Already the air tastes of summer, heady with blossoms, heavy with salt and slightly burnt. The sunlight turns golden, molten. Time slows down. Time to read. And if you’re looking for ideas, the Weekly’s Summer Books issue is filled with works our reviewers recommend because, fact or fiction, they’ve opened new worlds to us, engaging us in others’ lives while, sometimes, bringing our own stories to light.
Writers are born of readers, storytellers of listeners, and as it happens many of these books refer us back to myths first published in speech and song. So here’s to bards Tammie Oka, Janine Oshiro, Lee Tonouchi and Timothy Yu. The powerful Ka Honua Ola collects and illustrates stories of Hawaiian origins both mystical and earth-centered. In the anthology Don’t Look Back, contemporary writers retell Hawaiian myths; Paul Theroux’s The Lower River takes us across dark Lethe to the underworld; in the fiction of Haruki Murakami, interviewed on p. 17, mysterious subway stairs, train rides or elevators lead to alternate worlds where cats and sheep-men speak. Old legends of shape-shifters are reincarnated by legendary surfer Mickey Munoz in No Bad Waves.
Now the next, electronic, era of publishing is upon us, with shrill rumors of publishing’s demise. The Justice Department’s taken Amazon’s side against Apple and five publishers. But worries that e-publishing will crush Hawaii publishers are put to rest–at least for now!–by the many independent houses and academic presses represented here.
Time to grab your knapsack, beach bag or e-reader and begin filling it. Unpack your treasures in the shade of a naupaka tree, or browse in the cool quiet of a neighborhood library or bookstore. Yes, you have the time.