Local Book Shelf

by erin thursby
You can get to know Jacksonville a lot of different ways. Visiting city parks, going to local museums and volunteering in our community are all a great start. But it’s hard to get the big picture. One of the best ways to get that big picture, besides diving into the murky depths of city politics, is by looking for locally-oriented books. Here are a few local books for your reading pleasure.
Remembering Jacksonville
There were two books out this year by the name Remembering Jacksonville.
The first is by the same author as Historic Photos of Jacksonville and like that book, this paperback is mainly photographs. Carolyn Williams is certainly qualified to write the book, as she is a member of the Florida State Historical Marker Council, the chair of the Northeast Florida Advisory Board and an Associate Professor of History at the University of North Florida. Besides Historic Photos of Jacksonville she’s also written entries for the Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History and The Oxford Companion to United States History. Photographs were pulled from historical archives and tell the story of Jacksonville through black and white pictures.
The second, with a subtitle of By the Wayside, is by Times-Union columnist Dorothy Fletcher. It’s actually a compilation of a series of columns she did for the T-U’s Sun section called By the Wayside. In the columns she tells stories of Jacksonville’s recent past during the 50s-70s. The impetus to collect these stories came from her regret at not getting stories from her father while she still could. Each story is filled with historical tidbits with more than a dollop of local color and each is short enough to digest in one sitting. It’s an easy book to pick up and put down because of the length of each story.
Through Rose Colored Glasses and The Good Fight
If you want to know Jacksonville, you need to get to know Donna Deegan (formerly Donna Hicken). She’s a news anchor on First Coast News. When she got breast cancer in 1999, she shared her news with the community. She’s had relapses since and has had to undergo treatment more than once. In response, she founded the Donna Foundation and started raising money to combat breast cancer. She organized a national marathon called 26.2 with Donna. Her first book The Good Fight, chronicles the journey from diagnosis to remission and her most recent autobiographic, Through Rose Colored Glasses, addresses coming out of remission and organizing the marathon.