Fact or Fiction: Paradise lost

In Fact or Fiction I recommend a fiction and nonfiction book on the same topic. Are beach resorts and tropical islands your idea of paradise? You can learn about the terrible toll beach resorts have on local cultures, spook yourself with a creepy tale about the dark side of Hawaii, or both! Either way you may think twice about visiting paradise.

The Last Resort by Sarah Stodola

Ah, welcome to your beach paradise. Enjoy the beautiful white sand – wait, where is the sand? Smell the salty air – I can’t, that stinking pile of seaweed is messing with my nose! Admire the beautiful sea view – difficult when that ugly breakwater is interfering! Is this paradise?

Sadly, according to Sarah Stodola in The Last Resort, over-development, sand mining and climate change among other things have ruined our collective halcyon view of a beach resort. As she travels from Bali to Cancun, Miami Beach to the Barbados she documents the history, heyday and eventual decline of once beautiful beaches. 

Hokuloa Road by Elizabeth Hand

Speaking of beach paradises, let’s visit Hawaii with Grady, a young carpenter and handyman who has come from Maine to work as a caretaker for a remote estate on the Hokuloa Peninsula. To Grady’s surprise, Hawaii looks a lot like Maine.

Homelessness, unemployment, locals shut out of the wealth from omnipresent resorts, and a rash of missing people convince Grady this isn’t the paradise he was expecting. Things get even more disturbing when Grady encounters a frightening half dog half man creature who seems to want Grady to investigate the mysterious disappearances. Eerie and atmospheric, Hokuloa Road may make you rethink your next Hawaiian vacation.

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Constant reader, book selector, shameless promoter of good reads - these are just a few of the things I do as a Collection Development Professional. I love sharing the hidden gems in our nonfiction collection!