Alice Gregory is a columnist for The New York Times Book ­Review and a contributing editor at T Magazine. She has written for ­publications including The New Yorker, Harper’s, GQ, and n+1. (August 2015)

Follow Alice Gregory on Twitter: @AliceGregory.

IN THE REVIEW

The Riders of the Waves

Professional surfer Anthony Walsh, Teahupoo, Tahiti, April 2009

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

by William Finnegan
William Finnegan has written the oddly uncommon story of a life shaped by leisure. Barbarian Days is a motivated memoir: it explains why he is who he is, and how he got to do the things that he’s done. Surfing, in the most basic of ways, determined for decades where in the world he was at a given time, and with whom he spoke and laughed and ate.