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Everything Books: 4-21-17

Updated: 
April 21, 2017 - 12:05am

New editions of Westervelt classics feature Hawaii Island artist’s work

New editions of classic tales by William Drake Westervelt, including Legends of Maui and Hawaiian Legends of Volcanoes, featuring block prints and oil paintings by Hawaii Island artist Dietrich Varez were recently released by Hilo publisher Petroglyph Press.

Maui is a mythic figure that lifts up the heavens and fishes up islands from beneath the sea with his magic fishhook; a folk hero that snares the sun to make it move more slowly and discovers the secret of fire. Hina is a goddess that creates the finest white kapa. She sacrifices herself for her people in time of drought and famine, and watches over them from her home in the moon. Among the most beloved of mythical figures in Polynesian folklore, their stories are told in places spread over an immense geographical area of the Pacific and located specifically in Hilo around the Wailuku River and Halai Hills. This highlights the vastness of Polynesian exploration and the connection of shared cultures thousands of miles apart.

The evocative, century-old writing of Westervelt combines seamlessly with the contemporary artwork of Varez whose lifetime of study and deep respect for Polynesian culture and mythology is evident in his block prints and oil paintings.

They are available at Basically Books in Hilo, Kona Stories, and other book and gift stores throughout Hawaii.

Info: www.petroglyphpress.com.

Book club to discuss ‘Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy’

Kona Stories hosts a nonfiction book club discussing “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” by Karen Abbotton on Tuesday.

The group meets at 6 p.m. at the store. Book groups are free if books are purchased at Kona Stories, or a $5 donation is requested.

Abbott, the New York Times bestselling author of “Sin in the Second City,” tells the spellbinding true story of four women who risked everything to become spies during the Civil War in “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O’Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives.

Using a wealth of primary source material and interviews with the spies’ descendants, Abbott seamlessly weaves the adventures of these four heroines throughout the tumultuous years of the war.

Info: Brenda or Joy, 324-0350, www.konastories.com. ■

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