Find out why third generation radio dee jay Harry B. Soria Jr. (Sorias have been on island radio for most of its history), is reading about the territory of Hawaii, and thrilled by Digital Fortress. This interview was published in short form in the Honolulu Advertiser on 11/4/2007.
What I’m Reading | Harry B. Soria Jr.
Hawaiian 105 Host: Territorial Airwaves
Q&A with Christine Thomas
–What are you reading?
I feel like I should do a disclaimer because I am really not an avid reader where I’m consuming a new book constantly. I’m more sidetracked because for my Territorial Airwaves web site I’m reading html code and lots of manuals and how-to articles. I read a lot online—I think I do a lot of reading online. I’m also here at Sony Hawai`i where we introduced the e-reader, where you download entire books and can put in hundreds of books into the memory and you view just one page at a time with a very effective back light. It’s quite an interesting product that’s taking off on the mainland. …
My passion is the territory of Hawai`i, so a lot of what I read is history. I’m into the music and pre-statehood period, so I read a lot of biographies and historical nonfiction. One of my all time favorite books is Hula Blues: The story of Johnny Noble, Hawaii, its music and musicians by Gurre Ploner Noble, published in 1948—the story of Johnny Noble but also Hawai`i at that time. I love that book because it has a lot of references I can go back to. Also there’s Waikiki Beachboy by Grady Timmons. It’s very well written because he writes in their world. Another one I like is Volcanoes in the Sea: The Geology of Hawaii by Gordon Andrew MacDonald in 1970. This one documents the geological processes that formed and are still forming Hawai`i’s island chain. … Another one is Pictorial History of Radio by Irving Settel, published in 1960. I’m fascinated by it because it was written in the late1950s when radio was being pressured by the young television but had not yet given in to the new medium. … My wife is a big fiction reader and she recently convinced me to read Digital Fortress: A Thriller by Dan brown, so there is that balance.
–How did you discover them?
A lot of these I’m interviewing other people because I’ve had so many guests on my radio show and I had Grady Timmons when he debuted Waikiki Beachboy, so I got to interview him about what he was doing. Hula Blues, someone else was on the show earlier—I’ve been doing the show since 1979 so somewhere along the line someone mentioned that and the others.
–Do you read historical books as a welcome escape from the present?
I like interviewing folks who can tell me about the periods but also I like reading about it especially if it’s written in that time. There are a lot of great historians today but for every one of those that I read today I like to legitimize what I’m reading by reading something that was written earlier and balance the two. Sometimes we get new insights, but other times we lose detail.
–Does knowing a lot about the past help you—whether through your radio or emcee work— accurately make the present memorable for posterity?
It is a responsibility if you’re carrying along information you have to get it right, you can’t distort it. What we print today and record today will change history going forward. I’ve seen that many times. Comparing new history and old history helps us be sure we haven’t lost anything—while we gain new insights, let us be sure to not lose the connections.