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Hawaii Memoir Panel — Hilo Talk-Story with Bestselling Hawaii Authors

Have you ever thought about writing your memoir? Join five local bestselling and award-winning authors—Darien Gee, Frances Kakugawa, Mark Panek, Leslie Lang and Billy Bergin—at a talk-story discussion panel on memoir and writing down the stories of our lives.

Saturday, Sept. 20, 1:30PM
Basically Books
(160 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo, Hawai‘i Island)

Bring your questions and learn about this popular form of narrative nonfiction. Nationally bestselling author Darien Gee’s newest book, Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir, in which the other four panelists are featured, serves as the springboard for discussion.

Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir uses Hawai‘i’s rich cultural diversity and history of oral storytelling to propel writers into action. The “soup to nuts” structure of the book leads writers of any experience level through a natural, intuitive writing process that can be followed at any pace, quick or slow. Gee includes writing tips and inspiration from more than 20 of Hawai‘i’s best known writers, teachers, and storytellers, plus 29 writing exercises and prompts to further the reader’s work.

Darien Gee is the nationally bestselling author of six novels, three written under the pen name Mia King. Her books have sold in 14 countries and are available in hardback, paperback, audio and digital formats. She has taught writing and publication classes, including her popular “Writing the Memoir” and “Memoir Master Class” workshops, for over 15 years in Hawai‘i and throughout the United States. Gee’s popular North Hawaii News column, “Writer’s Corner,” has helped thousands of people express their creativity through all forms of writing, including novels, life stories and memoirs.

As writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction the panel members bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. Frances Kakugawa is a caregiving advocate and author of 11 books. Mark Panek is a University of Hawai‘i professor of creative writing and author of three books. Leslie Lang is a writer and editor specializing in assisting others with family histories via her Talk Story Press, with three books to her credit. Dr. Billy Bergin was the chief veterinarian at Parker Ranch for 25 years and author of a series on the history of Parker Ranch.

Two For Tuesday Deal for August 26, 2014!

TWOFORTUESDAYWho among us hasn’t, at some point, been teased or made to feel smaller than we are by someone else? Our Two For Tuesday deal this month highlights a pair of books that teach kids to think smart and be proud to be themselves. Gecko and Mosquito and It’s OK To Be Different were each written and illustrated by a talented young woman—Gecko and Mosquito by artist Melissa DeSica and It’s OK To Be Different by intermediate school student Mahealani Sims-Tulba.

Two For Tuesday Deal: $12 for Gecko and Mosquito and It’s OK To Be Different. You’ll save 50% on this pair of children’s books that take a stand against bullying.

Bonus Offer: Little Wordsworth the Poet also faces teasing from his classmates when he writes poems about things they just can’t see. But guess who turns out to be the hero when it rains and rains and there seems to be no hope that the sun will shine again? Add Wordsworth the Poet to your order for just $5.00 (a 54% discount)!





Honolulu Stadium: Where Hawaii PlayedThe following is an excerpt from Honolulu Stadium: Where Hawaii Played by Arthur Suehiro. Crammed full of archival photos and images of memorabilia, this ode to the Termite Palace is a treasure trove of facts and photos. Honolulu Stadium, torn down in 1976, was more than just a classic American ballpark—it was the heart and soul of a community. From the first kick-off in 1926 to the final out in ’75, the Stadium was Honolulu’s premier gathering place. Art Suehiro’s book captures it all, from barefoot football to big league stars, stock car racing to polo matches, Boy Scout Makahiki pageants to Elvis Presley’s concert.

In this excerpt, Art introduces Chapter Three, covering Hawaii’s love affair with baseball and the great players who came to town.

It’s a little-known fact of baseball lore—that the Father of Modern Baseball lies buried in a weathered graveyard less than three miles from Honolulu Stadium. He was Alexander Joy Cartwright—sportsman, adventurer, bon vivant—an American pioneer who charted baseball’s field of play and forged its first real team, the New York Knickerbockers, then carried the game from coast to coast—and beyond. Cartwright put ashore at Honolulu Harbor in 1849 and quickly became a familiar figure throughout the kingdom, sharing his newfangled sport with planters’ sons and native Hawaiians alike.

