beside a canal is hazardous- I‘m a seasoned pro!) and will be having a chamomile tea bath before bed! @chrissyreadit @erinsuegreads @itchyfeetreader @microbemom @phatsallylee @blaire @sudi @wanderinglynn

sudi That's great, i could never do that i'm too afraid of falling 😅. How do you like the book so far? 1w
Mitch @sudi it gets pretty busy in the mornings - full of commuting cyclists - not great for reading and staying dry! 1w
Mitch @sudi I‘ve just read the first chapter and I liked it. The style wasn‘t what I was expecting and I‘m hoping it‘ll give me #staycation feels 1w
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MicrobeMom Love it! Enjoy! You deserve it. Beautiful photo. 1w
sudi @Mitch enjoy your #staycation 😎💃 1w
TheEllieMo A fellow reading-and-walking person! I live near a canal and often read-and-walk along it. It‘s a skill 😉 1w
AmyG Lovely picture! 1w
wanderinglynn I always get asked how I can read & walk. I say decades of practice! 😂 What a lovely spot to walk by. 💜 1w
Suet624 You remind me of the main character in Milkman. She walks and reads at the same time. 1w
Mitch @Suet624 haha...I‘ve not read that, but walking and reading is great! Give it a go! (edited) 1w
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Mindyrecycles
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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I have this on my shelf. Like the author, I grew up on Florida‘s gulf coast. I love Tucson but I‘m very sentimental about my childhood home. #soakupthesun #songsofsummer

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Mitch
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Recently I‘ve been reading #onenonfictionamonth and been loving it. This is my #bookhaul from #nyc. Didn‘t realise just how non fiction focused my book buying was this week!

wanderinglynn Awesome haul! Did you take a separate suitcase just for books? 😉 3mo
Mitch @wanderinglynn we took one very empty one out and brought a bulging one back! 3mo
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Mitch @Riveted_Reader_Melissa restrained but quality! 🤣 3mo
squirrelbrain Ha! @wanderinglynn -I was going to ask that very question! Great haul 👍 3mo
wanderinglynn @Mitch 👍🏻 Excellent plan. Because that‘s a fantastic selection. 3mo
Crazeedi Nice!! 3mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Ohhh I didn't realise Gentleman Jack was a book. Not that I'm surprised.. A nice haul!! 3mo
LeahBergen Nice! 👏🏻👏🏻 3mo
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cajunsyd
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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I am really enjoying these essays thus far, not a genre that I read very often.

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DannyOlda
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Sarah Gerard reading as part of an event at the organization/gallery I work with in conjunction with another cool nonprofit called Wordier Than Thou. (A horn self-toot: I curated the exhibition in the image 😊)

saresmoore 👏 I love to see good art things happening in FL! 11mo
DannyOlda We've definitely been busy lately in the St. Pete, Clearwater area, @saresmoore ! 11mo
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saresmoore
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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I didn‘t love this collection of essays—I kind of wish she had just written a novel instead—but Sarah Gerard certainly qualifies as a #ModernGirl. She did an excellent job, at times, of capturing the eerie and jarring atmosphere of Florida as I‘ve always known it.

#FierceFeb

LauraBeth Well at least the book cover is nice 👍 1y
saresmoore @LauraBeth That‘s why I kept it! 1y
emilyhaldi I agree, this one didnt quite do it for me 😏 1y
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saresmoore @emilyhaldi It digressed quickly after the first one, “BFF”, I thought. I mean, I really don‘t care about the history of her parents‘ cultish church... 1y
batsy Such a shame when books don't quite live up to their covers! Florida nature was such an integral part of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy; it was almost its own beautiful, weird character. 1y
Cinfhen I was thinking that @batsy about the gorgeous cover...I remember @emilyhaldi was reading this book FOREVER 1y
emilyhaldi Lol @Cinfhen I will never live that down! 😂 1y
Cinfhen I respect your tenacity ~ you're a no quitter @emilyhaldi 🙌🏻❣️How's hubby feeling??! Pain meds!?!? 1y
emilyhaldi @Cinfhen I definitely should have bailed sooner on that one 😏 hubby is pretty good! Lots of pain meds and movie marathons (and reading obviously 😊) 1y
Cinfhen Sounds like my house on a random Tuesday 😉 @emilyhaldi hope you guys have a wonderful weekend 1y
saresmoore @batsy Ooh, that pushes the Southern Reach books up my list. I was not a fan of Karen Russell‘s Swamplandia, but it definitely catches the same vibe. I grew up surrounded by the weird Florida landscape (and people). It always struck me as uncanny & fueled some bizarre childhood fantasies (and nightmares). 1y
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DannyOlda
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Pickpick

Living in the area where most of these essays take place, the book literally hits very close to home. Most of the time, very interesting and enjoyable book. (Cringe at the way Ybor was mispronounced, but good narration otherwise)

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Camille2
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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kdwinchester
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Pickpick

It‘s #NonfictionNovember!! One my my #November #BookRecs would def be Sarah Gerard‘s SUNSHINE STATE, a collection of (mostly) long-form essays. So well-researched and fascinating. One of the last essays about grandparents and aging had me in tears. Just so well done.

