Monday, February 26, 2007


JJ has witnessed me in ultra-weird mode lately. I keep rabbiting on about fish - no, not this kind, but this kind. And, more precisely, it is this specific species of fish that I have been boring her to death with. The excellent book Cod by Mark Kurlansky is to blame for that. Now why I chose to pick this up from the library a couple of weeks back I'm not quite sure, but I'm very glad I did. It may have been the tag line "A biography of the fish that changed the world." It might have been the fact that it won the award for Best Food Book in 1999. Anyway, whatever it was, I thoroughly enjoyed it, was educated by it, entertained by it and have been dying for some fish and chips since I started reading it and cannot believe that I've not had any. Furlansky has a lovely writing style and makes a strange choice for a writing subject absolutely fascinating. Then again, he can tap into some wonderful history when discussing cod: the "founding" of the Americas by the viking murderer Leif Eriksson, the early fishing expeditions to Newfoundland by the Basques, the battle to control the seas, the Pilgrims, the American and Frensh revolutions, the rise of commercial fishing, the cod wars between Iceland and Britain, technological advances which resulted in freezing (a certain Mr Birdseye), the slave trade.

It is also an extremely sad book as it explains the disastrous impact which has been made on fishing communities, particularly in parts of Canada and the north-east coast of the US, as a result of the exploitation of the fishing stocks.

I know, a book about fish? Well, I may have scoffed if I hadn't read it. I'm glad I did. Not sure if JJ is so glad, though. But wait till she sees what I'm planning to read next: The Social-Democratic View of the National Question by Joseph Stalin. Now that's what I call sexy!

*The Damned



Blogger J.J said...

You are SO unfair! I want to read the thing - I lived in Hull don't forget - cod wars and all that stuff.

10:27 pm  
Blogger Reidski said...

You shall read it - just as long as I remember to renew it at the library tomorrow night. Talking of libraries, my local one is only open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays - what do the librarians do on the other days of the week?

8:37 am  
Blogger timesnewroman said...

The Apprentice was in the Cod War!

5:57 pm  

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