Though Cartwright, who died in 1892, never ran the Stadium’s base paths himself, his legacy would shape the arena throughout its historic half-century. Baseball was king at the Stadium, from the heart-stopping home runs of the Great Bambino and the Yankee Clipper to the final-season heroics of the Hawaii Islanders. Like other fabled shrines at Ebbets and Wrigley and the Polo Grounds, Honolulu Stadium was a classic showcase for the national pastime.

Honolulu Stadium: Where Hawaii Played - program

Exhibition game poster, 1935. From the collection of Lillian Noda Yajima.

Baseball, in fact, played a leading role in the Stadium’s debut. In 1925, sports entrepreneur J. Ashman Beaven was managing the long-established Honolulu Baseball League, whose teams did battle at Moiliili Field, the comfortable old park at the corner of King and Isenberg. The Territory of Hawaii was still every bit a plantation oligarchy then—with a steady stream of immigrants arriving to work the fields of sugar and pineapple. In this divided society, teams were naturally organized by nationality, an arrangement that provided cultural exchange and a healthy way to compete for ethnic bragging rights—not to mention rabid fan support.

In May 1925, following an organizational conflict within the Honolulu Baseball League, Beaven launched a brand-new circuit, the Hawaii Baseball League (HBL), taking with him six defecting teams—the Asahi (Japanese), Braves (Portuguese), Wanderers (haole), Filipinos, Hawaiians and Chinese Tigers.

This new league continued to use Moiliili Field until the spring of 1927, when it moved across the street to spanking-new Honolulu Stadium, while the old Honolulu Baseball League moved its games to Makiki Field.

On a perfect baseball Sunday in May, the Hawaii Baseball League christened the Stadium’s newly-built grandstand with lively opening ceremonies and a hard-fought game. The team to beat that year was the Asahi, the 22-year-old powerhouse defending back-to-back titles won in ’25 and ’26. Over the next three decades, the complexion of the HBL changed as other franchise teams came and went, particularly during the war years. Among them: the Rural Red Sox, Fil-Americans, SubPac Marines, 7th Army Air Force, Navy Sub Base, Hawaiis and Waikiki Surfers. In 1939 the HBL marked the game’s centennial by introducing the annual Cartwright Series, a tournament of the league’s top four teams held in honor of Alexander Joy Cartwright.

The league even enjoyed a farm system of sorts, with promising players groomed in junior circuits like the AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) League, Portuguese League, Filipino League, Chinese League, Winter League, American Legion and Commercial League.

A case in point: the Chinese Baseball League in the late ’30s, which included teams named Chungshans, Chinese Amateurs, Rural Chinese, Honolulu Chinese and Quality Dairy. At the end of each season, the loop’s top players were selected by committee to form the next HBL Chinese Tigers team.

The Commercial League, meanwhile, generated its own brand of excitement, matching up teams from a handful of Honolulu utilities and sugar companies. In 1937, at the league’s peak, these teams were the perennial champion Mutual Telephone—affectionately dubbed the “Hello Lads” in the local press—Shell Oil (the “Super Shells”), Oahu Sugar, Hawaiian Electric and Honolulu Rapid Transit (the “Rapid Transits”). Mutual Telephone won yet another Commercial League title that year, closing out a fifth straight undefeated season.

Honolulu Stadium: Where Hawaii Played - Babe Ruth

A Stadium photo op (left to right): promoter Herb Hunter, who organized the exhibition tour that brought Babe Ruth to town in October 1933, the Babe and territorial Governor Lawrence Judd. Photo Credit: Hawaii State Archives.

