Book Review: A River Runs Through It


Five Stars.

I’ve read and listened to this book several times. And seen the movie. And yes, it is more than just Brad Pitt and his muscles. The book is lyrical, especially its passages on fishing, and the beauty of the wild.


“Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.”

As I’ve mentioned before, I have fished. In fact, our book club’s all-boys trip to a lodge in Montana centered around an all-day float trip on the Little Big Horn (Custer, anyone?). During that day, our excellent guide was so skillful that this complete newbie ended up catching and releasing nearly 50 fish, mostly browns and rainbows, some of which were twenty inches.

I learned a few things about myself:

1. Great fishing guides can make fishing fun for just about anyone.

2. I am ruined for regular fishing trips where you catch an occasional fish and you have to untangle your own lines and (gasp) you have to touch and unhook your own catch.

3. The rhythmic swaying, and the beautiful, mathematical curve of the line is mesmerizing, and perhaps more interesting to me than the actual catching.

4. I’m happy being a fly-fishing spectator.

CMIO’s take? Fishing is math. So is informatics. (xkcd comic). Everything derives from math. Math is beautiful. I’m going to go lie down now.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

One thought on “Book Review: A River Runs Through It”

  1. Just got to your blog.

    Beautiful! Jenessa loves flyfishing as well.

    I am glad you put the fish back in the water. Poor fish.


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