Anthony Ulinski is a Raleigh artist and furniture maker.
Recommended read: “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life” by William Finnegan. This memoir about growing up as a surfer in California and Hawaii has everything I like in a book: interesting characters, beautiful and varied locations, difficult travel, science (you’ll know a lot about waves when you’re done), adventure, and a story of a life well lived. The challenges of traveling to remote areas without tourist infrastructure (and with a surfboard) prepared Finnegan for the writing he has taken on for “The New Yorker” and others.
Currently reading: “Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind And Found Its Soul” by Clara Bingham and “March: Book Three” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell.
What favorite book from childhood have you kept? “Suzuki Beane” by Sandra Scoppettone and illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh. Suzuki is a 7-year-old beatnik child of beatnik parents, growing up in New York. She has a different way of being in the world, which brings on adventures.
What is your favorite reading memory? Reading “My Family And Other Animals” during the summer my family spent in Corfu in the mid-1960s. It’s Gerald Durrell’s memoir about his family’s five years in Corfu and his introduction to the glories of the local flora and fauna – a pursuit that became his career. I took to collecting local sea critters myself, much to the chagrin of my sisters (less so my brother). One time I came home and my specimens had all escaped.
What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of? Two novels that ought to be better known are “Offshore” by Penelope Fitzgerald and “Still Life with Insects” by Brian Kiteley.
What movie was better than the book? “The Godfather.” It’s a great story and Coppola, Brando, Caan, and the rest of the cast and crew made a beautiful film out of it.
Where do you go for book recommendations? Kim Church, my wife, has lots of good recommendations. I read book reviews in The News & Observer, The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Nation. When I travel I seek out bookstores for their unique inventories and recommendations.
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
Penguin Press, 464 pages