But the HBL remained Hawaii’s biggest and longest-running league. Some of its finest moments came during exhibition games featuring visiting major leaguers. In 1934, the fabled Connie Mack managed a touring Who’s Who of the sport, including Lou Gehrig, Jim Foxx and the immortal Babe Ruth. The “Sultan of Swat” was no stranger to the Stadium, having played in exhibition games the previous year in both Honolulu and Hilo.

Island baseball mania reached a fever pitch during the war years. Ironically, World War II first brought a demolition scare to the Stadium, as Civil Defense officials and the Army Corps of Engineers announce d plans to tear it down and build bomb shelters for Moiliili residents. But all that changed when Oahu’s military bases became home to some of the game’s biggest stars. Joe DiMaggio and Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto and Johnny Vander Meer—these and many others played for service teams before packed houses at Honolulu Stadium. The banner year was 1944, when big-time ball came to town in the form of exhibition games staged to sell war bonds. The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants played at Honolulu Stadium, and again the following day at Schofield Barracks’ Chickamauga Park.

The standing-room-only war bonds games were only a warm-up for the landmark year that was 1944. Out at Hickam Field, Brigadier General William Flood was steamed about his 7th Army Airforce team’s anemic standings in the HBL. So Flood began pulling rank, rounding up some of baseball’s best players from their duty posts around the country. Besides DiMaggio, Flood’s “draftees” included the St. Louis Browns’ Bob Dillinger, the Cincinnati Reds’ Mike McCormick and Ferris Fain of the San Francisco Seals. In DiMaggio’s first game—on June 4 against a Navy SubBase team boasting its own major leaguers—the Yankee Clipper electrified the record crowd of 30,000 with a 435-foot home run over the Stadium’s Isenberg wall.

Later that summer, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey was on hand for a rematch of these two service teams, one which saw DiMaggio and the 7th AAF—known as the Hickam Bombers—whip the Submariners, 21-1. Fresh from his great victory at Midway, the enraged Halsey immediately embarked on a new campaign, pulling his own considerable rank to corral major leaguers from naval bases nationwide. In short order, the SubBase team found itself shored up by the likes of Pee Wee Reese, the New York Yankees’ Rizzuto, the Cincinnati Reds’ Vander Meer, Virgil “Fireball” Trucks of the Detroit Tigers and Joltin’ Joe’s younger brother, Dom DiMaggio of the Boston Red Sox. And though the 7th AAF team rolled on to capture the ’44 HBL championship and the Cartwright Series, the Navy avenged those losses in that fall’s Army-Navy Pacific Ocean Area Championship Series. SubBase won this special, best-of-seven challenge in four straight games before sell-out Stadium crowds that included an ecstatic Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz.

When the war ended the following year, so did Honolulu’s big-league bonanza. While a few stars played the Stadium in ’45—most notably Stan Musial—the others were on their way back to the “bigs.” But major leaguers continued to appear in Stadium exhibition games throughout the postwar years. The New York Giants came to town in 1953, followed in the fall of ’54 by the Lopat All-Stars—a group headed by Yankee southpaw Eddie Lopat and including Eddie Matthews, Don Newcombe, Billy Martin and Roy Campanella. Honolulu came alive in ’55 when the Yankees arrived to take on the HBL Rural Red Sox. Under the watchful eye of colorful, contentious Casey Stengel, the New York roster that year included Mickey Mantle (inset, opposite page), Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Don Larsen. And autumn 1956 brought the high-flying Brooklyn Dodgers, led by Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges and Jackie Robinson.

As the ’50s drew to a close, the old Hawaii Baseball League was on the wane. For more than three decades, the HBL had provided local players the opportunity to pursue their sport in Hawaii, in Japan and on the mainland. And all the while, it was paving the way for national-caliber professional baseball. In 1961 Salt Lake City’s Nick Morgan bought the defunct Sacramento Solons of the venerable Pacific Coast League (PCL) and moved it to Honolulu. So began the franchise that would take Island sports into the modern era: the Hawaii Islanders.

