Fly Fishing Book Review – “No Shortage of Good Days”

| January 3, 2012

I waited awhile before purchasing John Gierach’s latest book, “No Shortage of Good Days”, because when it comes to books, it’s time to pinch some pennies. My patience was rewarded when the book appeared as an available purchase on iBooks – the application (app) that comes with iPads.

And it was the very first book I pulled the trigger on and purchased. Let me just say that if you are hesitating to purchase one of these new “e readers” – don’t. The upside list is long; take your library everywhere (not just a single book or magazine), read easily in low light, enlarged print and saving trees are just the pluses that come off the top of my head. Now, it’s up to you to choose the reader that’s right for you, and there can be huge discrepancies in book pricing, and I don’t know if other readers allow you to read from other services like Apples iPad (I can download Kindle and Amazon books via those apps).

Electronic reading is simply fantastic from a physical perspective if nothing else. Large print, and logical lighting of the page, give me the ability to read at a much faster pace than anything I’ve ever tried on the paper printed page. It’s amazing and energizing to read this new pace.


I make no claims of being a literary critic. I have been published, and therefore am a professional writer – on occasion. I am addicted to fly fishing literature just as I am addicted to fly fishing. My library overflows, and if you are ever looking to jump start your paper library, and are near Denton, Texas, be sure to check the most extensive collection of used fly fishing books in North Texas at Recycled Books on the Square in Downtown Denton, Texas.

There are fly fishers who write, and there are writers who fly fish. Both are valuable, and insightful in their own ways. Gierach is a fly fisher who writes, and he’s been writing successfully for quite a while now. Rather than mull over his large volume of work, I’ll just tell you what makes his latest worthwhile. In “No Shortage” Gierach spins more interesting yarns about things that happen off the water, be it travel arrangements for book tours, invitations to cull cutthroat from real estate development ponds, or comment on the human condition ten years in to the new millennium. Gierach, puts it all in a social time capsule with the chapter on a friend that, rather than face the SEC, loaded a new Italian shotgun and killed himself when they came calling. And it’s difficult not to think him a fortune teller when he quotes the Chinese proverb, “When the water is high, the fish eat the ants. When the water is low, the ants eat the fish.” How prescient is that?

I’ve been to Gierach’s bamboo shop in Lyon’s and smelled that rare air, and been on the streets of Lyons before they were “Californicated” like so much within bus range of Boulder, but an insider I’m not. So while Gierach does give some detail of locations he fishes, he is mostly coy like so many fly fishermen are. That’s how it is with fishers who write, and I don’t know how many books he sells, but he probably could cause at least a small stampede if he revealed too much. At some point, book after book, it does get dangerously close to a writing crutch though.

Writers who fish tend to overwhelm their descriptions of fish and locations so much with their peripheral vision, that fishing is often incidental to the writing. That’s not Gierach, and that’s just as good a compliment as being a writer who fishes. You’re not after “that vision thing” if you’re into Gierach, you’re into getting a good soft-core fishing fix, and in this case some more interesting social commentary and insights into the life of a successful fly fishing writer. Get “No Shortage of Good Days”,
and read it during an indoor weekend – you’ll enjoy it. If you are familiar with his waters, you’ll love it.

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Writing

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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