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GATHER AT THE RIVER

TWENTY-FIVE AUTHORS ON FISHING

Anglers of all stripes will relish these delectable morsels of love.

A gathering of writers expound on their love for fishing.

Editors Joy (The Line that Held Us, 2018, etc.) and Rickstad (The Names of Dead Girls, 2017, etc.) invited 25 authors to contribute pieces about their love of fishing (four were previously published). In his introduction, Joy writes, “all I know of beauty I learned with a fishing rod in my hand.” These delightful and sprightly essays are “about friendship, family, love and loss, and everything in between.” Throughout the anthology, nature and nostalgia run deep, as the contributors reflect on when they fell in love with the sport while fishing with relatives, friends, or alone. Ron Rash writes about fishing in North Carolina’s Goshen Creek as a 14-year-old boy and almost snagging the “biggest fish of his life.” Jill McCorkle, who loved fishing with her father, was proud to be the “daughter who could touch anything stinky and slimy without flinching.” As J. Todd Scott writes, “angling for catfish” with night crawlers and mealworms “isn’t hard. They’re always hungry and not particularly canny.” Ray McManus confesses that “much of what I understand about writing was shaped from fishing.” He can work as hard as he can and “still end up with an empty hook.” Some writers discuss fly-fishing. Scott Gould recalls his father casting “gorgeous giant perfect loops spooling off the water.” Near Georgia’s Saint Simon’s Island, Taylor Brown fearfully recounts hooking a shark in the surf. There are lovely pieces about Massachusetts lobstering and night swimming in the Great Barrier Reef when the “coral release trillions of eggs and sperm sacs simultaneously.” Natalie Baszile loved frogging in the Louisiana “bayou-dark—which is more like the darkness of deep space.” As Silas House reminds us, “fishing stories are among the best kind.” Other contributors include C.J. Box, Jim Minick, and Rebecca Gayle Howell.

Anglers of all stripes will relish these delectable morsels of love.

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-938235-52-8

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Hub City Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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WHY WE SWIM

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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SILENT SPRING

The book is not entirely negative; final chapters indicate roads of reversal, before it is too late!

It should come as no surprise that the gifted author of The Sea Around Usand its successors can take another branch of science—that phase of biology indicated by the term ecology—and bring it so sharply into focus that any intelligent layman can understand what she is talking about.

Understand, yes, and shudder, for she has drawn a living portrait of what is happening to this balance nature has decreed in the science of life—and what man is doing (and has done) to destroy it and create a science of death. Death to our birds, to fish, to wild creatures of the woods—and, to a degree as yet undetermined, to man himself. World War II hastened the program by releasing lethal chemicals for destruction of insects that threatened man’s health and comfort, vegetation that needed quick disposal. The war against insects had been under way before, but the methods were relatively harmless to other than the insects under attack; the products non-chemical, sometimes even introduction of other insects, enemies of the ones under attack. But with chemicals—increasingly stronger, more potent, more varied, more dangerous—new chain reactions have set in. And ironically, the insects are winning the war, setting up immunities, and re-emerging, their natural enemies destroyed. The peril does not stop here. Waters, even to the underground water tables, are contaminated; soils are poisoned. The birds consume the poisons in their insect and earthworm diet; the cattle, in their fodder; the fish, in the waters and the food those waters provide. And humans? They drink the milk, eat the vegetables, the fish, the poultry. There is enough evidence to point to the far-reaching effects; but this is only the beginning,—in cancer, in liver disorders, in radiation perils…This is the horrifying story. It needed to be told—and by a scientist with a rare gift of communication and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Already the articles taken from the book for publication in The New Yorkerare being widely discussed. Book-of-the-Month distribution in October will spread the message yet more widely.

The book is not entirely negative; final chapters indicate roads of reversal, before it is too late!  

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 1962

ISBN: 061825305X

Page Count: 378

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1962

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