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The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination…
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The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious… (original 2019; edition 2021)

by Patrik Svensson (Author)

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4311549,435 (3.9)25
Part H Is for Hawk, part The Soul of an Octopus, The Book of Eels is both a meditation on the world's most elusive fish--the eel--and a reflection on the human condition. Remarkably little is known about the European eel, Anguilla anguilla. So little, in fact, that scientists and philosophers have, for centuries, been obsessed with what has become known as the "eel question": Where do eels come from? What are they? Are they fish or some other kind of creature altogether? Even today, in an age of advanced science, no one has ever seen eels mating or giving birth, and we still don't understand what drives them, after living for decades in freshwater, to swim great distances back to the ocean at the end of their lives. They remain a mystery. Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal. In The Book of Eels, we meet renowned historical thinkers, from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud to Rachel Carson, for whom the eel was a singular obsession. And we meet the scientists who spearheaded the search for the eel's point of origin, including Danish marine biologist Johannes Schmidt, who led research efforts in the early twentieth century, catching thousands upon thousands of eels, in the hopes of proving their birthing grounds in the Sargasso Sea. Blending memoir and nature writing at its best, Svensson's journey to understand the eel becomes an exploration of the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death. The result is a gripping and slippery narrative that will surprise and enchant.… (more)
Member:ChersBooks
Title:The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World
Authors:Patrik Svensson (Author)
Info:Ecco (2021), Edition: Reprint, 256 pages
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The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World by Patrik Svensson (2019)

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» See also 25 mentions

English (10)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Meh, I really don't get all of the hullabaloo. I found it reputative and meandering. ( )
  liltastypuff | Sep 12, 2022 |
إنها قصة ثعبان البحر، سمكة أذهلت البشرية بدورة حياتها الغريبة والمعقدة. كرس عدد لا يحصى من العلماء حياتهم المهنية للغز الأنقليس التي تطورت لتخضع للعديد من التحولات على مدار حياتها وتتحمل هجرة شاقة عبر المحيط الأطلسي للتكاثر. أثبت ثعبان البحر أنه بعيد المنال، ولا يزال هناك العديد من الأسرار حول حياته التي يبدو أنه عازم على الاحتفاظ بها.
كان السؤال في البداية بسيطاً: ”ما هو ثعبان البحر، وكيف يتكاثر؟“ وبعد أن اكتشف العلماء أعضاء الأنقليس التناسلية أصبح السؤال: ”أين تتكاثر، ولماذا تقوم بهذه الهجرة الطويلة؟“ أما اليوم، فالسؤال الأكثر إلحاحاً هو: ”ما سر التهاوي السريع في أعداد هذه الأسماك، وماذا يمكننا أن نفعل حياله؟“ قد يكون الغموض المحيط بتكاثر ثعبان البحر هو ما سيقضي على هذه السمكة. الفشل في الإجابة على هذا السؤال في الوقت المناسب تعني فقدان الأنقليس إلى الأبد.
تموت ثعابين البحر بعد فترة وجيزة من التكاثر. حيث يبدو أنه بمجرد أن يؤدي ثعبان البحر مهمته، لا يعود لديه سبب للعيش. ولكن الشيء الغريب حقاً هو في حال وجود ما يمنع الأنقليس من العودة إلى بحر سارغاسو للتكاثر، فيمكن للأسماك أن توقف أو تؤخر نضجها الجنسي -وموتها- لعقود. أدهشني ذلك فعلاً، فالنمو البشري مرتبط ارتباطاً وثيقاً بالعمر، بينما يبدو نمو وتطور سمكة الأنقليس أكثر ارتباطاً بمحفزات البيئة المحيطة، حيث أن إحساس ثعبان البحر بالوقت مدفوعٌ بمكانه في قصة حياته الخاصة بدلاً من مرور السنين في التقويم.
لم أتوقع أن أستمتع بكتاب عن الأسماك إلى هذه الدرجة، ولكن فضولي قد أُثير وتعلمت الكثير. ( )
  TonyDib | Jan 28, 2022 |
schöne, tolle weihnachtslektüre ( )
  Acramo | Jan 5, 2022 |
A non-fiction read about said fish. I thought being a non-fiction it would have some substance, but not so much. It seemed to be a mere musing about many topics, maybe 60% eels. There were parts on the dodo bird, Rachel Carson, and various other topics. If you want a lot of concrete information about eels, don't read this one! 256 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Oct 26, 2021 |
Who knew that eels were so fascinating?!

There is a lot about the life cycle of eels that scientists still don't know. They are strange and fascinating animals. Svensson talks about what we do know about eels, and the history of how we learned what we know, including the journeys of one scientist who spent 20 years roaming the oceans looking for eel breeding grounds. Interspersed with this natural history is Svensson's memoir, focusing on his relationship with his dad and how he and his dad went eel-fishing and bonded over their fascination with the animals. Svensson also explores the role of eels in the economy, in cooking, and in literature.

At the heart of this book is mystery: eels are very mysterious and have baffled scientists forever, and that's what makes them so interesting. ( )
  Gwendydd | Aug 29, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrik Svenssonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Broome, AgnesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Granz, HannaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Part H Is for Hawk, part The Soul of an Octopus, The Book of Eels is both a meditation on the world's most elusive fish--the eel--and a reflection on the human condition. Remarkably little is known about the European eel, Anguilla anguilla. So little, in fact, that scientists and philosophers have, for centuries, been obsessed with what has become known as the "eel question": Where do eels come from? What are they? Are they fish or some other kind of creature altogether? Even today, in an age of advanced science, no one has ever seen eels mating or giving birth, and we still don't understand what drives them, after living for decades in freshwater, to swim great distances back to the ocean at the end of their lives. They remain a mystery. Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal. In The Book of Eels, we meet renowned historical thinkers, from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud to Rachel Carson, for whom the eel was a singular obsession. And we meet the scientists who spearheaded the search for the eel's point of origin, including Danish marine biologist Johannes Schmidt, who led research efforts in the early twentieth century, catching thousands upon thousands of eels, in the hopes of proving their birthing grounds in the Sargasso Sea. Blending memoir and nature writing at its best, Svensson's journey to understand the eel becomes an exploration of the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death. The result is a gripping and slippery narrative that will surprise and enchant.

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