Johann Sebastian Humpbach

71tLxPX7qoLWinter is whale season on Maui, when the humpbacks return from theGetAttachment-1.aspx cold Alaskan waters to play and mate in the warm Hawaiian sun.  Inspired by the island, the whales, and her students, retired teacher Jamie David created a story targeted for middle schoolers in Johann Sebastian Humpbach.  David personifies the singing whale and creates an adventure with twelve year-old local twins, who save him from a villain determined to exploit Johann’s talent.  With a glossary of Hawaiian vocabulary, the book offers a souvenir of Maui for young visitors, and fond memories of whale singing for those lucky enough to have heard it.

Maui Sunset

Maui Sunset

A Room Full of Bones – a Ruth Galloway mystery

Ruth Galloway, forensic archeologist/detective and now single mother, is back in Elly Griffiths A Room Full of Bone – solving a new crime with Chief Inspector Harry Nelson. This fourth book has more personal angst than the first three in the series, and the characters seem to have become stereotypes: Ruth, the dowdy but intelligent professor, with questionable academic friends; Nelson, the macho crime fighter whose conscience only twinges when he remembers he cheated on his wife and fathered a daughter with Ruth.

This crime is based on bones again (Ruth is an expert on bones). The story has the requisite dead bodies and possible suspects but it is not as compelling as Griffiths other Galloway mysteries. A Room Full of Bones was easy to put down and forget to pick up again.

Clare Ferguson, where are you?

Related Reviews:
The House at Seas End

New Summer Beach Books

Although the weather in Hawaii promotes year-round beach reading, summer still comes to the islands – with more tourists looking for that idyll that lets them escape for a few weeks.  Janet Martin’s article for the New York Times – New Under the Sun: Books for Basking  – made it to the front page of the Honolulu Star Advertiser recently, and I was happy to see her top beach read is Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies (check out my review here).

Her list of fiction to read this summer – that I might try – includes:

  • Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
  • The Kings of Cool by Don Winslow
  • Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (thriller)
  • Granddad, There’s A Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill (mystery)

A few nonfiction piqued my interest too:

  • Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley
  • Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Diane Daphne Sheldrick

    It promises to be a long hot summer, and when the trade winds stop blowing, August in Hawaii can be as hot and humid as Washington, D.C. without the air conditioning.

Check out Maslin’s article for more reading suggestions and book summaries.

Flower Shows

Honolulu Flower Show

The Philadelphia Flower Show was always the ultimate experience for gardeners on the East Coast, but I never went to the show until after I no longer lived in the city. This year, Philadelphia showcased Hawaii – Philadelphia Flower Show Offers Palm Trees and White Sand. Spring doesn’t really come to Hawaii, but a flower show appears in Hawaii every three years; this year it’s on Mother’s Day, and I decided to not miss it.

Spring flowers in Hawaii…seems an appropriate topic for Mother’s Day…

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A Vision of Peace from the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama visited Hawaii last week and delivered his message of “compassion and harmony,”  and reminded high school students gathered to hear his wisdom that peace comes from education as well as from liberation from fear, anger, and frustration.

Of course, he said with a smile…bringing the audience to laughter…

“…if a mad dog is chasing you…inner peace will not help at all…”

As prolific in writing as he is in meditating, the author of over 100 books has sound bites that are just as impressive.  One of my favorites…

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”