Only a step below the majors, the Triple-A PCL—which dated all the way back to 1903—represented a dynamic new brand of regular baseball for Hawaii. When Morgan’s franchise faltered early on, it was rescued by a hui of community leaders headed by financier Chinn Ho and kamaaina sportsman Francis I‘i Brown. Throughout the 1960s and into the arena’s swan-song ’70s, the Islanders would write a special chapter in the Honolulu Stadium story.

Honolulu Stadium: Where Hawaii Played - ticket stubs

Hawaii Islanders ticket stubs. From the collection of Wanda Kimura.

Snapshots of the Islander era are vivid and varied: Home run king Carlos Bernier hammering four-baggers over the right field wall. Freddie Valentine stealing second in a heartbeat. The irrepressible Bo Belinsky and his dazzling companion, buxom starlet Diana Dors. Ray “Jabbo” Jablonski and “Toothpick” Willie Kirkland, Walt “No-Neck” Williams and Rac (short for Rachel) Slider.

And on the sidelines: the staccato serenades of organist Rolly Wray, and Harry Kalas calling the play-by-play on KGU. Tycoon Henry J. Kaiser in his nightly front-and-center grandstand perch, and the measured tones of Fred Antone crackling over the P.A. system. The fan called Caruso who warbled in full voice, and the fan called Shoe Shine Willie who heckled him with equal passion.

The Islanders marked their debut season with a ragtag group of players cadged mostly from the Kansas City Athletics. (Over the years, the franchise was part of several major league farm systems: the California Angels, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres.) In 1961, they tied for sixth in the eight-team PCL, then improved to a winning record in ’62. By the following year, Hawaii was leading the league in fan support, if not team standings, with more than 250,000 in paid attendance.

The team’s first title came after a decade. Under savvy g.m. Jack Quinn and manager Chuck Tanner, the 1970 Islanders won the PCL’s Southern Division pennant with a 98-48 record, the best win-loss percentage in professional baseball. And though they dropped the league championship to Tommy Lasorda’s Spokane Indians in a four-game sweep, the Islanders had arrived. Tanner’s reward was a post as manager of the Chicago White Sox, while Honolulu Stadium posted a record season attendance of more than 467,000. In the team’s first 10 years, nearly 2.3 million people had flocked into the Stadium, making the Hawaii Islanders the biggest draw in baseball outside the major leagues.

All those fans waited patiently for another five years to see the Islanders capture the PCL crown. It was, appropriately enough, their Honolulu Stadium finale; the team was slated to open the next season at the new, state-of-the-art arena nearing completion at Halawa. The end of Stadium baseball came on September 8, 1975, before 7,731 frenzied fans—when the Islanders clinched a best-of-seven series over the Salt Lake City Gulls with an 8-0 shoutout by fastballer Dave Wehrmeister.

The Islanders did move on to Aloha Stadium in ’76 and in fact won another PCL championship—their last. Unable to draw the same die-hard crowds to Halawa, the franchise was finally moved after the ’87 season. For the Hawaii Islanders, the Honolulu Stadium years were the glory years—win or lose. All told, in the franchise’s first 15 seasons, the Stadium’s turnstiles had spun more than 3.6 million times for Islander games—the best showing in the minor leagues. In a tradition sparked by Alexander Joy Cartwright more than a century before, the old Stadium had earned Hawaii an indelible spot in the history of baseball.

Honolulu Stadium: Where Hawaii Played
by Arthur Suehiro
Softcover, 164 pages


Eddie Wen’ Go Comes Alive!

Eddie Wen' Go at The Hawaii TheatreEddie Wen’ Go: The Story of the Upside-Down Canoe, Marion Lyman-Mersereau’s captivating children’s book about the courageous Eddie Aikau, told by the sea creatures who watched as the voyaging canoe Hokule’a overturned during a storm and the brave waterman Aikau paddled off for help, will be staged next month at the Hawai’i Theatre as part of the HTC ‘Ohana Series.

Marion Lyman-Mersereau, a crewmate aboard Hokule’a during its fateful voyage, wrote Eddie Wen’ Go to share Aikau’s legacy of courage and sacrifice. It has long been her dream to see Eddie Wen’ Go as a live-action play and that day has finally come!

