Not really a book

Reading has been going out of fashion for some time. Modern attention spans just don’t seem up to getting through a few hundred words, let alone the tens of thousands that make up a worthwhile book. Perhaps the Wild Trout Trust had this in mind when they commissioned all and sundry to write 160-word pieces for a fund-raising book. According to the blurb on its website, it is a collection of ‘riverside moments’ that aims to achieve the effect of the Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing book, whatever that might be. I’ve only read the opening chapters of that celebrity book, which detail their respective illnesses and life on the showbiz circuit. Like the TV programme, not especially interesting. The most striking feature of their relationship is Whitehouse’s obvious irritation with Bob Mortimer’s ham-fisted incompetence handling a fishing rod.

What can we expect from the WTT book titled Not Really Fishing? Writing very short pieces of 160 words and making them interesting is a lot more difficult than for a longer chapter. I doubt the editors had much to work with going by the example sections I’ve seen. Each contribution is followed by a factoid on the subject of the vignette. The theme of the book seems to follow the false romantic myth that runs through dozens of bad fishing articles now — the fishing isn’t important compared to the delirious joy of being on the bank.

For a conservation organisation, I question the WTT’s choice of the retail behemoth Amazon as a publishing partner. Big business has done plenty to pollute the environment and Amazon is also busy chewing up the High Streets around the country. But then a charity that aligned itself with serial polluter Thames Water to sponsor its awards tends to overlook such discomforting points.

I note the WTT raises more money from sales through its website than Amazon’s. So if you want to buy the book best get it direct.

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