Celebrating the “Wonderfully Subversive Power of Libraries and Librarians” as Robert Ji-Song Ku’s Dubious Gastronomy Wins APALA Literature Award for Adult Nonfiction

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One of the raffle items at the APALA awards dinner—a bracelet with mini book covers of the winning titles.

APALA-logoIn conjunction with the American Library Association annual conference in San Francisco, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) literary awards were presented at a lively dinner ceremony on Saturday, June 27. Dubious Gastronomy: The Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA by Robert Ji-Song Ku, associate professor of Asian American studies at Binghamton University–SUNY, received the top honor in the adult nonfiction category. While Professor Ku regrettably was unable to attend the event, his prepared remarks were read by UH Press development director Colins Kawai, who accepted the award on his behalf. The speech is worth sharing here:

“It is a privilege and an honor to win the 2014-15 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the adult non-fiction category. I am especially honored to receive this award from an association of librarians because, you see, I was practically raised by librarians since I was eight years old when my family immigrated to Hawaii from Korea in the early 1970s.

Ku-Dubious GastronomyHaving to work several jobs between them from before sunrise to long after sunset, my parents could not afford any sort of childcare, after-school programs, or summer camps for their three children. My mother’s solution was to drop us off at the public library for hours on end. And this is how I fell in love with books, which plunged me into the world of dinosaurs, great white sharks, and faraway galaxies. It also led me to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth, Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, and Maxine Hong Kingston’s girlhood among ghosts, white tigers, and shamans.

I believe it was the filmmaker Michael Moore who said of librarians: “They are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them.”

Ku,RobertI couldn’t agree more. The fact that I went on to earn a PhD in English literature, become a professor of Asian American studies, and author books about Asian Americans is a testament to the wonderfully subversive and revolutionary power of libraries and librarians. No, I don’t mess with librarians; I give them props!

I thank the University of Hawai‘i Press for publishing my book, and especially my editor, Masako Ikeda, for believing in my book from the very get-go. I thank my family—my wife Nancy and twin boys Eliot and Oliver—for everything under and above the sun. But most of all, on this day, I thank the members of APALA for bestowing upon me this incredible honor.”

All of us at UHP join him in giving props to librarians everywhere!

Hawaiian Historical Society hosts UHP author John R. K. Clark

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Author John R. K. Clark turns to the Hawaiian newspaper archives to create rich reference guides filled with primary resource accounts of places in Hawai’i — his latest title, North Shore Place Names, comes from a lifelong passion for surfing and fascination with Hawai’i’s home of legendary winter swells. This title is an important example of one of many transitions in research style for scholars of Hawai’i — please take a look at his Hawaiian Historical Society lecture by clicking on the image to the left.

His latest title, North Shore Place Names, can be found on our web store.

UH Coach Dave Shoji to Sign Wahine Volleyball at Bookstore Launch Events

Shoji-coverIn Wahine Volleyball: 40 Years Coaching Hawai‘i’s Team, Dave Shoji, legendary coach for the University of Hawai‘i women’s volleyball program looks back at four decades to tell his story along with that of the Rainbow Wahine. With the assistance of longtime sports-beat writer Ann Miller, Hawai‘i’s winningest coach provides an exclusive look at the state’s perennially successful athletic team.

Coach Shoji and Ann Miller will appear at book-signings scheduled for mid-November:
Wednesday, November 12, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at University of Hawai‘i Mānoa Bookstore (See the bookstore’s Facebook for their special offer)
Saturday, November 15, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana Center
UPDATE 11/10/14: Third signing added:
Friday, November 28, approximate time 10:00 to 11:00 p.m., following the match against UC-Riverside, on the concourse near Gate B and the UH Athletics’ H-Zone shop at the Stan Sheriff ticket office. Books will also be for sale at the H-Zone Ward Center shop.

In the coming weeks, books will become available at other retailers as well as the above and directly from UH Press.

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Wahine Volleyball: 40 Years Coaching Hawai‘i’s Team
Dave Shoji with Ann Miller
November 2014 | 240 pages plus 8-page color insert
Cloth | ISBN 978-0-8248-5141-5 | $45.00 (wishlist)
Paper | ISBN 978-0-8248-5142-2 | $19.99

John Rosa Presents Backstory to Local Story, His Book on the Massie-Kahahawai Case

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Please join us on Sunday, August 10, 2 to 4 p.m., at Native Books/Nā Mea Hawai‘i, as UH-Mānoa history professor John Rosa gives an illustrated talk on his book, Local Story: The Massie-Kahahawai Case and the Culture of History. He will discuss how he researched the book and why the 1931-1932 case continues to have relevance in today’s Hawai‘i. While other books have told the “true crime” details of this case before, Dr. Rosa retells the story and shows how this narrative explains the beginnings of a non-white, “local” identity among Hawai‘i’s working-class people.

Light refreshments will be provided at the free presentation and books will be available for purchase and signing. Native Books is located at the ‘ewa end of Ward Warehouse (1050 Ala Moana Blvd.); phone: 808-596-8885.

Read more about Dr. Rosa’s research on the book in Kaunānā, UH-Mānoa’s online research publication. Also, listen to his April 2014 interview on HPR2‘s The Conversation.


2014 | 176 pages | 978-0-8248-3970-3 | Paper | $19.99

Michael French Smith Writes about PNG on Longitude and HuffPost

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For travelers searching for books and maps about their destination, Longitude has been the go-to resource since 1999. In the July issue of its newsletter highlighting travel to Indonesia, Michael French Smith’s A Faraway, Familiar Place is the featured book for Papua New Guinea and includes an excerpt from his post that appeared earlier on the Longitude blog.

A Faraway, Familiar Place: An Anthropologist Returns to Papua New Guinea is available at a newly reduced price of $35 from UH Press or the Longitude bookstore (where although the price still shows at the original $52, the new price is in effect).

See also Smith’s article on Huffington Post about the political climate and preferential voting system of PNG.

Authors George and Willa Tanabe Honored with JCCH and HHF Awards

On June 21, UH Mānoa professors emeriti George and Willa Tanabe will be honored by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i with the Spirit of JCCH award, as community leaders who exemplify Japanese American values of Hawai‘i. The award follows last month’s Historic Hawai‘i Foundation recognition of the Tanabes for their book, Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i, with a Preservation Media honor award.

There’s still time to reserve a seat at the JCCH Sharing the Spirit of Aloha awards gala, where you can bid on a hardback copy of Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i in the silent auction. (We also donated a copy of Shiho Imai’s Creating the Nisei Market, which explores the history and importance of Japanese American merchants in Hawai‘i.)

Congratulations George and Willa!

Photo caption: UH Press executive editor Pat Crosby
joined authors George and Willa Tanabe, and book designer
Julie Matsuo-Chun at the 2014 Historic Hawai‘i Foundation
Preservation Honor awards.

Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawai‘i: An Illustrated Guide | 2012 | 256 pages
Paper ISBN 978-0-8248-3679-5 | Cloth ISBN 978-0-8248-3663-4