Five volumes to accompany an island sojourn—real or imagined.



No Footprints in the Sand: A Memoir of Kalaupapa

By Henry Kalalahilimoku Nalaielua, with Sally-Jo Keala-O-Anuenue Bowman


Diagnosed with Hansen's Disease, Nalaielua was taken from his family as a boy and exiled to a remote settlement, Kalaupapa, on the island of Moloka'i. More than 8,000 people were sent there over its century of existence. This is the story of how Nalaielua found joy in such desolation.




Fierce Heart: The Story of Makaha and the Soul of Hawaiian Surfing

By Stuart Holmes Coleman


The long history of Hawaiian surfing is distilled through this study of the people and culture of Makaha, a small town on the West coast of Oahu that has produced a slew of world-class surfers as well as a collection of memorable characters that populate this enchanted locale.





By James A. Michener


Michener's 1959 sweeping saga tells the episodic tale of the many immigrants who helped form the islands we know now: the original settlers from Bora Bora, the early American missionaries and merchants, the Chinese and Japanese families who came to work, put down roots and stayed. Michener creatively chronicles the creation of a new world.




The Folding Cliffs: A Narrative of 19th-Centruty Hawaii

By W.S. Merwin


Merwin unfolds his tale in verse: as the Hawaiian government tries to quarantine possible victims of leprosy, one family makes their escape  into the island of Kauai, with a gunboat full of soldiers in deadly pursuit. Amid the gripping historical drama, Merwin's stanzas capture the cultural shifts of an island on the brink of irrecoverable transformation.




Hotel Honolulu

By Paul Theroux


All kinds  end up at the low-rent Hotel Honolulu just off the beach in Waikiki, which is managed by the down-on-his-luck protagonist of Theroux's satirical novel. They're all searching for something, and the author brilliantly illuminates, with his trademark unsparing eye and wit, the desperate search by Americans for something bigger than themselves.


July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).