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Dance of the Reptiles: Selected Columns

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  985 ratings  ·  166 reviews

If you think the wildest, wackiest stories that Carl Hiaasen can tell have all made it into his hilarious, bestselling novels, think again. Dance of the Reptiles collects the best of Hiaasen's Miami Herald columns, which lay bare the stories--large and small--that demonstrate anew that truth is far stranger than fiction.

Hiaasen offers his commentar
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 21st 2014 by Vintage
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It is with great sadness that I have to shelve this book as NON-fiction. I wish, OH HOW I WISH, that the issues Mr. Hiaasen covers in this collection of columns weren't true. Many of the columns were comical, and I laughed out loud at a few... but mostly, I just felt saddened and angry. Having moved to Florida in 2005, I missed about half of Mr. Hiaasen's columns when they appeared in print. I was completely unaware of many of the environmental issues he opined on and distressingly, a quick Goog ...more
Fred Forbes
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I’m a big fan of Carl Hiaasen. I enjoy his crazy Florida based novels and he is probably one of the nicest people I have met at book signings and he actually has taken the time to personally respond to notes I’ve sent regarding his columns. All of his columns don’t make my local paper so I was glad to see this new collection.
Now nearly any political position can look silly when presented in a satirical and sarcastic fashion but those of the extreme right wing look particularly foolish so this is
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Medicare fraud, sleazy politicians, corrupt business polluters, supreme court injustice, taxes and overused resources all feel the sting of the pen under columns by Mr. Hiaasen. It's sad that there's lots of truth here. 6 of 10 stars
Mike French
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A composite of Carl Hiaasen' s columns from the Miami Herald. Very enjoyable and entertaining from the beginning to end. This book shows what a truly screwed up state Florida is after years of being run by crooked and inept politicians! ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a collection of commentary pieces that Hiaasen has written for the Miami Herald over the course of the early 2000's. They are certainly interesting and speak to the sad governmental and judicial issues that could be found in Florida and nationwide. It is sad to see how many of these issues challenge the state and our country. In fact, it is downright depressing. It is a quick ready, articularly since each piece is fairly short. The writing is excellent. I just struggled with the constant ...more
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This compilation of Miami Herald articles by Hiaasen is sobering. As much as I enjoy Hiaasen's fiction, it is disturbing to see that his unflinching reporting of major problems in his home state of Florida, some articles going back to the early 2000s, has had little effect on changing government corruption, flawed programs for child services and services to the elderly, the continued selling of real estate at the cost of the environment and more. Maybe the articles are so unsettling because what ...more
Gail Strickland
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure-I think Carl Hiaasen is brilliant. This collection of columns once again showcases the wackiness of Florida and Florida politics which just goes to show me that my homestate isn't the most dysfunctional one in the lower 48, it just seems like it at times. When us native Georgians begin to feel badly about how mismanaged and nuts our state legislature appears at times, we can always console ourselves by repeating "at least we're not Florida" until we feel better. Thank you Mr. Hia ...more
I love Hiassen but 12 year old columns are not that appealing today. I enjoy reading his columns in real-time. A compilation of them is just too depressing since I live in Florida. He is still spot on about the craziness that is Florida.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Goodreads January, 2014 newsletter
I have loved Carl Hiaasen's writing since I read my first Hiaasen, "Skinny Dip". I think I've read everything he's written except one (and I'll get to it).
This book is a selection of the columns he writes for "The Miami Herald". It does not disappoint. To listen to these columns helps explain his fiction.
Nelda Brangwin
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've loved Hiassen's adult and children's novels and am delighted to be introduced to the columns he writes for the Miami Herald, especially appropriate if you are traveling in Florida. Florida is a land like no other. Hiassen, a native, captures the weirdness and strangeness of Florida law and land development ...more
Jenny Gendel
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had read about Carl Hiaasen in Dave Berry's selected columns, so when I found out I could download his audiobook on Overdrive I was very excited. The book did not disappoint. The only state worse off than Fl, is probably IL, because they only elect idiots rather than straight up criminals. I really look forward to reading/listening to more of his books. ...more
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Yeah, I know, no one likes a lecture, but anyone as sensible as Hiaasen needs to be listened to. And the idea of a prison for misbehaving tourists appeals to me. . .
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
These selected columns from Hiaasen’s newspaper days are humorous, provoking, sad, and even tho of days gone by, relevant.

From reporting on Florida Senate’s making it illegal to have “intimate relations with an animal” or the nude face-eating cannibal (I remember that story) or the inept powers that be who let 5-year-old Rilya Wilson disappear from the very system set up to protect her or the dismissive death of Omar Paisley.

The column riffing on Sarah Palin’s memoir was typical Hiaasen snark an
Barbara Nutting
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an eye opener!! Even though these columns ran 2000-2012 nothing has changed! Crooked Rick Scott is still governor, Marco Rubio is now a Senator and all the other whackos are still running Florida politics!! Gregg Steube is even trying to pass a bill to allow guns in schools?? Shopping centers are replacing wetlands and jet skis outnumber Manatees!! Will it ever stop or are the Republicans going to keep it up until Florida is just a memory?? Hiaasen has such a sharp eye on everything so I'm ...more
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
You know the columns have to be entertaining for me to give his wildly liberal biased writing 3 stars and a chuckle. Each is a smart and entertaining read. The problem is he's writing effectively about smart and politically relevant topics -to whip up stupid people with a 10 second memory.

