Monday, April 30, 2012

Unfamiliar Fishes

I'm kicking off my review page with a book I read last year about the history of Hawaii by Sarah Vowell.  Nothing I love more than truths told in quirky!

Title and Author:  Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
No. of Pages:  256 in hardback format, available now in paperback
Reviewed by:  Kathy Reel


Sarah Vowell makes reading and learning history the most irreverent fun you can experience in confronting the reality of what actually occurred versus what textbooks sugarcoat or ignore. The United States' acquisition of the Hawaii islands is eerily similar to the acquisition of America in its infancy when the Native Americans had to be "civilized" and "Christianized." Acquisition is, of course, a well-used euphemism for stealing. Having just visited the island of Oahu and having some inkling of the United States' machinations and the greedy cabal of missionary descendents responsible for Hawaii's annexation in 1898, I was eager to read a book that told the story with the blinders removed. I couldn't have picked a better source than Vowell's Unfamiliar Fishes. Her wit and uncensored revelations kept me intrigued throughout the telling of this blighting of the Hawaiian monarchy and attempted blighting of Hawaiian culture. Amazing story, amazing book.

More Hiassen and Kentucky Book Fest

I thought I would post a picture of the Hiassen books that I purchased at the Kentucky Book Fest on the 21st, along with other purchased books from that wonderful gathering of authors and readers.  Another favorite author that I met at the book fest was Deanna Raybourn, author of the Lady Julia Gray series.  I have read and loved them all, so I purchased one of my favorite in the series, Dark Road to Darjeeling, and had Deanna sign it.  I do wish I'd snapped a picture of this author, as her shoes were to die for.  LOL!  She and Hiassen were pure delight and completely fulfilled this reader's fantasy of favorite author meetings.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meeting Carl Hiassen

On April 21st, I attended the Southern Kentucky Book Fest (SOKY) in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and I had the great pleasure of meeting and hearing speak the entertaining Carl Hiassen, author of adult and young adult books set in the wild and wooly trappings of Florida.  Hiassen quickly informed the attentive group of fans listening to his one-hour (not long enough) presentation that his fiction is far from impossible meanderings of his wild imagination, that it is indeed parallel to the truths that only his home state of Florida can produce.  Previous to this meeting, I had only read Skinny Dip (adult) and Hoot (young adult) by Hiassen.  I thoroughly enjoyed these two books, and I'm not sure why I hadn't read more.  I am now in the process of making amends and have gobbled up Stormy Weather (adult) and Chomp (YA).  The characters, some repeating, in Carl Hiassen's books may seem like caricatures of real people, but they are the real deal, art imitating life at its most bizarre and often most shameless.  His books reveal societal ills that are unfortunately not just exclusive to the state of Florida, although they are uniquely rendered there.  May all readers have the opportunity to listen to Carl Hiassen speak sometime.  Until then, reading his hilarious tales (or truths) is a most palatable substitute.