Until now, I’ve been doing the occasional recommendation for books I think most fly fishermen, and outdoorsmen in general, will enjoy. These posts have each featured a book with a brief description and takeaway, and occasionally some quotes I found interesting.
Moving forward, I’ve decided to batch these recommendations so each article will feature a handful of books instead of one. This is partly because I’ve been reading enough to include multiple at a time, but also because I’m not sure a single book warrants a whole week’s content. I’m no profound literary critic, and can probably get my point across in a paragraph or two for each book.
The books I recommend aren’t necessarily all about fly fishing. In fact, many aren’t. But I expect that the majority of fly anglers can also appreciate writing about conservation, nature, exploration, and the like, so I’m considering these topics fair game.
So, that said, this is the first Fish Untamed Reads, where I’ll mention a few books to check out. Keep an eye out for more Fish Untamed Reads going forward, and don’t hesitate to reach out with your own recommendations for books I should check out!
1. All the Wild that Remains by David Gessner
A book celebrating the lives of Ed Abbey and Wallace Stegner, All the Wild that Remains is reminiscent of a biography, but in reality feels a lot more like an aerial view of their actions, beliefs, and effects on the world than a linear set of events in their lives. Wallace Stegner was the straight-laced, contemplative, and devoted writer of the west, while Ed Abbey was the unfiltered, wild monkeywrencher who wrote the classic Desert Solitaire that has become gospel to many. If you enjoy either author, you’ll definitely like this book, and if you haven’t read them, you may find yourself wanting to.
2. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Not about fly fishing at all, Into the Wild covers the true story of Chris McCandless, who gave up the typical American life to rough it in the wilds of Alaska. Some people have scoffed at his indifference toward his family and considered him the typical underprepared dreamer who died needlessly thinking Alaska is tamer than it is. Meanwhile, a sort of cult following has developed on the other side, with Chris as the hero of a tragic romance between man and wild. Regardless of your views on his decision to leave his life behind to brave the wilderness, this book is an exciting read from cover to cover.
3. A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
In the past few years, I’ve noticed more and more disdain for the book and movie that launched many fly fishing passions. I assume the reason behind this is that the story has, to many, become dated. As more young people take up the hobby and are focusing on modern techniques, sponsorships, and the like, the simple story of a family united by dry fly fishing in 20th century Montana seems to have faded into history. Despite this, I still consider A River Runs Through It one of my favorite books of all time, and see absolutely no reason to view it as outdated. It touches on family, faith, and of course fly fishing. If you’ve never read it, this book needs to be at the top of your list to check out.
Don’t forget to check out the older single-book posts!