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Books for Every Mood


The Greater Good: Life Lessons from Hawaii's Leaders

You’re Feeling Sorry for Yourself

Local luminaries in business, the arts and government - people such as Edgy Lee, Constance Lau and David Carey - talk story about pivotal moments in their lives. The results? The Greater Good: Life Lessons from Hawai‘i’s Leaders is bite-size inspiration for overcoming adversity, finding purpose and building better relationships. (Greater Good Books, $24.95)

You’re on Jury Duty

Who Named the Knife

Pick up Who Named the Knife, by Linda Spalding, now a well-known author in Canada, who in 1982 was living in Honolulu and serving on a jury. The book covers the trial of Maryann Acker, who may or may not have shot a man at Hanauma Bay. But Spalding leaves mystery mode and delves into far more interesting waters - depression, friendship, redemption. (Pantheon, $23.95)

Party Hawaii: A Guide to Entertaining in the Islands

You’re Ready to Party!

Party Hawai‘i: A Guide to Entertaining in the Islands makes whipping up a party seem completely easy. Author Kaui Philpotts breaks each chapter into a party theme, such as “Beach Party Goes Tex Mex,” then has a step-by-step timeline-invites, décor, food, beverages—that will have even the most timid hosts plotting their next big bash. (Mutual Publishing, $27.95)


John Cruz - One of These Days

In 1997, John Cruz won a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Most Promising Artist with his debut album, Acoustic Soul. It’s been a decade, but Cruz has finally returned to make good on that promise. On One of These Days, he expands his musical palette with everything from Hammond organs to a brass section, but remains the closest thing Hawai‘i has to James Taylor, crafting gently moving tunes that manage to sneak up on you. On paper, straightforward lyrics such as “I sit there by myself, sipping on my Coke/the movie stars are making love and my heart is broken” could easily come off as trite, but Cruz’s performance on “Missing You” somehow makes you feel how cold that theater is.

There are no instant-classic tracks here to compare with “Island Style” (Cruz’s ubiquitous hit from his debut) but the album is full of enjoyable moments, including the breezy “Angel” as well as a new take on “Hi‘ilawe.” The production is never less than polished and an accomplished ensemble of backing musicians adds to the appeal—all in all, it’s a great return for Cruz.

Bottom line: File this next to Jack Johnson, James Taylor and Jackson Browne in your collection of mellow guitar-strumming faves.

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Honolulu Magazine August 2020
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