Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Demon Fish - Review

This book is an interesting account of sharks and how they interact with humans. I knew very little about sharks before reading this book, but the author does a great job of educating the average reader quickly. If you have any interest in sharks at all, you will enjoy this book. I don't know if any dedicated Shark Week viewer will learn anything new, but it serves as a good introduction. 

Some things I learned about sharks:

I learned what shark calling is, and which cultures still practice it. Really interesting read, one of the best chapters in the book.

I learned about Shark Fin Soup and why people really order it.

I learned about the shark fin auctions and the commodifying of sharks.

I learned about shark hunters, poachers, and owners and why they are hurting the shark population.

I learned that the shark population is decreasing rapidly, and sharks often aren't as fierce as they are made out to be.

I learned that shark fetuses will attack and eat each other in utero.

I learned why sharks swim around with their jaws wide and teeth bared.

This is a hard subject to write about because sharks are such visually fascinating creatures, and because of that I'm not sure that a book was the best medium for the material. While its above average material, the same information conveyed via a documentary could have been outstanding.

All in all, this is a solid book. The author fails to make her case that sharks are on the verge of extinction and we have to treat them as a protected species, but its a good read nonetheless. Recommended if you want to be a shark fanatic and just need a little introduction.


  1. This does sound like an interesting book. I do think that the issue regarding shark fin soup tends to focus more on the torture of animals than possible extinction, which may be why she failed to prove her case to you, as a reader.

    And I completely agree that many of God's creatures are more successfully explained via documentary. The feeding habits of sharks, the rapid beat of the hummingbird's wings, the unique behaviors of the mimic octopus--there are many creatures that are more easily understood through observation of behavior rather than the written word.

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