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

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  17 ratings  ·  4 reviews
A wondrous debut from an extraordinary new voice in nonfiction, Why Fish Don’t Exist is a dark and astonishing tale of love, chaos, scientific obsession, and—possibly—even 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
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Hardcover, 240 pages
Expected publication: April 14th 2020 by Simon Schuster
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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
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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...

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Melanie Sims
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
SPOILERS AHEAD:

I enjoyed Lulu Miller’s 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.
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
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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.