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The Reading Room

Curl up with one of the new fall page-turners by local authors.


photo by Jen Tadaki Catanzariti

City Council member Donovan Dela Cruz and fellow Wahiawa-native Jodi Endo Chai provide scores of ideas with their revised Puka Guide: 100 Hawaiian-Style Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants. It combines their three previous guides into one statewide version, providing the inside scoops on 100 hole-in-the wall eateries, outstanding okazu-ya and notable places to pick up omiyage. Each listing has detailed information on hours, parking, seating and house specialties. $9.95, from Watermark Publishing (a sister company to PacificBasin Communications, which owns HONOLULU Magazine).

Architecture buffs will enjoy Sheila Sarhangi’s Honolulu Then and Now. Sarhangi, a contributing editor at HONOLULU, spent months digging through archives to find historical photos of our city’s structures—fire halls and banks, churches and newspaper headquarters, even railroad stations. In the book, part of a series that features cities around the world, the old photos she found appear opposite new photos of how the buildings—or if they’re gone, the areas—look today. $18.95, Thunder Bay Press.

If your lanai looks more like a desert wasteland than a tropical oasis, pick up a copy of Container Gardening in Hawaii, by Janice Crowl. Hilo-based Crowl is a master gardener with the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Cooperative Extension Service. She gives step-by-step, thorough explanations on everything from choosing the right kind of pot to understanding growing conditions. Even a black thumb will be able to use her handy charts, too, with plants listed by Hawaiian name as well as botanical name. $16.95, Mutual Publishing.

Author Patricia Wood, who lives onboard a sailboat at Ko Olina and is a Ph.D. student at the University of Hawaii, gives us an unusual protagonist in her first novel, Lottery. The book focuses on a mentally challenged man who wins a lot of money, and how people’s perceptions of him shift. In her writing, Wood has drawn from her life experience: Her father won $6 million in the Washington State Lottery in 1993, and she had a brother-in-law with Down syndrome. $24.95, from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

UH master’s program student Kai White and Chaminade English professor Jim Kraus joined forces on Waikiki. The book is largely made up of captions and archival photos (“on the left, the grass house owned by Kamehameha V”). While some of the writing will be too basic for locals, the book provides a wonderful peek at long-gone homes, people, places and pastimes. Love the 1930s shot, for example, that shows children learning to swim in the Natatorium pool, tethered like puppets to their onshore instructors. $19.99, Arcadia Publishing.


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Honolulu Magazine April 2020
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