Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly.  With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you.  Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old.  Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today.  Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read or viewed, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

June 12, 2006

Cover Girl & Other Stories of Fly-Fishermen in Maine
By J.H. Hall


Reviewed by Deanna Birkholm

In my opinion there just isn't enough fun reading in the fly fishing world. This week a fine exception appeared in our Post Office box. To be fair, the author, J.H. Hill, did send me an email and ask if I'd like to read it, and I agreed.

Certainly the title is clever, especially since we've all seen how many fly fishing magazines with a photo of a perfectly groomed and decorated woman on the cover. And of course there is the image of the Hardy Girl. All of which are intended to get whatever juices flowing and end up with you buying the magazine or the Hardy products.

James Hall, however has created a list of characters, all over-avid fly fishers, which takes the whole process (including ogling and plotting) to a whole new level. The cover girl indeed is real and a licensed guide. Plans are discussed and arrangements made. But lechery isn't the plan, it could happen, but the plot is much more devious. As in any good melodrama, there is a villain. In this case it is an upstart, yuppie marketing-savvy guide named Spike. Stir and mix with a goodly amount of excellent play-by-play fly fishing and you have a delightful story. There are some unexpected twists, all to entertain you. And it does.

There are several other shorter stories, including one written in a woman's voice. Unusual and very well done.

Quoting from the book cover:

"With humor and compassion, author J.H. Hall chronicles the joys and tribulations of Maine fly-fishermen, their loved ones, and their adversaries. Hall's characters share a passion for fly-fishing - their lifeline - and an indifference to most of society's other conventions. Whether building an indoor trout stream, robbing a bank, or waging mischief against a market-savvy, modernist guide, these characters gallantly struggle to preserve a way of life and a part of Maine that is rapidly disappearing."

J.H. Hall lives in Wayne, Maine. His works have appeared in numerous outdoor and literary magazines, three anthologies, and two collections: Selling Fish: Stories from a Fishing Life and Paradise: Stories of a Changing Chesapeake.

Well worth the read!

Cover Girl & Other Stories of Fly-Fishermen in Maine
By J.H. Hall
Softcover; 156 pages
ISBN 0-595-37288-0
Price: $12.95 US
Published by: iUniverse

Available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and numerous others and, of course, also at http://www.iuniverse.com ~ DLB

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