Mallorybayers Definitely want to read that! Are they all based in The Sunshine State? (That‘s where I‘m from) also this reminds me of the cover art for The Shell Collector, which is a collection of short stories by Anthony Doerr! 2y
kdwinchester @Mallorybayers They are all set in Florida, yes. But the cover is a bit deceiving; it‘s not nature writing at all. And yes, it totally looks like THE SHELL COLLECTOR‘s cover! 2y
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OffTheBeatenShelf.com
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
Panpan

Read “BFF” and “Rabbit” and ignore the rest. This collection could be vastly improved by cutting 2/3 of it. 👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼

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OffTheBeatenShelf.com
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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I‘m conflicted because I believe you shouldn‘t feel bad about giving up on a book you‘re not enjoying, but at the same time, I hate to have a DNF on the shelf!

I‘m 4 hours and 3 essays into the audiobook and I‘m giving it one more essay before I quit. This essay collection just doesn‘t know what it wants to be & you lose her voice in the bizarro journalism pieces. What this collection needed (and didn‘t get) was a good editor with a critical eye

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OffTheBeatenShelf.com
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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This cover is gorgeous! But I‘m going to need this to pick up quick or it‘s going to be a DNF. The first essay was pretty good, but this second one is so bland in addition to being about 10,000 words too long!

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AlizaApp
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Mehso-so

A bit hit-or-miss, as is common for an essay collection. I really liked “Records” about her high school years spent taking drugs and going to an arts school, but wasn‘t really into the ones about Amway or Christian Science.

saresmoore Pretty much my feelings on this, too. 2y
quietjenn I haven't kept up with this because that Amway chapter is so darn long. 2y
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kdwinchester
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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It was difficult choosing which essays collections to talk about this month on @thereadingwomen #podcast. There are so many amazing stellar essay collections out there these days. But Jesmyn Ward is always a no brainer. And BAD FEMINIST was my first introduction to #RoxaneGay. SUNSHINE STATE surprised me this year; I love Gerard's long-form essays. Need essays? We're here for you.

Booksnchill There is a Kindle sale on Sunshine State right now 2y
8leagueboot I'm reading Ward's "Sing, Unburied, Sing" Right now and now I need to read everything she's ever worked on. 2y
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thereadingwomen
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Pickpick

Hope you all are having a fantastic weekend. This month is essay month on the podcast and one of our picks is SUNSHINE STATE by Sarah Gerard. It's her first essay collection and has some outstanding long-form pieces. Hear Kendra's full review on Ep. 29, available wherever you get your podcasts.

Zoe_reads_books Such a gorgeous cover! 2y
Booksnchill Cool- there is a 1.99 kindle sale on this one right now! 2y
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emilyhaldi
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Bailedbailed

I tried, I really did. But I made it halfway through this book and not a single story captured me. The lesson here is - don't judge a book by it's cover 😏

PurpleyPumpkin But it's such a pretty cover!😍 2y
saresmoore Agreed. I liked the first essay okay, but the rest just made me feel in turns apathetic and mildly icky. And yet! I still haven't given it away because it's just so purty... 🙃 2y
Reviewsbylola Finally 😂😂 2y
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Mdargusch Yep. I knew it . It was taking you so long to get through this and I'm not a short story fan anyway. Darn though, because that cover is everything. 🌞🌴🐊 2y
quietjenn Pretty close to bailing on this, too. It's so disappointing, thus far and I never feel like going back to it. 2y
Cinfhen Ha! Saw that bail coming!!! And I agree with mom....cover is pretty spectacular 2y
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LitLogophile
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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@Little_Reader challenged me to post a #blackandwhite book stack! 😀🔲🔳 I challenge @rachelsbrittain to post a rainbow 🌈 stack! #BookColorTag

rachelsbrittain Thanks for passing along the challenge @LitLogophile ! So fun 😊🌈 2y
Little_Reader Love it! 2y
LitLogophile Thanks for tagging me! @Little_Reader 😁 2y
89 likes3 comments
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caitfish4311
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
Mehso-so

I have to admit, this was a bit of a slog. I like personal essays a lot, but a couple of these were pretty boring. I enjoyed the most personal ones, like the one about growing up in the late nineties (I can relate), and the one about her grandparents. I enjoyed this book moderately, but wouldn't especially recommend it.

