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William Finnegan is a staff writer for The New Yorker who's reported from some dangerous corners of the world. He's also an obsessive surfer. And his memoir is all my armchair adrenaline junkie's heart was hoping for from that combination. Barbarian Days is full of awe and confusion and joy and anomie, lucky breaks and narrow escapes, friendships strained and strengthened, frontiers explored. Finnegan tells his story with a devotee's passion and a reporter's analytical talent and eye for detail. The book is a fairly serious time investment at close to 500 pages, but the journey is an immersive and beautiful one.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to find Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman at the top of our list this week. But how long will the To Kill a Mockingbird companion maintain that position? Watch this space next week to find out.
Rona London reviews her pick for Book of the Day:
Larry Miller reviews his pick for Book of the Day:
Arlene Alda conducted a number of interviews of former and current residents of the Bronx who describe their youthful experiences in that borough of New York. Just Kids from the Bronx presents 60 of them in narrative form. One encounters familiar names (Carl Reiner, Mary Higgins Clark, Colin Powell) and others who are not in the limelight like Margaret O’Brien, a nun and educator, or Erik Zeidler, a scientist investigating the natural environment of the Bronx River.