Welcome to Book Review Central!
The main focus of this site is to call attention to noteworthy books by Florida authors, particularly those working in SW Florida. From time to time, I post writer profiles, information about book events, writers’ conferences, workshops, and related happenings in the area.
Another major interest is reviews of books on Jewish themes and concerns. However, as you will see, there are many, many general interest titles reviewed here as well. Yet another special interest is the contemporary literature of the American South
Postings and pages on this site (unless otherwise noted) are my intellectual property, (c) Philip K. Jason, and may not be republished without explicit permission.
A BIT OF BIO
I began my college teaching career in 1966 in the Georgetown University English Department, where I taught for seven years.
From 1973 until the end of 2001, I taught English and Creative Writing at the UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY in Annapolis, MD. Since my retirement, I’ve been exploring new directions in my writing while leading private workshops, consulting, and writing about new books and book-related events.
I began a nonacademic book reviewing career with my “Book Beat” column, which ran in the now-defunct Naples Sun Times from July 2006 into June 2008. A few months later, I began writing about books for the bi-monthly Fort Myers Magazine. I continue to publish there from time to time.
In July of 2009 I started reviewing for Florida Weekly, primarily in the Naples edition, but also in the editions for Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, Venice, Key West, and Palm Beach. In July, 2019 my “Florida Writers” column concluded its 10th year, though it is now appears twice-a-month rather than weekly. This is my primary home as a book columnist. It may be that my most recent review, published in the March 25-26 2020 editions, is my last as Florida Weekly is fighting for economic survival. Over the years I’ve published over 400 reviews in Florida Weekly.
In 2010, I began contributing book reviews and author interviews to the magazine Jewish Book World (now replaced by the impressive Jewish Book Council website). I have now published over 80 reviews for JBC, as well 5 interviews. That same year, I started contributing to the exciting blog Southern Literary Review. In November 2011, I became the publisher and executive editor of SLR. See the link to my SLR pieces on the sidebar.
I did thirteen reviews for citybookreview.com, the online inventory of reviews that feeds San Francisco Book Review and Sacramento BookReview, before being dismissed.
My reviews also appear as an ongoing column in three monthly Jewish newspapers in Southwest Florida: Federation Star (Jewish Federation of Greater Naples), L’Chayim (Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties), and The Jewish News (Jewish Federation of Sarasota/Manatee). Some contributions are originals for these newspapers; others are reprints of reviews published elsewhere.
Since 2012, I have contributed over 60 reviews to the worldly and wise Washington Independent Review of Books. Some of my best work is there, no doubt inspired by the quality submissions of other contributors.
I enjoy membership in the Naples Press Club, and in past years served as its Vice President for Administration.
I am a devoted fan of netgalley.com.
18 responses to “Home”
Hi Phil, Your new website is beautiful. Love that Naples pier shot, and not, incidentally, the one of you in a tuxedo. Way cool.
See you’re chairing the ’09 Authors and Books Festival. Wonderful–hope you feel that way, too! Plan to see you there. BTW, I scrolled around on your site and was pleased to see the review you did for THE BAREFOOT QUEEN is posted. The sequel should be out soon. Many thanks for all. Jean
I was delighted to see the new website. It is such a wonderful accomplishment. Congratulations and best wishes for a wonderful response now and in this coming year.
Glad to see you in the blogiverse, Phil! Looking forward to teaching at the 2009 Authors & Books Festival in April. ~Linnea
Hi, Phil and a belated happy birthday! Your website looks good, full as it is of interesting writing, reviews and opinions. If I had a website I would aspire to imitate yours.
What a great idea. Please keep it coming.
As literary agents in town Carole Greene and I would love to take on some new clients who have great potential in either non-fiction or fiction. Please mention our names if you like in your posting.
I went through the stories you wrote. Very interesting.
Hi: Phil. I think it is a great idea.
I have two new books coming out in the Fall. “The Vicious World of Identity Theft” and “Tiger & the Identity Thief.”
Your web site is streamlined and interesting.
I plan to go with a national agency, “Broadcast Interview Source” next year and hope to be on some national shows.
Mazel-tov and best of luck! Cynthia Bercowetz.
I like your idea. I’m a “snow bird” who spends the winter in Naples. I attended the Press Club’s writer event last spring and learned a lot.
My romantic suspense novel, Buried Heart, will be published in October, 2009, by The Wild Rose Press, which is very exciting.
Anne Stratton, writing suspense as
A. Y. Stratton
I was so glad to see the reprint of your interview with me, Phil. It was a delightful occasion and a great article. Love your website. We now live in Keswick, Virginia, close to UVA in Charlottesville. Ken’s 5th Harry Brock mystery – set in Naples under another name – is coming out in October. Would you like a copy of it for review purposes? Or just to read, for that matter. Let me know and I’ll send it along. Need your address, of course. It was a real pleasure to recall a pleasant afternoon hour or so overlooking the Gulf. Mary Linn Roby
I am impressed! What a wonderful background you have. I am sure it will be an honor to be reviewed by you. Perhaps I can be a part of the Authors and Book festival. Looking forward to getting to know you. Ellen Brazer, Author Clouds Across the Sun
I’ve said it before … heck, I’ll say it again … congratulations on all you do for books and authors in our area. I’ve always thought you do far more than you have to, and your love for the under-siege printed word shines through …
Thanks, Gerry, it’s nice to be appreciated. By the way, I fed information about ourblook.com to a person in LinkedIn discussion who was bemoaning the abuse of such media and the lack of serious discussion of issues.
Dear Mr. Jason,
I was wondering if you would grant me permission to use your poem “When Miriam Died” in our synagogue’s service this coming Sabbath. Thanks so much!
Rabbi Marjorie Berman
Society Hill Synagogue
Dear Rabbi Berman,
Certainly you may use the poem at your Shabbat service. Please mention that it originally appeared in MIDSTREAM.
Perusing your site. It’s an amazing undertaking. I am sure to learn a lot at WordPress for Wordies, this Thursday…
Thanxx for your continued input on all things “bookie.”
Great site, I just tweeted it!
Great website. Love to hear from you, concerning workshops, and agents, etc. AM a novelist, poet, and professor, with rather similar interests and some coincidentally ironic background details. Love to hear from you.
Dave Smith’s quote is worth repeating and remembering: “Jason’s strength is that he does not consider that the ordinary must remain ordinary, but imagines rather that the ordinary very likely conceals the beauty and truth of our lives.” –Dave Smith, The New England Review
I’m with you, Phil.
This brings to mind why one of my favorite TV shows is “The Living Planet” with David Attenborough. Everywhere, and often seemingly nowhere, are such remarkable discoveries, if only we look.
Phil: Your blog is fantastic! I’m a follower now. If you like, join the fun (and occasional book review) over at my place: http://www.thatssojacob.wordpress.com 🙂 thanks!