2018 OCOB selection - "Barbarian Days"

Live crowd for book discussion of Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

Our 2018 One County, One Book program featured Pulitzer prize-winning author William Finnegan's book Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.

2018 OCOB Author Event

The 2018 One County, One Book author presentation featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Finnegan was held at the Museum of Ventura County, a program partner for this event along with the Ventura County Library Foundation

Over 190 people attended the program, which featured a presentation by the author on his book Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, an author Q&A, and a book signing session. 

In the lead up to the October author event, branch libraries hosted book discussions (see our discussion questions here), coastal-themed science lectures, and surf-themed movie screenings.

Additionally, our Youth Services team and branch staff offered a series of surf, ocean, and travel-themed STEAM and Early Literacy events for children, so everyone could participate in the fun. It was a wonderful celebration of literature and the library.


Pulitzer Prize winner William Finnegan catches the essence of the perfect wave in his New York Times bestselling memoir, Barbarian Days: A Surfing LifeStarting with his childhood, Finnegan sets the tone for a life of surfing, beginning with catching waves in California and Hawaii. As an adult, Finnegan roamed the world with a friend, searching for the next wave. Great waves could be found around Australia, the South Pacific, Asia, and Africa. Finnegan also used these experiences to hone his journalism skills, and has been writing for The New Yorker since 1984. Barbarian Days provides readers the opportunity to tour the world, one wave at a time.

About the author - William Finnegan

Born in New York, and raised in California and Hawaii, William Finnegan spent his childhood surfing. 

After receiving a B.A. in literature from U.C. Santa Cruz, and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana, he spent the next few years traveling around the world.

During this time, Finnegan started freelance travel writing, and wrote his first book, Crossing the Line: A Year in the Land of Apartheid, while working at a school in Cape Town, South Africa.

He witnessed, first-hand, how apartheid affected his students and the local community. After his experience of living in South Africa, Finnegan started writing political pieces, and was subsequently published in Mother JonesThe New Yorker, and Harper's, among others.

He took the opportunity to surf whenever he traveled on assignment.

He currently lives in New York, and still surfs in Long Island.

Read Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan!

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