Because I typically fall asleep or become distracted after a few pages of reading, short stories are ideal for me. In addition to that, a well-read frBecause I typically fall asleep or become distracted after a few pages of reading, short stories are ideal for me. In addition to that, a well-read friend of mine recommended this book to me, so I was really looking forward to exploring it. My excitement did not last long, however. I've read about four of her stories now, and I'm still wondering when things are supposed to become interesting. The book has been given plenty of awards and good reviews, but I can't quite seem to figure out why. Nothing, so far, has been compelling to me in the least. These stories are simply bland. I don't think I'll be reading the rest of them, unless the pills alone aren't enough, and I find I need some additional assistance in passing out quickly. Then again, perhaps I'll just pass it along to granny. ...more
**spoiler alert** Mark Kurlansky is currently a New Yorker who worked for several years as a doc worker and as a cook and pastry chef. His degree was**spoiler alert** Mark Kurlansky is currently a New Yorker who worked for several years as a doc worker and as a cook and pastry chef. His degree was in theater, but he turned to journalism not long after graduating. His journalistic resume boasts of a number of different books, magazine contributions and articles published around the world. He’s received numerous rewards for his exceptional narration, philosophical substance and tongue-in-cheek observations of the global evolution of fishing. I agree with one of these things; he does, in fact, talk about the global evolution of fishing. Any fish enthusiast around the world could easily find their attachment to Mr. Kurlansky’s book. Included in his number of geographical mentions are New England and the US in general, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Canada in general, Latin America and the Americas in general, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Holland and the Netherlands in general, Scotland and Britain in general, France, Belgium, Portugal and Spain, West Africa, Japan and Asia in general. Almost anyone, regardless of their country of origin, could find a connection with this book-so long as they are really, really, really a die hard, relentless fan of…cod. And who of us isn’t? Mr. Kurlansky knows his literature, music, newspaper headlines and extremely old school cookbooks, as he takes quotes and recipes from these sources and makes them the introduction to every chapter. Occasionally, he throws a fish ball or fish head recipe (or three) in the middle of the chapter, just in case we were bored of reading his endless facts about fish and the progressive methods in which they’ve been caught. This is not your typical book. There is no love affair, no resolution, and no story line. While Kurlansky does attempt to walk you through the history of fishing, he occasionally jumps years, so it’s difficult to say that the book even follows a strict chronological order. While you can predict that you will be taken from early 1900’s to late 1900’s, there’s nothing that stops him from taking you from 1960 back to 1940 and on to 1980. Instead of a story, this book is 276 pages of facts. The only tale that is spoken of here is the kind that gets thrown in bouillabaisse. However, if you are preparing to be a contender on Jeopardy, this is definitely a helpful piece to familiarize yourself with. For a history buff, particularly one who has an interest in maritime and or the discovery of new countries, this is a great book. It’s also a great book for anyone who has ever been curious about the method of trawling, or what vegetable should be served with fish tongue. Since I often lie in bed awake at night pondering the correlation between fish and the French and Indian war or why I always have to ask for the mysteriously fluctuating “market price” when I’m considering seafood for dinner, the fishy facts that I have learned from reading “Cod” have helped me sleep better at night. For those who have not had a chance to read this, I’ve decided to condense the part two of this uniquely structured book from page 112-125. With the exception of small words and repetitive sentences this is what a reader can expect to hear.
There are harsh conditions of icy water. Fishermen commonly lose fingers from frostbite, line snags or machinery. A fisherman is forced into retirement when he looses too many fingers. Fishermen have a sense of the elite brotherhood “like combat veterans.” No Social benefits go to fisherman; as they are self-employed and struggle economically. The max age for fisherman is typically 50. The number of Gloucester fisherman lost at sea between 1830 an 1900 was 3,800. That number is 70% grater than all American casualties in the war of 1812. Many vessels are lost by high winds and large waves. Fishermen have the highest fatal accident rate of any type of worker in North Atlantic countries. The Canadian and French have an agenda to get government to financially support their fishing industry. Once frozen food idea came along, the entire nature of commercial fishing would change. Environmental tragedy and impending sense of doom due to the evolution of industry and nations at war for over-fished cod is the tone that the book ended on. For instance, Kurlansky tells of the financial hardship of his former industry. “In 1989, a study by the UN food and Agricultural organization estimated that it costs $92b to operate global fishing. Revenue was only $72b.” Kurlansky also tells us that out of work fisherman resort to becoming the skippers of tourism. This is apparently a huge insult that requires much swallowing of pride to the men who once risked their lives at sea. These statements are meant to evoke sympathy for these men and their line of work in the reader. While it is difficult to see anyone have to take what they consider a downward move in their career, I imagine these moves are typical in any industry and it’s difficult for me to sympathize more with these characters than with anyone else who has ever been demoted or lost their job. The best summary of this book is probably given in the quote Kurlansky uses on page 158 of his tribute to Cod. It is simply a quote from 20th century Icelandic novelist Halldor Laxness, who states, “ Life is saltfish.“ Fin. ...more
Tracy Quan's story was fun and entertaining, although not as satisfying as I was hoping for, much like many men I've known. I'm unsure if the fluffy qTracy Quan's story was fun and entertaining, although not as satisfying as I was hoping for, much like many men I've known. I'm unsure if the fluffy quality of the story was due to Tracy's personal experience in the industry, or due to her publishers demands. Either way, it's worth a read.
In the beginning, I found it highly amusing that Catherine Millet spoke so candidly about very detailed, raunchy sexual escapades while still maintainIn the beginning, I found it highly amusing that Catherine Millet spoke so candidly about very detailed, raunchy sexual escapades while still maintaining a very proper voice. In fact, when I began the story, I read it next next to a man who had his own book to read. Heavily into war and politics, his reading material was something about the situation of world affairs, but every time I looked over, I noticed that his eyes were on the pages of my book! It was unfortunate that Millet's voice so quickly lost its novelty. I tired of her overt, trashy fuck-speak half way through and did not bother finishing the book, which I don't believe actually contained a story, with the exception that she caught and spread an awful lot of infections and diseases during her time participating in indiscretionary orgies. I was expecting erotica, got and eyeful of filthy, gonzo 70's porn, instead. Just terrible.