I have a serious addiction to Amazon.com and purchasing books. When I was younger, on occasion, our family would go to the mall. My favorite place to be in the whole mall was the bookstore. I could sit there for hours on end browsing titles and reading the first couple of chapters of books that seemed interesting. I loved looking at comic books and seeing the beautiful illustrations. I love looking at photo books of far-off destinations and scenery of distant lands. Books were my escape as a young girl.
As a teen, I was interested in the young adult fiction section but none of the experiences of caucasian teenagers could hold my interest for very long. Their experiences were not similar to mine at all. I consider that most in approaching the writing of my first novel. I want to feed the need of a Polynesian young person perusing the bookstore shelves for books for "us" and about "us". I think about powerful stories like Pouliuli, by Albert Wendt. His portrayal of familial responsibility, as defined by Samoan culture, hurts to the bone. Yet the desire to please family seems universal.
I remember identifying with the Scott O'dell book, Island of the Blue Dolphins. Not only was the main character, Karana, marooned on an island but she witnessed the desecration of her people by foreigners. My 4th Grade Language Arts teacher, Miss Elly Tepper, read a single chapter from this book to us every week. Here I am, 25 years after having first experienced that book, marooned on my island by choice and witnessing the desecration of Hawaiian people and Hawaiian land. I feel so utterly helpless, almost, in regards to the foreigners total disrespect of native people. Had the white man never reached these shores, would my ancestors still be living as Karana did? Would we be able to roam free on our land, fish our waters and truly enjoy life; food and beautiful objects being our only currency? I wonder!
I think of books like The Isis Papers. I never seen this book in a regular bookstore. I acquired it from my ex-husband. The first time I read it, I couldn't even finish it. I thought her ideas on white supremacy and male dominance were beyond wild and crazy. At that point in my life, she was asking me to push beyond my limited experience, beyond reason, to accept her ideas. Now, as a somewhat mature, more open-minded thinker, I see the truth in her words. I laugh at how some of her ideas explain events in history. I warn readers about this book because it will truly push your minds boundaries to its limit! DO NOT acquire this book unless you can stomach extreme description of the male and female anatomy, to say the least.
As an aging adult, time has moved beyond bookstores in the mall to shopping in the comfort of my home. The bookstore has finally come to me. At the touch of a button, millions of books are at my disposal! Thank you Amazon.com, for bringing the book world to me! It truly aids me in my effort to keep my mind quick and strong and free-thinking. I cannot be bound by ignorance with so much knowledge in the universe.
**Photo Credit: Bookshelves