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

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