I'd like you to know about this book even if you don't have the slightest interest in eels. Eels are slimy.There's no way I would eat eel, ever, but they are central to dinner time in some cultures.
The full title of this particular book is: The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World, and that is not an exaggeration. For centuries, humans have Sargasso Sea where they will become mature, mate, and create new little eels which look like willow leaves.
You think I'm making this up, but I'm not.
This book is fascinating. The eel biology and history chapters alternate with the author's own experience fishing and trapping for eels with his father. His is one of those cultures for whom the eel is an important food, and the acquisition of these eels is an important part of his bond with his father. This is what supplies the fantastic ending of the book.
I read this book during a heatwave in front of a fan, and it was compelling enough to distract me from the extra-extra high temperature. After reading the New Yorker's review, I said out loud, "I have to read that book." Really, for something completely different and satisfying, read this book.
Another fascinating tidbit: before he became a best-selling author at the turn of the last century writing about another topic, Sigmund Freud tried to solve the mystery of where baby eels came from. Unsuccessful, he switched his career focus.