Booklists Recommendations

Armchair Travel

by Public Service Associate Juliana

Ernest Hemingway’s ubiquitous influence is felt by all who visit Key West. The Pulitzer Prize winning author lived and wrote on the island during the 1930s and experienced the most prolific decade of his career there. Now every July Key West celebrates Hemingway Days in commemoration of the author’s July 21 birthday. Events include a look-alike contest, short story contest, deep-sea fishing tournaments, and literary readings. In the spirit of Hemingway Days, BPL would like to invite you to armchair travel to Key West!

Are you a bookworm with wanderlust? Want to visit the island without all the rooster racket? See below for a reading list that will immerse you in all things Key West. The selection runs the gamut from contemporary short stories to biography, from literary fiction to historical fiction, from a guidebook for bibliophiles to a new documentary and accompanying instrumental soundtrack.

For a curated multimedia experience consider reserving the entire stack! Learn about Key West’s rich history, mingle with the minds of revered inhabitants, and work up a craving for Key Lime pie. The titles weave together marvelously and speak to one another in surprising ways. The result is a very tangible sense of place. You’ll feel like you’re there. 

Relax as though you’re on the beach and linger in that lawn chair a little longer. Take your time. After all, there’s no flight to catch.

  • Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks From Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon | print / digital
  • Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean by Les Standiford | print / digital
  • Hemingway directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick | DVD
  • Hemingway: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Original Music From the PBS Documentary | CD
  • Stella Maris: & Other Key West Stories by Michael Carroll |print / digital
  • The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton | print / digital
  • To Have & Have Not by Ernest Hemingway | print