In their encouraging and endless drive to take intellectual curiosity to new frontiers, Vroman's presents author Sarah Vowell as she discusses and signs her new book, Unfamiliar Fishes(Riverhead, $25.95). It's a sprawling, fascinating chronicle of the history of Hawaii, which includes the invasion of Christian missionaries surprise, surprise in the 19th century, and the coup d'etat of those missionaries' sons in 1893 that overthrew the Hawaiian queen. The book also shines a light on exploitation of the land by the American military and the sugar industry, and the tragedy of the last Hawaiian queen, Lili'uokalania,who wrote the song "Aloha 'Oe" which, in a particularly caustic dollop of irony, was played for Barack Obama during his inaugural procession. Vowell's latest creative endeavor is a far cry from her turn as the voice of the girl with the force-field superpowers in The Incredibles but that's what makes her so interesting; would that more artists these days would be so brilliantly multisubjectival.
Wed., March 30, 7 p.m., 2011