Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life” as Want to Read:
Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  8 reviews
A wondrous debut from an extraordinary new voice in nonfiction, Why Fish Dont Exist is a dark and astonishing tale of love, chaos, scientific obsession, andpossiblyeven murder.

David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, a man possessed with bringing order to the natural world. In time, he would be credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans in his day.
...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Expected publication: April 14th 2020 by Simon Schuster
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Why Fish Don't Exist, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Why Fish Don't Exist

Community Reviews

Showing 1-55
Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  25 ratings  ·  8 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
Gail C.
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I first opened this book, I was expecting more of a biography on the life and studies of taxonomist and former Stanford University President David Starr Jordan. His work in classifying fish was groundbreaking in his day, marred by the destruction of many of his exhibits in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Once I began reading, I discovered much more. There were many details about David Starr Jordan and his work, at times perhaps more than I would have liked. However, the details were given
...more
Grant Cousineau
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To say this is a book on a quest to prove the nonexistence of fish, or a book about the life of David Starr Jordan, or even a book about taxonomy feels far from accurate. Part scientific history, part philosophical exploration, and part memoir, Miller puts her science-podcasting experience to use in this wonderful work of nonfiction.

Jordan was a man who needed to name things--first stars, then plants, and then fish. He was a scientist and an explorer with wild ideas about the ways of the
...more
Keeley
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
As she's starting to lose the will to live, the author discovers an anecdote about this scientist's fish collection getting destroyed in an earthquake, but he remains undeterred. She sets out to figure out how he's so resilient, and starts researching his life to find clues she can apply in the face of this chaotic world where nothing is permanent.

For such dark subject matter, the tone was oddly light. But maybe that is part of the author's message, that trying to find order in this world is
...more
Taunya Miller
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I am giving this a 3/5 star review because, frankly, I had a very hard time finishing it. The subject matter was interesting but I found some parts of the book to be distasteful. There are some things that are not to be joked about and Jordan seemed to be a complete ass. To be honest, there were times when I'd read a whole chapter and then not be able to recall what I had just read. I just can't with books like this...

...more
David V.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Received as an ARC from the publisher. Started 2-28-20; finished 2-29-20. A remarkable book by an author who loves words: where else could you get a description of her father's diving techniques as "the belliest of flops." Starts as a bio of David Starr Jordan. a world-renowned expert on fish, collecting and naming thousands of them. His taxonomic (naming) effort eventually degrades into his promotion of eugenics. Even his peace activism (pre-WWI) is aimed toward the same goals, taking away much ...more
m
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, non-fiction
More like a 3.5 for me.
Melanie Sims
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
SPOILERS AHEAD:

I enjoyed Lulu Millers writing style, and the way she shared her own story, weaving it with that of David Starr Jordan. But, my goodness, I finished the book despising Jordan, and hating that Jordan Hall and the Jordan River on the campus of my alma mater still bear his name. What a terrible and mistaken man. I understand that his story is a cautionary one that we can apply to our own lives and collection of stodgy beliefs, but yeah, f*ck that dude.
...more
Stephen
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
I wanted to like this more. Miller is a gifted writer and her subject is fascinating, and she does a good job of untangling the various threads that make David Starr Jordan both compelling and fascinating.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get past the tone of hokey cuteness. (Miller's bio says she is a "frequent contributor to Radiolab, which I find nearly insufferable for this exact tone.) The jokey tone is at best irritating, and at worst, as when the writer refers to a dictator responsible for the
...more
Megan
rated it it was amazing
Nov 08, 2019
Jane
rated it it was amazing
Jan 01, 2020
Tori
rated it it was amazing
Mar 15, 2020
Carly
rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2019
Andy Winder
rated it liked it
Jan 24, 2020
EmilyKatherine
rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2019
Rayne
rated it it was amazing
Feb 14, 2020
Diana
rated it it was amazing
Dec 17, 2019
Deborah
rated it it was amazing
Feb 05, 2020
Scott Lamica
rated it really liked it
Feb 19, 2020
Claire
rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2020
Mary
rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2020
Kirsty Doole
rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2020
Allison
rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2020
Ellen
rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2020
Christine
rated it it was amazing
Nov 23, 2019
Gabriel
rated it really liked it
Feb 16, 2020
Lauren
marked it as to-read
Sep 19, 2017
Andreea Bota
marked it as to-read
Nov 26, 2017
Joanna
marked it as to-read
Dec 20, 2017
Andi
marked it as to-read
Mar 20, 2018
Katya Kazbek
marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2018
Kathleen Bogart
marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2018
John Mahoney
marked it as to-read
Sep 13, 2018
Dominika
marked it as to-read
Oct 01, 2018
Maggie Wolfe Riley
marked it as to-read
Nov 17, 2018
Az
marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2018
Kayla
marked it as to-read
Jan 07, 2019
McPhaul M.
marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2019
Rebeccalynn
marked it as to-read
Mar 02, 2019
Kristen Green
marked it as to-read
Mar 09, 2019
Arianna Anaya
marked it as to-read
Apr 04, 2019
Amanda
marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2019
Mcolosimo
marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2019
Megan
marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2019
Dawn Goulet
marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2019
Caitie
marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2019
Julia Napolitano
marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2019
Jess Breda
marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2019
Laura
marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2019
Mick
marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2019
Elisia
marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2019
Tyler
marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2019
Clay Lomneth
marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2019
A
marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2019
Adam
marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2019
Emily
marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2019
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Burning
  • Through the Woods
  • The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)
  • The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes, #2)
  • Weather
  • Witchlight
  • Damsel
  • The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea
  • They Called Us Enemy
  • The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, #1)
  • The Kingdom of Liars (The Legacy of the Mercenary King, #1)
  • The Buddhist on Death Row: How One Man Found Light in the Darkest Place
  • Eight Perfect Murders
  • The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird
  • The Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes, #3)
  • The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen, #1)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5, Part 1)
See similar books…
19 followers
Louisa Elizabeth Miller, better known as Lulu Miller, is an American writer, artist, and science reporter for National Public Radio. Miller's career in radio started as a producer for the WNYC program Radiolab. She now co-hosts the NPR show Invisibilia with Alix Spiegel.

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
38 likes · 9 comments