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Booked on a Feeling


Your life is largely an open book. But when it comes to reading habits, you're constantly trying to keep from blowing your cover.

You won't admit the heaviest paperback you pick up is the September issue of InStyle. Everything you know about Jane Austen’s stories you learned from Keira Knightley movies. And the last time you cracked open a bestseller and didn’t see pictures, you exited page left.

It’s time to start a new chapter in your literary life. Just before this weekend’s Hawaii Book & Music Festival, we asked Misty-Lynn Sanico of Hawaii Book Blog for her recommendations of recent local works that you won’t be able to put down.

Lei ChicKau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian IslandsArnold Hiura, cookbook/non-fiction
It’s history, family, fun, and food all packaged in a read that will make your mouth water. Hiura mixes classic recipes with tasty tidbits about the roots of plantation comfort foods, the origins of every part of a plate lunch, menus of favorite long-gone restaurants, and interviews with the chefs shaping the flavor of the islands today.

Lei ChicAnshu: Dark SorrowJuliet S. Kono, fiction
Anshu is a debut novel, but Kono weaves the story of a Hilo girl’s troubled journey from Hawaii to World War II Japan with grace and precision. Sanico says the first two chapters alone will mesmerize you. Kono had us in the first two pages.

Lei ChicPlenty SaiminFeng Feng Hutchins, children’s book
A local spin on the classic stone soup fable, Plenty Saimin is the plantation-era tale of Ah Kee, a little boy who invites a crowd home for his mom’s homemade noodles. Each guest brings something to add to the pot. Not only is the story engaging, Sanico says the detailed, enchanting illustrations are fun to explore.

Lei ChicMai Paa I Ka Leo: Historical Voice in Hawaiian Primary Materials, Looking Forward and Listening BackM. Puakea Nogelmeier, non-fiction
Between 1834 and 1948, Hawaiian writers filled 125,000 pages with knowledge. Less than one percent has been converted into often faulty English translations. What started off as Nogelmeier’s doctoral dessertation is now an in depth and eye opening examination, showing us how little we truly know about Hawaii’s literary history.

Lei ChicIslands Linked by OceanLisa Linn Kanae, short stories
Sanico calls Kanae’s collection a charming read guaranteed to make you laugh and cry. You’ll see a little bit of yourself, your friends, and family in this reflection of local culture.

The free Hawaii Book & Music Festival is Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the civic grounds at Honolulu Hale. Swap your books, shop for others, and meet local and national authors such as Maya Soetoro-Ng, Roseanne Barr, and Sarah Vowell. Click here for more information.

Hawaii Book Blog reviews local books and promotes events to help share the wealth of Hawaii’s literature. It just recently covered the Ka Palapala Pookela Book Awards. Read all about it here.
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