mateoj's review against another edition

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emotional informative reflective medium-paced

5.0

yes I am crying about eels! you would cry about eels too if you read this book! 

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marierad's review against another edition

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funny informative lighthearted reflective fast-paced

4.0


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hanarama's review against another edition

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informative reflective slow-paced

3.25

Cw: animal death, discussion of extinction and climate change

The Good:
• Interesting overview

The Bad:
• Too much memoir

You Might Like This if You Like:
• Single topic scientific nonfiction 
• Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake 

This book is filled with interesting information about eels. It feels almost like the more you learn, the less you really know about these weird creatures. By taking us from the beginnings of humans studying eels to the present day, Svensson illustrates how mysterious these slimy fish really are. 

Sprinkled throughout the scientific information are memoir-esque stories that reveal the author's personal relationship to eels and how eels played an important role in his and his father's relationship. I found these moments interesting to start, as it underlined the continuing importance of eels to humans. However, as the book went on, I felt these stories didn't add much. As a memoir, they're fine, but I picked up this book to learn about eels, not read fishing stories

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alexsraven's review against another edition

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challenging emotional informative mysterious reflective medium-paced

4.5

"𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚕𝚍 𝚒𝚜 𝚊𝚗 𝚊𝚋𝚜𝚞𝚛𝚍 𝚙𝚕𝚊𝚌𝚎 𝚏𝚞𝚕𝚕 𝚘𝚏 𝚌𝚘𝚗𝚝𝚛𝚊𝚍𝚒𝚌𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗𝚜 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚎𝚡𝚒𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚒𝚊𝚕 𝚌𝚘𝚗𝚏𝚞𝚜𝚒𝚘𝚗; 𝚘𝚗𝚕𝚢 𝚝𝚑𝚘𝚜𝚎 𝚠𝚑𝚘 𝚑𝚊𝚟𝚎 𝚊 𝚐𝚘𝚊𝚕 𝚊𝚛𝚎 𝚞𝚕𝚝𝚒𝚖𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚕𝚢 𝚊𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚏𝚒𝚗𝚍 𝚖𝚎𝚊𝚗𝚒𝚗𝚐."

This book manages to be not simply a science nonfiction, but a memoir and historical novel too. Svensson discusses the long history and searches for the birthplace of the eel -- the Sargasso Sea -- and the modern hunt to answer the question of how and why eels return there after living decades across the Atlantic. Using the life cycle of the elusive eel as the pivot of this tale, Svensson discusses life, memory, and humanness. He weaves together personal memories of hunting eels in his childhood as the story of the eel moves through history. This book is both mystifying and comforting and wholly unforgettable. 



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carracarmenchu's review against another edition

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dark informative reflective relaxing slow-paced

4.75

It is uncanny how Patrik Svensson gets to connect part of his biography with the history of the eel in a beautiful writing that is informative and personal alike. It is as all his life would have led him to write this book. He only had to follow traces of memory and human history. It is startling how such an ancient creature intertwines generations of curious souls like Aristotle, Freud, and Rachel Carson to reveal a common thread: the human passion for unraveling the mysteries of the natural world:

This is what the eel can teach us, Tom Crick argues. It tells us something about the curiosity of humankind, about our unquenchable need to seek the truth and understand where everything comes from and what it means. But also about our need for mystery.

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mar's review against another edition

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informative

3.5

huh.

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aardwyrm's review against another edition

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informative reflective sad slow-paced

3.5

Lots of good, even great natural history wraps around a personal narrative, with varying degrees of success. I definitely enjoyed the anecdotes about eels and the scientists who studied them more than the bits where eels are sort of a metaphor for the author's relationship with his dead father,  but you can't take a metaphor for a relationship with a dead father away from somebody, I suppose.

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sokkaspoon's review against another edition

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informative reflective medium-paced

3.0

Spoiler The book was well written, but the author took too much time to talk about his relationship with his dad. I did not care and only wanted to learn about eels. It felt like he was trying to find meaning in life through eels and I didn't like having to read about his life. There were some interesting facts about eels, but not enough for a book titled The Book of Eels
Spoiler

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beholderess's review against another edition

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informative reflective sad medium-paced

2.0


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