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Sports & Recreation Fishing

Reading the Water

Fly Fishing, Fatherhood, and Finding Strength in Nature

by (author) Mark Hume

Greystone Books Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2022
Fishing, Nature Therapy, Personal Memoirs, Essays, Fatherhood
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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"A father shares the joys of fly-fishing with his daughters... A heartfelt, beautifully written celebration of the wonders of nature and comfort of family" (Kirkus STARRED)

Fishing was Mark Hume’s passion since he was a young boy, a lifeline through a childhood marked by his family’s frequent moves. When he became a father, he knew he wanted to pass on his love of water, fishing, and the natural world to his daughters. Most of all, he wanted to give them hope for their future even as they were coming of age during uncertain times.

As soon as they were old enough, Mark taught his girls how to read the water and see the patterns in nature. He showed them how to cast, how to catch fish and release them, and—only when needed—how to kill them. He discovered that fly fishing and fatherhood require many of the same skills: patience, flexibility, and the knowledge of when to reel in and when to let go.

Illuminating and heartfelt, Reading the Water is a much-needed, positive story about a father raising daughters, and a meditation on finding faith in a deep connection with the natural world.

About the author


Mark Hume is an award-winning journalist and former senior correspondent with the Vancouver Sun. He is the author of The Run of the River and Adam's River and has published articles in the Boston Globe, the Torotno Star, Equinox, Reader's Digest and Fly Fishing. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Mark Hume's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“An invigorating look at the power of the outdoors.”
Publishers Weekly STARRED Review

“Hume captures the poignancy of having once grasped a natural world teeming with exquisite, if all too vulnerable and fleeting, abundance. A must read for anyone who loves nature and cares about the earth.”
Tara Neilson, author of Raised in Ruins

“A father shares the joys of fly-fishing with his daughters. In this eloquent memoir …[Mark] Hume vividly conveys the sensory details of their adventures and the stunning surroundings… A heartfelt, beautifully written celebration of the wonders of nature and comfort of family.”
Kirkus STARRED Review

“In the tradition of Roderick Haig-Brown, and with a clear lyricism reminiscent of Wallace Stegner, Hume writes passionately about his intense connection to wild fish and the waters that sustain them. Gorgeously imagined, told with humility and grace, Reading the Water is a meditation on what it means to be a son, a father, a man wading the deep currents of his own mortality.”
Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

“Lyrical, thoughtful... Reading the Water urges readers to appreciate the wild places around them and to work to preserve the beauty and diversity of rivers and the animals that inhabit them.”
Shelf Awareness

“Rich and thought-provoking... there is much to enjoy in this celebration of family and the wonders of nature.”
Hakai Magazine

“An immensely profound look at how fly fishing has been ‘a way of navigating life’—a joyous celebration of how it has mingled with the seasons, the rivers, and the author's close family. I loved Reading the Water.”
Nick Lyons, author of Spring Creek

“This is glorious… truly brilliant.”
Roy MacGregor, award-winning journalist and author of A Life in the Bush

“Reading this book I found myself feeling more hopeful ... Not just about the environment, but importantly, about men as fathers.”
Sandy Shreve, author of Suddenly So Much and Waiting for the Albatross

“I have never gone fishing and probably never will. That matters not one bit when it comes to this memoir; I was hooked. It is a lyrical contemplation of life—beautifully written, smartly observed. It was like I was out there in nature with Mark and his family; I could almost feel the mountain air, the river water, as I drank in every word.”
Marsha Lederman, Western arts correspondent for the Globe and Mail

“We need more books like Mark Hume's Reading the Water. Potent, direct, imbued with humility and hope, this lovely story takes the pulse of the river and a man, yes, but most importantly of his unforgettable relationship with his daughters, which keeps his heart beating true.”
—Chris Dombrowski, author of Body of Water

“[Hume] invites us to wade streams, listen to the birds, cast a wary eye for marauding bears, and learn how to tie lures and practise fly-fishing... I found him among the best of literary companions.”
Literary Review of Canada

"You don’t have to be a dad who loves to fish to connect to this meditation on the natural world. Indeed, a river does run through it.”
The Vancouver Sun

“Profoundly thoughtful and beautifully written...Reading the Water is about fly-fishing—but it's also about life.”
The Daily Mail


"This is nature writing at its finest."
—Ken McGoogan, The Globe & Mail

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