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D.G.Wills Books

7461 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, Ca. 92037 (858)456-1800
HOURS: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 11am-5pm
La Jolla's largest collection of new and used scholarly books; and home of the La Jolla Cultural Society.


Visit the D.G.Wills Books YouTube Channel, featuring past appearances by Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, Maureen Dowd, Freeman Dyson, Allen Ginsberg, Christopher Hitchens, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Billy Collins, Iris Chang, Patricia Neal with Stephen Michael Shearer, Edward Albee, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, and Senator Byron L. Dorgan. 
D.G.Wills Books events on Book TV, C-SPAN:
Professor Yunte Huang discussing his book Charlie Chan.
Journalist Dave Zirin discusses his book  Welcome to the Terrordome.
D.G.Wills Books events  on UCSD TV:
Professor Robert Polito and Patricia Patterson discussing
Professor Andrew Feenberg discussing his collection The Essential Marcuse.
D.G.Wills Books events on TSN: THE SCIENCE NETWORK:
Professor V.S. Ramachandran dicusses his book The Tell Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human. 

Professor Lawrence M. Krauss discusses his book Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life In Science.



Author and Journalist
will discuss his new book

The Butch Van Artsdalen Story
Sunday, June 13, at 2 PM 


Surfer, lover, fighter, lifesaver… Butch Van Artsdalen was all of these things and so much more during his all too short but exciting life here among us. Everyone who was around the surfing scene from the 1950s to the 1970s has a “Butch story,” many of which have been compiled in this oral history of his life and times. From his early days as a part of the wild Windansea Beach crowd, to being the first “Mr. Pipeline,” to becoming, along with Eddie Aikau, the first lifeguard on the North Shore of Oahu, Butch rarely knew a dull moment and packed a lot of living into his thirty-eight years. He had many ups and downs in his life, starting with becoming one of surfing’s brightest stars in the early 60s with his cutting-edge performances at the dreaded “Banzai Pipeline” in Hawaii, to losing his status as one of the “in” crowd with the hippie shortboard revolution later in the decade. He would realize a more important role when he saved countless lives as a lifeguard in the 70s, but sadly his severe depression, exacerbated by alcoholism, kept him from fully understanding and embracing everything that he meant to so many people. Regardless, there is nary a dull moment in his life, which is fully and richly documented here by his friends and family.

Douglas Cavanaugh has been a freelance writer for many years. His articles and essays on boxing, surfing and organized crime history have appeared in various books, magazines and online sites in several languages.


Noted oceanographer
Kim McCoy
 will discuss his updated edition of
 Willard Bascom’s iconic book
 The Powerful Dynamics of Sea and Coast,
  Saturday , July 17, 7PM


First published in 1964 and updated in 1979, this classic was an essential handbook for anyone who studies, surfs, protects, or is fascinated by the ocean, a delightful combination of science and adventure. The original author, Willard Bascom, was a master of the subject and included a wealth of information, based on theory and statistics, but also anecdotal observation and personal experience. 

It brought to the general public an understanding of the awesome and complex power of the waves. Fresh with new insights, this update from Kim McCoy adds recent facts and anecdotes to update the book’s relevance in the time of climate change. It spotlights the ongoing transformations to our coastal cities, sea-going vessels, energy supplies and global commerce. The dynamics of our waves and beaches are more relevant today as populations adapt to changing climates. One of the most significant effects of global warming will be sea-level rise. What will this mean to waves and beaches, and what effects are we already seeing?

New text and photos cover events such as the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Katrina flooding of 2005, and the 2011 earthquake and resulting devastation in Fukishima. As well as students, surfers, and the general public, this updated edition of a beloved classic is an essential handbook for ocean activists, providing clear explanations and detailed resources for the constant battle to preserve the shore.

Willard Bascom, the original author of Waves and Beaches, was an engineer, adventurer and scientist, as well as a writer, photographer, painter, miner, cinematographer, and archeologist, who first proposed using Neoprene for wetsuits. He authored several books, which include the topics of waves, geology, archaeology, poetry, and oceanography.

Kim McCoy’s ocean research began where the land and sea merge - with surf zone wave dynamics and continues today with the coastal effects of climate change. xpeditions from the tropics to polar oceans with multinational academic, commercial and governmental institutions helped Kim pioneer advances in instrumentation.


Scripps Institution of Oceanography writer
 will discuss his new book
  Saturday, August 14, 7PM


At the beginning of the 20th century, the term “oceanography” was merely a few decades old, and few investigations of the oceans, which cover nearly three-fourths of the planet’s surface, had taken place. This is the story of an institution that catapulted the field into the forefront of science—first as a pioneer of marine biology, then as a source of wartime environmental intelligence, and most recently as a messenger warning of humanity’s effect on nature and a source of solutions to the problem. 

Robert Monroe, a writer and editor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego for more than 20 years, is among several authors from Scripps Oceanography and beyond who have been fascinated by how the institution’s development has guided the history of its home city of San Diego. Scripps has graduated from rented space in a boathouse to being the oldest oceanographic institution in the United States and a global leader in ocean and earth science at a time of great upheaval in the natural world.

Previous Events at D.G.Wills Books


Christopher Hitchens


Oscar-Winning Actor Sean Penn


Oscar-Winning Director Oliver Stone


Historian and Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert


Francoise Gilot


Vogue magazine photo of Francoise Gilot at the original store


Michael McClure


Yevgeny Yevtushenko


Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman, Director of the Neurosciences Institute, with U.C. Berkeley philosopher John Searle with Mrs. Searle


Nobel Laureate Manfred Eigen


Quincy Troupe


Iris Chang


Gerry Spence


Noted editor Robert Weil, editing a Patricia Highsmith manuscript for W.W. Norton & Co.


N. Parthasarathi, Indian Consul General, San Francisco; and Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the U.S.



Loeb Classical Library and Western Philosophy wall

Previous Events at D.G.Wills Books 



Ted Burke, Norman Mailer, Dennis Wills


Allen Ginsberg, l994


The New York Times Pulitzer Prize Columnist Maureen Dowd


Jill Abramson, Executive Editor, The New York Times, with Maureen Dowd


Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States, 2001-2003


Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Gore Vidal, November 2005

Listen to this event


Gore Vidal with Professor Dennis Altman


Gore Vidal, March l998, with noted South African playwright Athol Fugard in audience


Nobel Laureate Francis Crick, February 1995


James D. Watson and Francis Crick with their model of the DNA molecule, the Double Helix, at Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University, l953


Nobel Laureate James D. Watson, September 2007


Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott


Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis


Three & One-Half Time Pulitzer Prize Playwright Edward Albee


Pulitzer Prize Poet Gary Snyder


Pulitzer Prize poet Gary Snyder


Oscar-Winning Actress Patricia Neal with her biographer Stephen Michael Shearer


Patricia Neal holding a model of "Gort" from the science fiction film classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still"


Richard C. Atkinson, President Emeritus of the University of California, former UCSD Chancellor and former Director of the National Science Foundation


Renowned scientist Freeman Dyson 


Freeman Dyson with Mrs. Dyson


A visit from Oscar Nominated and Emmy Award Winning Actor Paul Giamatti


A visit from Jim Belushi, 2003


Jim Belushi at the original store, l988


Claude Picasso and Francoise Gilot

More photos of previous events

D.G.Wills Books
7461 Girard Avenue, La Jolla
(858) 456-1800