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Mindyrecycles
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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I went to Key West Island Bookstore today and here's my haul. Two new books and two used that look like they might be forgotten treasures. Wish we'd had a week in Key West instead of one day. #bookhaul

mcipher Oh, we just went to Key West a few months ago and loved it! We did four days, which was pretty perfect. 😊 2y
ValerieAndBooks Taking notes-- hoping to visit Key West sometime soon!! 2y
Nonaroo I love Key West! We eloped there! 2y
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Chelleo Yay! Visiting Key West for the first time in Oct. any recommendations @mcipher @Nonaroo @Mindyrecycles (edited) 2y
Mindyrecycles @Chelleo Lucky you! We only had the one day but we loved everything we did. Old Town Trolley tour, Hemingway house, Shipwreck museum, sunset celebration on Mallory Square. I deliberately picked Key West Island bookstore because I saw it carried used and new. If we'd had more time: Books & Books, Fort Zachary Taylor state park and we'd have definitely taken a day to snorkel and swim. Also there are civil war prisons that looked interesting. 2y
Mindyrecycles We had lunch at the Blackfin and dinner at Pepe's. Both great! 2y
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Jokila
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Current Read! I loved "Records" because I too went to high school in Tampa, and picked this book up for nostalgia. The more factual essays on the history of Christian Science and Amway didn't give me the Florida fix I was looking for, but her writing is gorgeous and I'm hoping for more personal memoir in the second half ??

TheLondonBookworm Gorgeous cover! 2y
saresmoore I grew up in Central FL and bought this for the same reason! I bailed on the book after "Records". I loved "BFF", but the rest felt either too nostalgic or just boring to me. I kept thinking: I could've written this, but better... ? 2y
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kendrastephaniekaryn
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Many many many thanks to @Jaberwocky for recommending that we stop by #fairisfair while we're in Calgary. I have a soft spot for cluttered used bookstores and this one did not disappoint! I picked up two TBR books as a bonus. #bookhaul #yyc

Jabberwocky So glad you went!!! I've been going there since I was a little kid. Always feels like a treasure trove. 2y
LeahBergen It's a great shop. ❤️ 2y
kendrastephaniekaryn @Jaberwocky @LeahBergen It's such a treasure trove! We have a used book shop called Wee Book Inn here in Edmonton but this is a much different vibe. I'm so glad you told me about it! 2y
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saresmoore
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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"You were diagnosed, but you were never crazy. You were caught between the fear of leaving your mother and the fear of staying. Caught in the horror of being complicit in your endangerment every time she told you to fix her a drink. Caught in the need to protect her, though she didn't protect you; caught between the habit of being a child, obedient, and the need to rebel, as a woman.
It's not your fault you couldn't escape."

saresmoore I've only read the first "essay" in this collection and holy shit. This rings very true to my experience growing up in the lower class, drug-addled microcosm of Florida. Great writing, too. 2y
rachellayown That first essay!!!! 2y
LeahBergen Wow. That's powerful. 2y
saresmoore @rachellayown Seriously. She slapped me around and I just let her. 2y
saresmoore @LeahBergen I have the feeling this whole collection is going to strike a resonating chord. She's quite unflinching, considering this is nonfiction. 2y
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saresmoore
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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A candid of my current situation; shhh, I'm hiding in here! I'm very excited to start the tagged book.

LeahBergen Nice!! 👏🏻👏🏻 (shhhh...). 2y
Cinfhen Any chance you'll be able to get to Miami Beach next week? I'm heading down to Florida on Wednesday, have a wedding Sunday and staying through July 12 @saresmoore @KarenUK 2y
KarenUK @Cinfhen @saresmoore It would be so much fun to meet up! New job schedule is a bit crazy, but I could do evenings of 10th or 11th? Or Day time on Saturday? 2y
saresmoore @Cinfhen @KarenUK I will check with my hubby, but he's been slammed at work, so not sure if I'll be able to get away. 😫 Bienvenido a Miami, Cindy! 💃 2y
Cinfhen I totally understand @saresmoore I think either evening could work for me @KarenUK 💕 2y
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Jen2
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Pickpick

Recommended from the New York Times. Interesting listen!

WanderingBookaneer Love that cover. 2y
Aleida Great cover. 2y
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emilyhaldi
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Looking forward to reading this book of essays to remind me of one of my favorite locals 🙌🏻
#mrblueskies
#junetunz

Cinfhen Great pic and I've heard great reviews on this book 📚 hopefully you'll get to it soon🤞🏼 2y
elkeo_TheBookDragon Stunning photo! 2y
Reviewsbylola This post is shocking in so many ways. I had no idea you had seashell decor. Or that you would read a book of essays about FL. 2y
Mdargusch Of course she bought this book due to the beautiful cover because I almost did the same thing. Couldn't get past "essays" though. @Reviewsbylola 2y
emilyhaldi @Reviewsbylola you don't know me very well then bc I collect seashells wherever I go! @Mdargusch thought I might like some of the essays for sentimental sake? Worth a shot! 2y
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rachellayown
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Pickpick

The first essay in this collection blew me away. I'm still so impressed with its sharpness and am hungry to reread it. From there the essays are a bit of a mixed bag. Some are strong and others less so. Overall it's a solid collection with that first one still as the most notable. For those who enjoy essay collections, this one is pretty fantastic.

