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Five Maui Must-Reads

Article by Eric Shaffer

Michener may have written "the book" on Hawaii, and even Twain penned a few paragraphs while visiting paradise, but modern-day writers have plenty to say about their home in the Pacific. Here's five local authors who present startling, often hilarious, versions of Hawaii you may have never guessed at.

Maui Health & Wellness

Cowboys in Paradise
Rough Riders by Ilima Loomis

Ilima Loomis' Rough Riders elaborates on an aspect of the Hawaiian Islands that few who visit ever suspect: over two hundred years of cowboys ranching in paradise. The first cattle arrived as gifts to Kamehameha I. The industry was thriving within a hundred years, with ranches, roundups, and rodeos on all major islands. Visitors driving to the summit of Maui's volcano spend much of the ascent watching for cattle as rented cars climb through Haleakala Ranch. Hawaiian cowboys are paniolo, and the firsthand accounts of ranch life are compelling. Men pursued cattle onto knife-edge ridges, chased bulls over cliffs, and swam cattle to the boats for shipping to the mainland, a practice called hoau pipi. The volume is beautiful, packed with historical and contemporary photographs, and each island's history is chronicled, as is the ingenious adaptation of the arts of cowboys and cattle ranching to the islands of Hawaii.

Illumination and Light
Lahaina Noon by Eric Paul Shaffer

In Lahaina Noon, award-winning local author Eric Paul Shaffer presents poems of light and illumination in Hawaii. He writes, "I stand quietly on Front Street balancing the sun on my head, . . . reflecting all the light I cannot contain." Shaffer reveals the islands beneath the travel posters, in lines as clear, accurate, and direct as the news, complete with live, local, and late-breaking daily details. Here, the octopus escapes the luau, loosing the creel's latch "for a sudden slide through the scuppers to the sea." Unexpectedly, local lovers tryst near the landfill, knowing "the road to the dump is far too public for a lover's lane." Standing in roadside mud, they embrace, half-hoping and half-dreading being seen where "everyone on the island knows everyone else." As paradise poses in oils on the beach, Shaffer focuses on the people working, loving, and living in this place they call home.

  read more: Forging Paradise in Maui >>