During the two months or so I’ve been writing “What I’m Reading” for the Sunday Advertiser’s Island Life section, I’ve heard about a lot of books, and of all that my interviewees have mentioned, I own just one (though I must admit I haven’t yet read it): “The Colony.” What is interesting, I think, is the near matched number of fiction and nonfiction titles, flying in the face perhaps of those who think nonfiction is the new black.

Here is a list of books the people I’ve spoken with in 2006 have enjoyed, and in some way recommend. Enjoy.

FICTION / POETRY

Echo Park | Michael Connelly
(Mazie Hirono: “…pure escapism and enjoyment.”)

The Tiger in the Grass | Harriet Durer
(Pegge Hopper: “[Durer] writes beautifully and sensitively about Mexico.”)

The Innocent Man | John Grisham
(Dave Shoji: “There are a lot of authors that you could read and try to outthink…. Usually you can’t do that with Grisham.”)

The Bear Went Over the Mountain | William Kotzwinkle
(Ian MacMillan: “It’s a funny book.”)

The Life of Pi | Yann Martel
(Lois Ann Yamanaka)

The Book of Love | Rumi, translated by Colin Barks
(Makana: “His poetry is really fun…..He talks about going totally the opposite of everything we’ve been taught in society with the media and our culture.”)

The Book of Salt | Monique Truong
(Pegge Hopper)

Time Quake | Kurt Vonnegut
(Ian MacMillan)

NONFICTION

The Gift of Civilization: Germs and Genocide in Hawaii | A.O. Bushnell
(Ian MacMillan: It’s probably the most important and best out-of-print book I know of.”)

Team of Rivals | Doris Kearns Goodwin
(Mufi Hannemann)

The Audacity of Hope | Barack Obama
(Mufi Hannemann and Mazie Hirono)

The First and Last Freedom | J. Krishnamurti
(Makana: “What I enjoy about the way he guides is that…it really is a clear view into how we think.”)

Beyond Basketball | Mike Krzyzewski
(Mufi Hannemann)

Fiasco | Thomas Ricks
(Mazie Hirono: “…very well researched and well documented.”)

The End of Oil | Paul Roberts
(Cynthia Thielen: “It’s compelling…a warning signal.”)

Aikido and the Harmony of Nature | Mitsugi Saotome
(Makana: “teachings and philosophy…all about transcending the self and separation of man from nature, and just allowing the flow of nature to come through you.”)

The Colony | John Tayman
(Lois Ann Yamanaka: “It’s not strictly a historical document. It was captivating. It kept me engaged.”)

The Palau Islands | Mandy Thyssen
(Nainoa Thompson)

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