This is one of those books that I wish I bumped into more often. I did actually bump into this one. While surfing fly fishing sites, a thing I do surprisingly rarely, I browsed New Zealand site that had a book page which displayed it. These book pages are often put in to generate a bit of revenue, and are typically linked to Amazon or another book outlet. They rarely have in-depth reviews or even short, subjective descriptions, but simply the text provided by the publisher or Amazon or even just the title. Most times I ignore them. I have my own ways of finding books.
But the cover of this book triggered something. I have an tendency to judge things by their covers. A great cover often means great content and vice versa. Sometimes I even buy wine by looking at labels! If two bottles seem equally appealing, I take the one with the nicest label.
Good outer design and great content often goes hand in hand.
Well, I digress...
I liked what I saw on the outside of Philip Weigall's book Fishing Season, and soon found my way to Exisle, the publisher, and from there on to Amazon where the book was available for less than UKÂ£ 4 used. I have a very loose trigger finger when it comes to books, and didn't hesitate a second before ordering it.
The book arrived only a few days later, and I already engulfed a good part of it the first day.
It's a very beautiful and very well written book!
I wish more authors and publishers (and book designers) would use the simple means applied to make this book an experience way beyond the text.
And in this case even the text alone is a great experience.
The book tells fishing stories. Simple concept, and nothing profoundly new there. Stories from the water, from the tying bench, from preparations and all aspects of fly fishing. Stories about fish, trips, gear, friends and much more. And very well told stories I might add, stories which certainly strike a chord with me.
It's divided into seasons, starting with winter, and progresses through the year. It's not a single season in spite of this structure and the title, but a collection of lifelong experiences grouped by the time of year.
Philip Weigall writes a very beautiful English. Even as a non-native English speaker I can appreciate something, which is written in a language I only wish I could master to the same degree.
What also makes this book stand out is the book design. Considering that it's a text-primarily book, it's characterized by a very nice typography, printed on cream colored paper and with lots of nice little illustrations in the form of drawings that start each section and chapter. The book's table of contents and the whole first part is a small work in itself with its background textures and neatly placed vignettes. Really appetizing.
I was a third into the book already the first day I had it, and finished it in just a couple of days, which in itself tells me that I really like it.
I rarely give the Global Class score to other books than coffee table books with large, glossy pages and lots of snazzy and stylish photos, but this one easily earns our maximum score.
I want more Wiegall, and while researching for this review, I realized that this is not the only book by Philip Weigall who has written several titles. One more from Exisle is called Fishing Sense, looking much like this one, and I'm off to find it somewhere on the web as soon as this review has been entered into the publishing queue.
And lo and behold! Another interesting Wiegall title appeared: The River Behind the Hill: A Celebration of Australian Fly Fishing, which looks very interesting and beautiful. But It's pricey! Used copies at 125 US$ in the US not to mention a couple of used copies at 124 and 147 UKÂ£! That's up towards 230 US$! Whoa! There must be a way to get this for less...
Until I get my hands on more, there's Philip Weigall's web page called "Flyfishing Australasia and Beyond" about fishing in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.
A beautiful and very well written book with stories from the author's fishing in New Zealand.