Coinciding with Hōkūleʻa’s round-the-world voyage, this imaginative production uses hula, chant, masks and puppetry to bring the book to life. Two performances will be held on Friday, September 19, 7pm and Saturday, September 20, 2pm. To purchase tickets or to learn about student matinee performances, visit the Hawai’i Theatre website.

Ticket prices: General admission, $10; HTC members/seniors/military, $7; Students, $5; Children under 4, free.Copies of Eddie Wen’ Go will be available for purchase at the shows, and Marion Lyman-Mersereau will be on hand to sign books.

FOOD FRIDAY: A Porky Pair from From Kau Kau to Cuisine

From Kau Kau to Cuisine: An Island Cookbook, Then and NowFrom Kau Kau to Cuisine: An Island Cookbook, Then and Now by Arnold Hiura, featuring Derek Kurisu of KTA SuperStores and Jason Takemura of Pagoda Floating Restaurant and Hukilau Honolulu, is a unique culinary guide drawing out the connections between old, plantation-era favorites and new, innovative modern cuisine. While food historian Arnold provides a background to what, why and how we eat in Hawaii, Derek and Jason team up to present 30 pairs of recipes. Each pair matches a “Then” dish from Derek—a classic plantation or traditional local-style favorite—with a “Now” dish from Jason—a reinterpretation of Derek’s version or a new creation drawn from the same ingredients or cooking style.

On this Food Friday, we present a pork-tastic pair: Classic Shoyu Pork from Derek and a modern spin on the manapua from Jason.

From Kau Kau to Cuisine: Shoyu Pork and Pork Belly Bao Bun Sliders

Shoyu Pork by George Yoshida and Derek Kurisu

I remember my family receiving pork from the “buta kau kau man” who would come to neighborhood homes and pick up slop once or twice a week (see page 30). In return, he would periodically bring everybody a piece of pork as a way of saying thanks. That pork was so goodI really looked forward to it! To this day, I love local pork, which is leaner and more flavorful than Mainland pork. This is another recipe I learned from my buddy, George Yoshida. Here on the Big Island, a lot of our plantations grew sugar. But on the other islands, they grew a lot of pineapple. The flavor goes well with pork, so we often use it for cooking with ham or spare ribs. I like to use it for shoyu pork—with the shoyu, it makes a unique flavor and the juice helps tenderize the pork. -DK

  • 5 pounds pork belly (or boneless pork shoulder roast, cut in half)
  • 1 cup shoyu
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 5 slices fresh ginger

In a deep pot, cover pork with water and boil for 1 hour. Discard water and rinse pork. Slice pork into 2-inch pieces and, in the same pot, combine with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and continue to simmer, about 45 minutes, until tender.

Serves 8 to 10.


Braised Pork Belly Bao Bun “Sliders” by Jason Takemura

Growing up in Hawai‘i, everybody loves to eat manapua. They’re sort of like SPAM® musubi—the kind of grab-and-go food perfect for a snack or quick meal. Instead of serving plain manapua in the restaurant, we put this spin on the classic Island favorite. We started with some of the Asian ingredients and flavors that I learned at Chai’s and adapted them to our needs and tastes. The secret is our braised pork, which goes really well with the bao buns. Sliders are really popular these days—no need to cut them in half or anything, they’re all individual servings. -JT

  • 2 pounds pork belly, skin removed
  • Pork Marinade (recipe follows)
  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha (or other hot sauce )
  • ½ cup Kim Chee, chopped (see recipe, page 154)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced won bok
  • ½ cup finely julienned Fuji apple
  • ½ cup julienned green onions (reserve bottoms and stems for marinade)
  • 12 fresh bao buns, steamed and warmed

Pork Marinade

  • 1½ cups shoyu
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 3-inch piece ginger
  • 4 stalks green onion, white part only
  • 5 cloves garlic, whole
  • Pinch crushed red chili flakes

Cut pork belly into a 2-inch by 2-inch by 8-inch block. Combine marinade ingredients and marinate pork overnight (8 to 12 hours), turning the pork over every 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Transfer pork and marinade into an oven-safe pan. Cover pan with foil. Place in the oven and braise for 3 hours. Remove from oven, remove foil and allow to cool, with the braising liquid, before refrigerating until ready to use. Remove cold pork from the liquid and slice crosswise ¼-inch thick. Reserve braising liquid.

