Elegiac tribute to the elusive art and ineffable pleasure of fly-fishing, with plenty of information about how it’s done by...

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ALL FISHERMEN ARE LIARS

Passionate angler Gierach (No Shortage of Good Days, 2012, etc.) once again trolls for like-minded readers.

In his 17th book on fishing, it remains “all about the fish and the beautiful places they live.” Gierach tells of going after elusive aquatic wildlife with rod and reel, lure and spoon, hook and hackle in such attractive precincts as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wyoming’s North Platte, remote Labrador and frigid Manitoba, as well as at home in Colorado. Serious camping with knowledgeable outfitters, erudite guides, stoic lodge keepers and proficient companions fills his trip logs. The author also provides notes on fishing etiquette and stream hydrology, and he seems to remember every cast and every one that got away. He writes convincingly of trying to outwit cutthroats, rainbows and steelhead. The writer’s single-minded devotion to his fisherman’s M.O. in those pretty mountain streams naturally won’t mean much to piscatorial agnostics who never had the pleasure of outsmarting a trout in its home environs. With rhapsodic prose about “a small hare’s ear and partridge soft hackle,” “fifty-pound fluorocarbon shock tippets,” and “an old Burkheimer rod loaded with a 550-grain Skagit head, a two-foot cheater, ten feet of T-14 sink tip and a four-inch-long Intruder fly with big lead eyes,” all this is reserved for the legions of devout anglers. Certainly, there are many sweet, folksy passages on ichthyology and the cultural anthropology of those folks who take so happily to the outdoor life, yet the book remains primarily a fisherman’s testimony to the faithful. “Even on those rare days when you trudge off to a trout stream not so much because you want to, but because your livelihood depends on it,” writes Gierach, “you have a better day at the office than most.”

Elegiac tribute to the elusive art and ineffable pleasure of fly-fishing, with plenty of information about how it’s done by true practitioners.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4516-1831-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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

WHY WE SWIM

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. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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