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Page Turners

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"The Code: The Power of ‘I Will,’" by Shaun Tomson, with Patrick Moser (Gibbs Smith, $16.99): Champion surfer Shaun Tomson tells anecdotes from a surfer’s life, framing them as inspirational homilies of self-improvement. Hair-raising stories about wild wipeouts and epic rides abound in this small volume, but there are bleak moments as well, such as when Tomson talks about the death of his teenage son Matthew.

"Surfing About Music," by Timothy J. Cooley (University of California Press, $29.95): This book explores the connection between music and surfing, from ancient Hawaiian mele and hula about surfing to the ’60s surf-music stylings of Dick Dale and the Deltones and the Beach Boys, as well as contemporary surfer-musicians like Jack Johnson and Donavan Frankenreiter. Cooley, an ethnomusicologist and a surfer, finds commonalities in the ephemeral, creative qualities of the two activities.

"My Mother, My Father and His Wife Hortense," by Dialta Lensi Orlandi (self-published, $17): Local socialite and arts patron Princess Alliata di Montereale tells her family story, revealing her blood ties to Arthur Acton, a 19th-century Renaissance art dealer. It delves into the legal battle over Acton’s Villa La Pietra, an elegant estate in Flor­ence, Italy, where Walter Dillingham was married. Dillingham later used it as a model for his mansion at the base of Diamond Head, which is now La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls.

"Twice Heroes: America’s Nisei Veterans of WWII and Korea," by Tom Graves (Nassau & Witherspoon, $45): Wartime recollections of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and other nisei service personnel, many of them from Hawaii, are told in this coffee table-size book. It also features black-and-white portraits of the veterans, including the late U.S. Sen. Dan Ino­uye, whose image graces the cover.

"Kabuki Boy," by Perle Besserman (Aqueous Books, $14): The author, a part-time Hono­lulu resident, takes readers on a cultural and historical tour with this tale about a youth who begins his coming of age as a doctor’s apprentice before becoming an actor in kabuki theater. The novel is set in the mid-19th century during the tumultuous collapse of the Tokugawa Era.

"Brothers Under a Same Sky," by Gary Pak (University of Hawaii Press, $19): English professor Pak’s latest novel tells the story of Korean-American brothers born on a sugar plantation whose lives take widely divergent paths. Themes of modern-day Korea — forced separation of families, spiritual and political conflict — play out in this mid-20th-century story set in Hawaii and war-torn Korea.


“Page Turners” highlights books by Hawaii authors and books about Hawaii or of interest to Hawaii readers. To submit a book for consideration, send a copy and information to Features Department, 500 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. For more information, email

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