In a sauce pan, heat sliced pork belly in the reserved braising liquid. Mix hoisin and sriracha together and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix won bok, apples and chopped kim chee together. Spread 1 teaspoon of hoisin-sriracha sauce in each warm, softened bao bun. Place 2 to 3 slices of pork per bun, topped with the kim chee slaw. Garnish with green onions.

Makes 12 sliders.

For more delicious pairings like this one, pick up a copy of From Kau Kau to Cuisine at our online store or your local bookshop. Go grind!

From Kau Kau to Cuisine: An Island Cookbook, Then and Now
by Arnold Hiura, featuring Derek Kurisu and Jason Takemura
Hardcover, 196 pages


Two For Tuesday Deal for July 29, 2014!

TWOFORTUESDAYOn August 9, 1997, U.S. District Judge Samuel P. King and four other steadfast individuals— Gladys Brandt, Judge Walter Heen, Monsignor Charles Kekumano and Randy Roth—signed their names to the landmark “Broken Trust” essay published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper. Nine years later, in 2006, Judge King and Roth published the award-winning book Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement, & Political Manipulation at America’s Largest Charitable Trust. To this day, “Broken Trust” remains one of the biggest cases of trust mismanagement and certainly the most scandalous and controversial periods in the history of the Kamehameha Schools.

Just ahead of the anniversary of the publication of the original essay, this month’s Two For Tuesday deal offers a look at the years of crisis from a unique point of view, an oral history document compiled by noted historian Gavan Daws, Wayfinding Through the Storm: Speaking Truth to Power at Kamehameha Schools 1993-1999. The other half of this month’s pairing is Broken Trust author Judge Sam King’s own memoir, Judge Sam King: A Memoir.

Two For Tuesday Deal: $22 for Wayfinding Through The Storm and Judge Sam King. Together, these books have a retail value of $47.90. That’s a 55% discount on a set of books that provide a remarkable historical record of Hawai‘i.

Bonus Offer: Want more Hawai‘i history? Former governor Ben Cayetano, whose tenure included directing the investigation of the Bishop Estate trustees, offers a riveting look at Hawai‘i yesterday and today in his book, BEN: A Memoir. Add it to your purchase for just $10 (a 50% discount).


Two for Tuesday Deal

Watermark Authors’ Summer Reading List (Part 2)

Part Two of our authors’ summer reading list includes fourteen more titles, picked by five of our authors. These are selections that they’ve got on their own to-read piles or recommend adding to yours. If you missed Part One last week, click here to check out the first eight picks.

Wanda Adams (editor, A Sweet Dash of Aloha and A Splash of Aloha):

WandaAdams_webWanda is a VERY prolific reader and ardent supporter of the annual Friends of the Library book sale! She gave us a lengthy list of suggestions that she’s recently finished reading, now that she’s moving on to working on her FotL haul:

Hawai‘i: A Novel by Mark Panek (Lo‘ihi Press, 2013)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why I recommend it: Mark Panek is my favorite among local authors because of his historical bent.


Adé: A Love Story by Rebeccah Walker (Little A / New Harvest, 2013)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Read it if you’re looking for: A romance with depths.


A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (Bantam, 2002 reprint)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why I was interested in reading it: To see how it matches with the TV show. I think it’s just as good, if not better.


The French House by Don Wallace (Sourcebooks, 2014)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why it was on my reading list: Considering it for a possible book review article.


A Shark Going Inland is My Chief by Pat Kirsch (University of California Press)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I enjoyed it: I love science and Pat’s a friend.


