Jamie Brisick to Join William Finnegan Event

This week’s California Book Club: Matt Bell, Rodrigo García, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

There are just two days until our California Book Club gathering with William Finnegan, and we hope you’ve had a thrilling time reading Barbarian Days! We are writing to announce that writer and former pro surfer Jamie Brisick will briefly join the discussion with Finnegan, host John Freeman, and you, dear reader!

Brisick has written for such publications as the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and the Surfer’s Journal. His first monograph, Becoming Westerly, narrates the history of Westerly Windina, one of the world’s greatest surfers, who went on to work as a Method actor and later came out as a trans woman.

We are eager to hear Freeman and Brisick talk with Finnegan about his path to writing and his relationship with surfing today.

Here are the details of the event:

  • When: Thursday, July 15, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific time (please note the later start time).
  • Where: To join the event on Zoom, click here.
  • What: Your host, John Freeman, will be in conversation with William Finnegan, author of Barbarian Days. They will be joined by special guest Jamie Brisick.
  • Author questions: Please send questions for William Finnegan to info@californiabookclub.com. You can also submit them using Zoom’s chat feature after the event begins.
  • Attend to win: We will be giving away author-signed copies of Barbarian Days to five attendees, selected at random, following Thursday’s program.
  • Mark your calendars: Upcoming CBC discussions with Dana Johnson, author of Elsewhere, California, on August 19, and Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell, on September 23.

    To sign up for Alta Journal’s California Book Club for free, click here. And don’t forget to join your fellow book club members in the Alta Clubhouse for ongoing discussions about our selected book of the month.

    Thanks, and see you Thursday!


    barbarian days, william finnegan
    Penguin Books


    CBC host John Freeman charts how Barbarian Days “reveals that an endless passion doesn’t—necessarily—have to lead to an end.” Alta

    william finnegan
    William Finnegan


    We hope you’ve been enjoying Barbarian Days. As a preview to our upcoming gathering, here is a close reading of its opening pages. Alta

    appleseed, matt bell
    Custom House


    In a review, Mark Athitakis considers how Matt Bell’s Appleseed “addresses three kinds of anxieties that tend to hover around climate fiction.” Alta

    palm springs noir
    Akashic Books


    Barbara DeMarco-Barrett makes the case for why Palm Springs, California, is the perfect place to set a work of noir. Crime Reads

    gabriel garcía márquez
    Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times


    “To write a book about the death of your parents is to expose moments of intense intimacy and vulnerability,” Carolina A. Miranda says of Rodrigo García’s new memoir, A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes, about the death of his mother, Mercedes Barcha, and father, Gabriel García Márquez. Los Angeles Times

    lawrence ferlinghetti at home exhibit
    Yalonda M. James/San Francisco Chronicle


    The Beat Museum is holding an exhibition titled Lawrence Ferlinghetti at Home, which displays some of Ferlinghetti’s most cherished possessions, including his wooden writing desk, his 3,000-page dictionary, and his iconic hats. Datebook

    tongo eisen martin, juan felipe herrera


    Congratulations to the winners of the 40th annual Northern California Book Awards, which honor the best pieces of literature published by a writer or translator from Northern California. Poetry Flash

    how much of these hills is gold, c pam zhang
    Riverhead Books


    C. Pam Zhang’s debut novel, How Much of These Hills Is Gold, which was the CBC’s October 2020 selection, is currently being developed for a television series. Variety

    my year abroad, chang rae lee
    Riverhead Books


    My Year Abroad looks past these tropes—present not only in Lee’s past writing, but in Asian American literature writ large—by de-centering ‘America’ in favor of East Asia,” Kion You says in a review of Chang-rae Lee’s latest novel. Los Angeles Review of Books

    gentlemen prefer blondes, jane russell, marilyn monroe
    Twentieth Century Fox


    Marlowe Granados mulls over an old-Hollywood stereotype—the bimbo—and describes its fascinating return and contemporary import. Baffler

    california book club bookplates

    Alta’s California Book Club email newsletter is published weekly. Sign up for free and you also will receive four custom-designed bookplates.


    Rasheeda Saka is a graduate student in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
    Advertisement - Continue Reading Below