Random Review

Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish cover image

Britain had some whack ideas. Remember that time they colonized an entire continent with convicts? That was whack.

Gould’s Book of Fish is the epistolary adventure of William Gould, a convict imprisoned on Sarah Island. Somewhere along the way he picked up enough painting skills to become an artist, and he starts painting fish for the island’s science-and-status–obsessed Surgeon instead of working on the chain gang.

I enjoy books ( The Luminaries comes to mind) set in this frontier period of the colonization of Australia and New Zealand. Like The Luminaries, this book has a somewhat pretentious structure and style as Flanagan attempts to use Billy Gould to plumb the depths of human suffering and soul-searching. Each chapter is headlined by a particular fish from this book that Gould is working on, and the fish becomes a metaphor for the philosophical ramblings of that instalment in Gould’s life.

Basically this book is an account of Gould’s suffering on Sarah Island, and of the…

Why I Read

Mostly for entertainment and edification. Reading is fun, and reading is a great way to learn. Although I indulge in television, movies, and video games, reading is my favourite way to relax. With a book, I can experience the story at my own pace, moving faster or slower as my interest demands. Books offer an infinite canvas for the imagination of both the author and the audience; with books, anything is possible.

What I Read

Everything! Well, almost. I try to read as widely as possible in recognition of the fact that genres are more of a marketing label than an adequate way to categorize books. But I have some favourite areas of fiction and non-fiction, and there are areas I avoid.

When I first began reading on my own, I devoured mysteries: Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Agathie Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle. Then I discovered science fiction and fantasy, and those remain my favourite genres today. I still delve into mysteries, historical fiction, and a variety in between, but science fiction and fantasy are my mainstays. For non-fiction, I mostly read books about science and technology. In particular, I love books about the history and philosophy of science, technology, or mathematics.

You can follow my reading above, or at Goodreads.

Best 10 Books of…

Worst 10 Books of…

Series I’ve Read