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The Blue Collar Bookseller review: Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders

By Kevin Coolidge,


Time, little pieces of forever crumbling into tomorrow, so fleeting so fast, so close to April 15 and tax day. Are you done yet? I’m getting money back, but the IRS could have left it in my pocket. I would have tickled the economy by buying food, books, and of course, fishing gear.

Yep, the first true sign of spring isn’t robins or dandelions or even April showers, but that first tug at the end of a fishing line. The first day of trout season is always about more than the fish, and no one knows that better than outdoor writer John Gierach.

John Gierach is a free-lance writer and author of several fly-fishing themed books with titles such as " Still Life With Brook Trout, " " Sex, Death and Fly-Fishing, " and the cult classic, " Trout Bum."

His work has appeared in Gray’s Sporting Journal, Field & Stream, and Fly Rod & Reel. His writing is not purely instructional, though there’s plenty of useful information.

He’s not merely adventurous, though he travels from the Arctic to Scotland to the Rockies, and it’s not the purist philosophy of an elite fly fisherman, though there’s a witty thinker with a wry sense of humor wearing that patched-up pair of waders.

What he does manage to do is explain the peculiarities of the fishing life in a way that will amuse novices and seasoned fly fishers alike. " Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders " collects forty of John Gierach’s finest essays on fishing from six of his earlier books.

Gierach is perhaps one of the most entertaining outdoor writers working today. Like all his writing, these essays are about more than fishing, but about nature, friendship, and observations of life.

Gierach often begins with a keen observation that soon leads to something below the surface, which he coaxes out and successfully lands. As Gierach says, “Writing is a lot like fishing.”

Writing is a lot like fishing. Both take patience, persistence, lots of time, an appreciation of the process, and both are harder than they appear. This anthology of Gierach’s work is sure to comfort the angler who stands in a cold river for hours and brings home nothing to show for it.

As any fisherman knows, there’s more to fishing than the fish, and like any good writing, this collection of essays is more about the preparation of camp coffee or catching arctic graylings, but ultimately about life, death, and of course, fly fishing…

Fish or cut bait? Trout or Bass? Comment and let me know.

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