Mark Kingwell—philosopher of arts—writes “Fishing is Stupid” in Catch and Release: Trout Fishing and the Meaning of Life in an attempt to impart some wisdom.
I am not a fishing enthusiast, I have never fished before and I don’t intend to. Until I read this book, I thought—like Kingwell—sport fishing was “stupid.” However, this book is not about fishing and Kingwell established it in the first chapter. Rather, this book is about understanding the meaning of life by reflecting on the act of fishing. In this sense, Fishing is not Stupid!
This book is packed with anecdotes and personal insecurities that the author has experienced. One would expect a mighty Kingwell revealing through the pages, but quite the contrary, Kingwell describes the vulnerability, the weakness, and the disappointments that we humans have experienced one way or another, through his own lived experiences.
Kingwell draws from philosophers (as expected) to explain small but relevant moments that are important in life, and wonderfully links the act of ‘fly fishing’ to the meaning of life. Again, this book is not about fishing; it’s about learning, feeling, reflecting, and imagining—similar to those feelings we go through when experiencing the arts. This book takes a friendly philosophical stance, filled with truisms and deep reflections. The main messages that Kingwell delivers are the need to be patience, the avoidance of boredom and procrastination, the need to find one’s self, and in particular, to find one’s way through the day. In one sentence his message is: “Get up. Begin. Make your way from bed to the shower. Remember that this is the hardest thing you will do all day” (p. 243). This book is very engaging, entertaining, humorous, and profound; I could not put it down, but I had to. I realized I need to go fishing!
What do you think of this book?