Lounging on the couch with chai tea and a warm blanket, I looked up from my book—the pages of which I’d been lost in for an indeterminate amount of time—and found my father staring at me in shock.
“What,” he asked, voice thick with concern, “are you reading?”
To be fair, I understood the reaction. I was halfway through Paul Greenberg’s Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and, let’s be honest, I’m not the type of person who should be interested in this book. I don’t eat fish, and the only time I’ve ever gone fishing was one afternoon with my grandfather that ended with his catch of seven or eight and mine of zilch (though really I had caught one; I threw it back rather than touch the thing).
But I wasn’t just reading this book—I was absolutely hooked.
Greenberg covers the history, present, and future of—you guessed it—four types of fish: salmon, tuna, bass, and cod. He travels to Alaska to meet native tribes whose economy relies on the fish market; he investigates the difference between fresh and farmed seafood; he considers what can be done to save both our economy and the ecosystem.
Yeah, it’s about fish. But the real mark of a good book is creating concern in the most apathetic of readers. The topic is inconsequential—even a book on interstellar space travel could bore its audience if it wasn’t full of engaging writing or rich stories. I didn’t care at all about fish before, but now? I want to keep learning.
Laced with trivia (fish were sometimes caught with dynamite), balanced in beliefs (vegans and carnivores will both find something to agree with), and presented passionately (this guy lives and breathes the sea), this book accomplishes everything it sets out to do.
Hook, line, and sinker.
Thanks for reading – Autumn