The 30-Day Writing & Publishing Project, Day 23: The Bliss of Beginning a New Book

Barbarian Days surf book

I recently bought a new book.

A book I’d read about and heard about for weeks. I read about it in Oprah Magazine. I read a review of it in the New York Times Book Review. Then I read another piece on it, also in the New York Times, in some other section of the paper that escapes my memory at the moment. I went online and read interviews with the book’s author. So many interviews.

I worked up so much anticipation about getting my hands on this book that I was fairly salivating all the way over to Barnes & Noble last week to buy the thing.

Then when I got there, I looked in the memoir section, and it wasn’t there.  Oooooh, how disappointed I was! I mean, really disappointed. Like, curse-under-my-breath disappointed.

But then . . .

Then I remembered that because of the wacky way booksellers sometimes categorize books, the object of my intended affection might actually be located in the Sports section, of all places.

And indeed, there it was. Oh, glory!  My heart started beating rapidly as I spied a copy. I picked it up, raced to the counter to pay, and drove all the way home in a state of new-book-induced euphoria.

The book that caused this happy delirium?

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan.

In a previous blog post I mentioned how besotted I’ve become with surf memoirs lately, and this is, hands-down, the best one I’ve read so far.

John Lancaster writes of the book in the Washington Post:

“Elegantly written and structured, it’s a riveting adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, and a restless, searching meditation on love, friendship and family.”

That’s just one of many glowing observations made by reviewers of this wonderful book.

I’m up to page 72 and there are 447 “elegantly written and structured” pages to read, so I’ve got a couple of weeks of languorous reading pleasure ahead of me.

Ah, life is so good.  

And now I’m off to spend the rest of my Sunday afternoon reading.


Read more about Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.

Get the goods on William Finnegan.

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