Lacythebookworm I'm reading this! Only through the first essay, but so good! 2y
rachellayown Yes, I thought so, too @Lacythebookworm! Enjoy! 2y
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CityLitBooks
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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We're celebrating this sunny day with readings from Sunshine State! Sarah Gerard and Susan Lanier tonight at 6:30!



#citylitbooks #logansquare #chicago #author #reading #tonight #igreads #bookstagram #book #sunshine #sunshinestate

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AccioAlltheBooks
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Received my winnings from one of Liberty's giveaways today and the weather cooperated too! #maybookflowers #sunshine #thanksliberty

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Marchpane
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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This essay collection came to mind for today's #sunshine prompt. I haven't read it yet, but I love that cover ☀️☀️☀️

#maybookflowers

JanuarieTimewalker13 I wanted to read this bc of my recent love for Florida (Shout out to Delray Beach and Lauderdale by the Sea), but when I read the reviews on GR, it didn't seem that there was much about Florida in it. If you do read it, I'll be curious to hear about it! 2y
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kendrastephaniekaryn
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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#aprilbookshowers #earthtones AND #lyricalapril #earthsong

Some of the earthy colours that are currently hanging out on my #playster TBR queue. #audiobooks

Cinfhen And that cover of Sunshine State is 👍🏻 2y
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shutupsmalls
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard

You're the only woman I've loved this way: enough to want to hurt you.

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shutupsmalls
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Sorry but I've worked in publishing and I have no idea what you could do to make me stop judging a book by its cover. In related news I think I'll like this book

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NoFrigateLikeABook
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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It took me a bit to get into this essay collection, but now we're in sync. Thanks, Sarah & @HarperPerennial for Sunshine State & a sweet note 🌞Hits shelves this Tuesday 4/11 & is an Indie Next pick for May!

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Liberty
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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I put all the entries from the #READATHONESSAYS giveaway into the random name generator and @AccioAlltheBooks won! Thanks to everyone for participating. Another giveaway is coming your way in a few minutes! 🎉📚😘

Mc_cart_ny What a cool looking book! 2y
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Liberty
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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GIVEAWAY TIME #4: As promised, I am going to shed some books during my impromptu #36hourReadathon. Next up: the wonderful Sarah Gerard's new essay collection, out next week. To win, make a post about your favorite essay collection, use the hashtag #READATHONESSAYS, and tag me in the photo. Do this by 4pm EST today (April 6th) and I'll randomly select one winner to receive the book. (US only, sorry.) Good luck! ⭐️🤘🏻📚

TheBookStacker I already preordered this! Can't wait! 2y
bookandcat So want to read this! 2y
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OffTheBeatenShelf.com
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard

I'm really hoping this is in the May #BotM options!

Hooked_on_books I love that the current months' picks are open now and you're already looking to next month. 😂 2y
OffTheBeatenShelf.com @Hooked_on_books haha! Go hard or go home, right? 😝🙃🤓 2y
15 likes2 comments
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strandbookstore
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Pickpick

Phenomenal essays on weird pockets of Florida from the author of Binary Star. Can't wait for you guys to read it in April!

LitLogophile So excited for this! ❤ 2y
RestlessFickleBookHoarder I have to read it! 2y
zsuzsanna_reads Would be a perfect read on a holiday to Florida! 2y
TheBookStacker Preordered this! Can't wait! Love the cover! 2y
bookandcat Ahhh sounds so good! Sounds like it'd be great for my Florida vacation next month! 2y
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HarperPerennial
Sunshine State: Essays | Sarah Gerard
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Pickpick

Sarah's essays are a fantastic mix of memoir and journalism and it just whipped me up in a Floridian frenzy. Still recovering, tbh.

Kkhalifeh Love that cover 3y
8leagueboot I went to the Everglades with my parents when I was a wee one and I don't think this girl from the woods of New Hampshire has ever recovered from Florida fever ❤️ 3y
Soubhiville What a gorgeous book! 3y
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Liberty 🔥🔥🔥🔥 3y
LauraBeth Gorgeous cover! 3y
Booklovers Awesome Cover. 👍 3y
Literatouristin So many nopes at one cover 😱 3y
TheBookStacker I NEED THIS NOW 2y
KCorter @Literatouristin So many nopes in one state. Florida is a scary place. Haha 2y
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