As a newspaper op-ed writer you can address one issue at a time- expressing outrage over everything- while flip flopping constantly. I'm sure this works in small daily doses, but when you compile them into an
Jun 07, 2016 rated it liked it
One could easily get a snarky brain cramp-overdose when reading these articles collected together, as good as many of them are. For the most part Hiaasen dovetails almost completely with my political/social viewpoints, and therefore I enjoy his witty attacks on politicians, businessmen, anti-environmentalists, organizations, zealots, and crooks (no matter their affiliations). No doubt he has few admirers among the NRA, Republican Party, unscrupulous land developers, greedy CEOS, rich meddling co ...more
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I listened to this one on audiobook.
I am a Hiaasen fan and that is why I chose to read this collection of his newspaper column non-fiction pieces. Yes, they are mostly USA-centric and often Florida-centric, but there is a lot of humour, satire, and sarcasm to enjoy. The jabs at Palin, Trump, and G.W. Bush had me in fits of giggles.
There is also a lot of anger, too, and rightly so. The topics he tackles range from election issues, the homeless, state government, federal government, social servic
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, humor
Let me just say that if your political bent is to the right, don't bother. reading this book. You will be angry.
My first Carl Hiaasen novel was Bad Monkey. I really liked it. Funny, smart and fast paced, so when this book popped up, I read it. Or, should I say suffered through it. Several of the stories about Florida and the Everglades, wildlife and so on were extremely entertaining. That was about 15 percent of the book. The rest was a selection of about 20 years worth of columns reciting the
North Richland Hills Public Library
This compilation of Miami Herald articles by Hiaasen is sobering. As much as I enjoy Hiaasen's fiction, it is disturbing to see that his unflinching reporting of major problems in his home state of Florida, some articles going back to the early 2000s, has had little effect on changing government corruption, flawed programs for child services and services to the elderly, the continued selling of real estate at the cost of the environment and more. Maybe the articles are so unsettling because what ...more
Mark Shannon
Apr 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I've read several of Carl Hiaasen's novels but this was the first of his collected columns for me. Many of the columns were rather depressing because he writes about the vanishing wilderness in Florida and how people have trashed the environment. His humor does shine through in many of the stories and I enjoyed the selections concerning "Pseudonews" and some of the more offbeat topics that are only puff entertainment issues. I know he has made a difference in the voting outcomes of many election ...more
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Although I'm a Hiaasen fan, this format was not to my liking. I didn't do a very good job of reading what this book was going to be about, or I probably would have passed on it. It was a selection of Hiaasen's columns from the Miami Herald. Most of which are pro-environmentalist, anti-development rants. Although I agree with many of his views, I didn't enjoy this book, especially as I was expecting a light-hearted, wacky story in the vein of his prior novels. But it was my fault for not screenin ...more
Sharon Lensky
After reading several Hiaasen novels, I checked him out as a columnist with this book. If you're a conservationalist and know something about Florida, you should like it. If you're a Democrat, you should like it. If you appreciate sarcasm and artful use of vocabulary (particularly in the area of putdowns) you'll like it. The subject matter can be depressing/discouraging because a lot of it takes place during Florida's "paving everything over" era. I laughed all the way through it though. A bonus ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very good liberal rants about a state that sounds like it has more than its fair share of dirty deeds and shadowy figures.

Plus the guy that read it had a wonderfully snarky voice that really brought Hiaasen's sarcastic humor to the front.

Only downside is that sometimes these sort of political diatribes can make me feel a little helpless and crazy and angry at all the rich f#$%ers who are abusing the system and getting away with it.

Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carl Hiaasen turns his sharp wit and hostile humor toward his home state of Florida if you enjoy his writing you'll enjoy this book, just bear in mind it was written back during the Bush, Cheny, weapons of mass destruction and pre-Obama era.
Carl's liberal-left leaning politics rears it ugly head head in the final quarter of the book so depending on your own views you'll either hate or like the conservative bashing.
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Dear mahina, please don't read this book or you will really never ever overcome your fear of Florida. Otherwise it made me strangely homesick ;)
3.5 stars
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Definitely makes me not want to live in Florida!
Silly me! I thought Dance of the Reptiles would be about reptiles. Specifically, about alligators and other denizens of the Everglades and surrounding wetlands. But alas, most of the reptiles in the first 4 audio discs turned out to be politicians, big businesses and corrupt millionaires in Washington DC (written during the George W. era). The tone is relentlessly sarcastic and snarky—being a selection of newspaper columns. I got tired of it, and since most content didn’t interest me, I abandone ...more
Kent Halloran
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is a compilation of columns written by Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald. Hiaasen provides biting commentary concerning the folly of politics, both National and in the State of Florida. This compilation takes us from late in the Clinton Administration through the early Obama Administration. Hiaasen's personal brand of satire, sarcasm, humor, and investigative prowess are in full force as he tackles subjects ranging from off shore drilling, the tourism and pleasure craft industries, and ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is another book of Hiaasen's collected Miami Herald columns, published in 2012. As such it isn't the timeliest of reads six years later, but, of course, many of the absurdities that he rails against are as present today as they were then, including the unending wars in the Middle East, the venal corruption of local, state, and federal politicians, and Americans' unhealthy (for wildlife) obsession with shark and alligator attacks. One horror of which I had been previously and blissfully unaw ...more
This audio book took me forever to get through for several reasons. I really enjoy Hiaasen's fiction, probably because I know its fiction no matter how much it mirrors reality. The fact that these were real events made some of them harder to listen to. It also felt like I was listening to scary news stories in the current era and made me realize how much history repeats itself sometimes. The satire and biting wit were on point as usual. I think I enjoy his fiction much more but these were easy t ...more
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Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. After graduating from the University of Florida, he joined the Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the newspaper’s weekly magazine and prize-winning investigations team. As a journalist and author, Carl has spent most of his life advocating for the protection of the Florida Everglades. He and his family live in southern ...more

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