Clear Englebert (Feng Shui for Hawaii and Feng Shui for Hawaii Gardens):

Author and feng shui expert Clear EnglebertOn my list (currently reading): Landscaping with Conifers and Ginkgo for the Southeast by Tom Cox & John Ruter (University Press of Florida, 2013)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why it’s on my list: I’m an avid gardener myself and this book will be of interest to other local gardeners. It’s published by the University Press of Florida, and when they publish a gardening book, Hawaii gardeners should take note. Several times a year I write reviews of tropical horticulture books for the West Hawaii Today newspaper, and this book will be included in my next review. It’s a superior book with many color photographs and the plants that are recommended will do well in Hawaii (somewhere). I recommend prostrate conifers (such as juniper) for many local gardens as graceful and unique groundcovers.


I suggest: My Ideal Bookshelf by Thessaly La Force, editor & Jane Mount, illustrator (Little, Brown and Company, 2012)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I recommend it: I borrowed this book to read, and just finished it. It’s a very unique book—every other page is some expert’s favorite dozen (or so) books. The text on the facing page is by the expert (such as Malcolm Gladwell) explaining why those books were chosen. The authors invite people to photograph their own favorite books and say why those books were picked. This book provided much valuable research for a presentation I’m working on, “How to Build and Maintain a Home Library in Hawaii,” as well as inspiring me with many new book suggestions for my personal reading. I highly recommend it to everyone.


Darien Gee (Writing the Hawaii Memoir; contributor, Don’t Look Back):

DarienGee_headshotOn my reading list: Daughters of Fire by Tom Peek (Koa Books, 2012)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why it’s on my list: This has been on my to-be-read pile for a year, and I’m looking forward to finally having the time to read it! Written by fellow Big Island author and writing instructor Tom Peek, Daughters of Fire looks like a gripping summer read.


I suggest: The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor (Crown Business, 2010)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I recommend it: The one key to success that everyone overlooks—your ability to find happiness in what you do—leads to more happiness and success in other areas of your life. Great case studies, information and inspiration. I highly recommend for anyone looking to make changes this summer.


Fran Kirk (The Society of Seven)

I suggest: Ghost Train to the Eastern Star (Houghton Mifflin, 2008) and The Happy Isles of Oceania (Putnam Pub Group, 1992) both by Paul Theroux

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I recommend it: Paul is a GREAT WRITER. Couldn’t get enough of him so I read two in a row.


Dr. Rosalie Tatsuguchi (Why Smart People Do the Same Dumb Things):

1-Tatsuguchi-web--0017-retouchedOn my list (currently reading): The Complete Book of Five Rings: Miyamoto Musashi, annotated and edited by Kenji Tokitsu (Shambala Publications, 2010)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why it’s on my list: I’m reading this edition because it’s more complete than other editions of Five RingsFive Rings still has so much influence on our cultural thinking and actions—not just Japanese. It has a lot of relevance for my new book, which I’m currently working on, Why Smart Men Do the Same Dumb Things.


Also on my reading list: A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warrren (Metropolitan Books, 2014)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why it’s on my list: I want to read this because I admire Elizabeth Warren and want to understand how she thinks and how she matches her actions to her thoughts.


Also on my reading list: Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow (Crown, 2012, hardcover; Broadway Books, 2013, softcover)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why it’s on my list: I love Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and wanted to understand how she collects and analyzes data, and puts it all together.


Watermark Authors’ Summer Reading List (Part 1)

We asked our authors what books they’ve got on their summer reading list and what they’d suggest you to add to your list. As you might guess, these writers are also voracious readers and were enthusiastic about sharing—some gave us more than one pick!—so we’ve had to split our list into two parts. Here are eight suggestions from six of our authors. (Check in next week for more suggestions!)

