This edition of Fish Untamed reads covers a humorous account of an attempted AT thru-hike, a fly fishing nun, and one family’s firsthand account of living off the grid in Alaska.
1. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
In my opinion A Walk in the Woods should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the outdoors, if not everyone in general. This is Bill Bryson’s account of his attempted thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Despite, or perhaps because of, not finishing all 2,200 miles, Bryson has plenty to talk about, mostly in the form of mishaps and lessons learned. He manages to include plenty of informative and thoughtful discussion of the AT, while also making light of the humorous aspects, so much so that I remember the book primarily as comedy. If you want to learn a bit about the ins-and-outs of what it’s like to thru-hike a long trail, while also having a good laugh the whole way through, this one’s for you.
2. Profound River by John Gubbins
When people talk about fly fishing history, they’re often referring to the 19th or 20th centuries. While a rich history does exist in that time period, not many people look beyond it to fly fishing’s earlier roots. In Profound River John Gubbins writes from the point of view of Dame Juliana Berners, who was, in his words, the nun who invented fly fishing in the 1400s. She is also often credited with writing the first published book on angling. While historians disagree about how much of her story is true (some even say she never existed at all, although the bigger controversy seems to be whether she wrote the book), it’s still possible that much of what is said of her is true. Regardless, it’s a great story. Admittedly, most of Profound River is not about fly fishing, but rather Dame Juliana’s everyday life, which did happen to include fishing on occasion. Despite this, simply knowing the history (or the legend) of the nun who invented fly fishing is worth the read.
3. Winds of Skilak by Bonnie Ward
I’ve always thought it would be fun to leave the day-to-day grind, pack up, and move north to live off the land. What’s just a dream for me was reality for Bonnie Ward and her husband, Sam, who left their lives in the lower 48 behind them to live off the grid in Alaska. They show up with not much more than a few bags of rice, a stove, and some tools, and eventually build a little homestead that sounds comfy enough for anyone to live happily. This book isn’t particularly complicated or profound, but I love it for exactly what it is: a fun and engaging story. There is very little downtime throughout the book, so it’s easy to keep thee pages turning.
Don’t forget to check out other Fish Untamed Reads!