Corona Reading

Social distancing, quarantine, follow the precautions and hopefully stay well. 

It is the least we can do with our healthcare professionals putting themselves on the line along with police, first responders, grocery and pharmacy workers as well as janitors, childcare and transit workers. Then there is the gentleman who pumps my gas and always hands me my receipt with a blessing. A saw a nurse’s post on what it is like to have the virus, to have it bad, and that was motivation enough to keep me and Sue out of harms way to the degree we can. I hope you all are doing the same.  

So what to do with all this time?

Those with kids and work at home are busy enough, I am sure, but the rest of us can use a little diversion, right?

So here’s what I am doing:  Staying up late watching movies, sleeping as late as I can. Walking Otto. Talking to Sue (and even listening to her). Touching base with family, friends and folks I never get around to calling or emailing. I try not to stare at my phone all day; in fact I put it on vibrate and only check it periodically. I could be fly tying and fishing but my shoulder rehab continues until May. Don’t want to screw that up. I do watch other people tie on YouTube and some live streaming by friend Bill of the Long Island Fly Rodders

Bill Smith’s of Elwood Flies Sparkle Dun tied on a live session on the LIFR Facebook page. Every day at 4 during the lockdown.

A good portion of my time is spent reading.

In many cases re-reading from my library (at this stage of life its like reading the book for the first time).

I have always had the habit of reading 2-3 books at a time. 

Usually one that I am really reading, as in to finish it.  And others which are designed to be read in little bits and bites. I read a lot in the fishing genre although have been known to stray from that every other book or so, but with fishing season approaching I am leaning toward ones that take my mind to the stream.

Here is what is on the table today:

Dana Lamb’s Bright Salmon and Brown Trout – I have all his books and love them.  They are well written and they put me in the shoes of a guy born in 1901 who fished and hunted though the 1920’s and into the 70’s. He had a few bucks (His dad owned a good bit of the property that today is Sunken Meadow State Park) and he had access to the expensive clubs and maritime salmon of that era. Its interesting to follow his writing as he ages and listen to his perspective as it shifts, although it remains colored by the upper economic circumstances he was born into.  The stories are brief and bite sized, perfect for a night cap. When I finish this one I will pull out the next until the series is complete – then I just may do it again in a year or two. 

Robert Burns – The Complete Poetical Works of Burns – Cambridge Edition.  I picked this up at the library before it closed.  Being of Scottish heritage I always felt I owed Robbie a read.  This book from the 19th century has a bit of a biography as well as his poems.  I read the story of his life first and then just flip through the poems, selecting one at random except for Tam O’Shanter, said to be is most well known, I read it through twice. He is lyrical – the rapper of his day, if you will. I think I will try Yeats next. 

John McDonald’s – The Complete Fly FishermanThe Notes and letters of Theodore Gordon.  Our dry fly pied piper whose life seems somewhat sad but purposeful.  Bridging the 19th and 20th centuries, the book tells his story and includes his magazine articles which were published both here and in England. Then there are his letters, each is dated and most have the location where he wrote them – Beaverkill, Neversink, Livingston Manor. It is kind of neat to read a letter he wrote on the same day as you are reading it, over 100 years ago.  I select a magazine article and a letter to read at each sitting. It will take me year to get through this one. 

The Essential Yellowstone – A Landscape of Memory and Wonder – Michael Yochim.  This is a new book I bought on line as soon as I heard about it.  The author worked and lived at the park for his entire career. Reading of his hikes, adventures and observation puts you right there with him.  So well done.  If you have been to the park you need to read this, and if you haven’t, after you read it you will go. One of the amazing things about this author is that he wrote it while ALS took over his body. I’ll let you read about that yourself.  Most chapters are like mini books in themselves, taking me an evening to get through. Try it.

James Prosek – A Connecticut Yankee Follows in the Footsteps of Walton – The Complete Angler.  Do you know James?  If not, you should meet him.  I met him through his first book which he wrote while a college student – Trout. Next I found his book of stories (I do love stories) titled Joe and Me. A relationship he stumbled into as he was poaching some private property. Now I have what I believe is his thesis while at Yale – a study of Issac Walton and his The Compleat Angler.  There is a YouTube video that was made based on the book which friend Peter sent me recently and so I pulled this one off the shelf – it is the one I am really reading right now.  More than half way through, I already have my next one lined up in the cue:

Lee Hartman’s The Delaware River Story – Water Wars, Trout Tales and a River Reborn. Wanting to get to it is motivating me to finish James’ book quicker but its one I am savoring. Lee is a special guy so you may want to pick up a copy even before I send out my review. Click here. You can call or email Lee directly for a signed copy and ask him if there is any room left on his guide schedule while you are at it: or call (570) 224 6371. 

If you want more suggestions, go to the Reading Room.

Small businesses are really suffering – including fly shops. If you can, given the financial straights we are in, think about purchasing a gift certificate from your favorite shop or restaurant to help them get over this hump.  If we don’t, they may not be here next time we need them. click here

Stay well my friends.  This too shall pass.

Joe Odierna on the Neversink