Under the Wave

My first surfboard had a Playboy center fold entombed beneath the polyurethane. Actually it was a rented board and was usually waiting for me at the surf shop (was it too embarrassing for earlier renters?) Growing up in San Diego, beach life was almost a twelve month pleasure and I eventually talked my Dad into fronting me the money for my own custom board: 9 foot 2 with green rails from Gordon & Smith. This may seem gargantuan but my first exposure to surfing was at Doheny Beach in the mid ’50s and the board was made of redwood and probably half-again as long.

I’m thinking back to the lazy days lounging on the hot sand at Saratoga Street reading the latest William Goldman novel or dodging jellyfish in the surf. The trigger was not a cookie but rather Paul Theroux’s recent novel, Under the Wave at Waimea. My years of surfing are a strong memory and this book is sharpening the focus.

Did you forget all the interesting titles that were suggested last year in December? Here’s a reminder:

12-01-21 – Chronicles of Old Los Angeles — James Roman
12-02-21 – The Ferrari In the Bedroom — Jean Shepherd
12-03-21 – The Dunciad — Alexander Pope
12-04-21 – Daphnis and Chloe – Longus
12-05-21 – Sperm Wars — Robin Blake
12-06-21 – Requiem for a Female Serial Killer — Phyllis Chesler
12-07-21 – Nick — Michael Farris Smith
12-08-21 – Fake Accounts — Lauren Oyler
12-09-21 – Jungle Goddess — Charles Nuetzel
12-10-21 – Borges and Joyce: An Infinite Conversation — Patricia Novillo-Corvalán
12-11-21 – An American Type: A Novel — Henry Roth
12-12-21 – Trash — Amy Yamada
12-13-21 – An Apprenticeship, or the Book of Pleasures — Clarice Lispector
12-14-21 – My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel — Ottessa Moshfegh
12-15-21 – How Beautiful We Were — Imbolo Mbue
12-16-21 – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: An Unauthorized Autobiography — Chuck Barris
12-17-21 – The (Other) You — Joyce Carol Oates
12-18-21 – The Sympathizer: A Novel — Viet Thanh Nguyen
12-19-21 – Last Orgy of the Divine Hermit — Mark Leyner
12-20-21 – The Book of M — Peng Shepherd
12-21-21 – Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity — Prue Shaw
12-22-21 – Cowboy Graves — Roberto Bolaño
12-23-21 – Lies They Teach At School — Herb Reich
12-24-21 – Riverrun — Danton Remoto
12-25-21 – No One Is Talking About This — Patricia Lockwood
12-26-21 – The Man Who Couldn’t Die — Olga Slavnikova
12-27-21 – The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe — Stephan Alexander
12-28-21 – Group Portrait with Lady — Heinrich Böll
12-29-21 – Oswald’s Tale — Norman Mailer
12-30-21 – Across the Waters of Time: Pliny Remembered — Ken Parejko
12-31-21 – Secret Life of a Hollywood Sex & Love Addict: A Novel — Brianne Davis

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