Karen Anderson (The Hawaii Home Book)

KarenAndersonOn my reading list: The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader: An Eyewitness History of the Civil War’s Greatest Battle by Rod Gragg (Regnery Publishing, 2013)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why it’s on my list: I am planning a trip to Gettysburg and want to read up about the battle. This is a recently published book that includes rare, first-hand accounts, letters, speeches and article by the people who lived through the three-day conflict in 1863.


Gov. Benjamin Cayetano (BEN: A Memoir)

BenCayetano_WebI suggest: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro (Knopf Doubleday, 1975)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I recommend it: I’ve reread this book at least once every other year since I bought it in 1980. Fascinating story about Robert Moses, a powerful public official who virtually built New York.


Frances Kakugawa (Kapoho: Memoir of A Modern Pompeii; Mosaic Moon; the Wordsworth the Poet series):

fhk_webOn my reading list: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami (Knopf, 2014)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why it’s on my list: I consider Murakami one of the best authors out of Japan. He was a strong contender for the Nobel Prize this year. I found his last book IQ84 a masterpiece so am eagerly waiting for his August release of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki.


Marion Lyman-Mersereau (Eddie Wen’ Go; contributor, Don’t Look Back):

marion_hdst-(for-web)On my reading list: Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury (Laurel Leaf, 2005)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why it’s on my list: I’m on a mission to read award-winning YA literature.


I suggest (and am also re-reading!): The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, reissued 2008)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why I recommend it: I love what she’s done with each character’s unique voice in a separate chapter.


Christine Thomas (editor, Don’t Look Back):

ChristineThomas_webOn my reading list: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Little, Brown and Company, 2013)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why it’s on my list: I’ve been trying to find time to finish this Booker Prize-winning novel from last year. It’s a beast of book, more than 800 pages, and immediately transports you to the New Zealand gold rush around the time my husband’s great-great grandfather was there making his way in the world.


Lance Tominaga (The Hawaii Sports Trivia Challenge; A Prophecy Fulfilled)

I suggest: Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s byJeff Pearlman (Gotham, 2014)

LanceTominagaFiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I recommend it: I’m not a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, but I still regard their “Showtime” teams of the 1980s to be the most entertaining product in the history of basketball. Big stars, bigger egos and the pressure to win – all wrapped neatly in Hollywood glitz – make for compelling storytelling. Author Jeff Pearlman dug deep to uncover a lot of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and he presents the history of this team in a way that is readable and engaging. It is not only the authoritative look at the 1980s Lakers, it is the finest book I’ve read about any NBA franchise – even better than David Halberstam’s The Breaks of the Game.


I also suggest: Any Given Number—Who Wore it Best, from 0 to 99 by Sports Illustrated (Sports Illustrated, 2014)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I recommend it: Which athlete is the greatest to ever wear number 24? Is it Kobe Bryant? Willie Mays? Ken Griffey Jr. or Jeff Gordon? Written by the staff at Sports Illustrated, this is a fun read for even the most casual of sports fans. From 0 to 99, the book selects the top athletes associated with each number, and lists the deserving also-rans as well. It’s light reading, to be sure, loaded with photos and graphics. But it’s certain to generate debates within your group of sports-loving friends.

Two For Tuesday Deal for June 24, 2014!

TWOFORTUESDAYSummer is a great time to savor the bounty of the ‘aina, and with summer break in full swing, it’s also a great time to get your kids in the kitchen to learn more about what goes into the food on their plates and how to make it themselves.

So this month’s Two For Tuesday deal features a pair of cookbooks that’ll help you—and your keiki—get into the cooking mood and make the most of fresh, local produce.

Two For Tuesday Deal: $15 for The Hawai‘i Farmers Market Cookbook—Vol. 2 and A Sweet Dash of Aloha. Normally $15.95 each, you’ll save over 50% on this cookbook deal!

Bonus Offer: Make a promise to yourself to do more cooking this summer! For just $10 more, choose between A Splash of Aloha, seafood recipes from the same team that put together A Dash of Aloha, or The Hawai‘i Book of Rice, featuring 101 recipes for Hawai‘i’s favorite starch.




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