Coffee is totally great! It helps you get by on four hours of sleep and not wrap your car around a telephone pole on Kapi’olani Boulevard! And tables are totally great! They give you something to put stuff on, and sometimes a place to pass out face down! Books are also totally great, especially the ones with lots of pictures. And Hawai’i is super great, cause it’s way in the middle of the totally boss Pacific Ocean and is made out of volcanoes! Put all these great things together, and you get coffee table books about Hawai’i, and boy, has local publisher Mutual kicked out a lot of those this year. Let’s take a look, shall we?
See how the other half (or other 1 percent, actually) lives with Hawai’i: A Sense of Place by Mary Philpotts McGrath, Kaui Philpotts and photographer David Duncan Livingston ($45), a highly visual guide to the interior decorating skills of folks on the islands with lots of duckets. It’s also an excellent guide to the development of island aesthetics in the twentieth century, with their unique blend of Pacific, American and Asian influences, and an homage to the work of local craftspeople.
Next up is Hawaiian Monarchy by Allan Seiden ($29.95), an in-depth genealogical tour of the royal family. It’s all here–smallpox, Cook, Christianity, the illegal coup and the descendants of Kamehameha who tried their best to hold it all together. A lavish collection of photographs and paintings complete the package.
Finally, blending cultural and naturalistic approaches are Kaua’i Days by David Boynton ($24.95), Big Island Days by Sophia Schweitzer and photographer Kirk Lee Aeder ($24.95) and North Shore by Will Hoover and photographer Adam A. Palmer ($22.95). These probably don’t have so much to offer the respective inhabitants of each place, but provide visually powerful and not entirely idealized guides for past, present or future visitors.