I love sharks. I also have a weird phobia of sharks. It’s a weird combination. So each Shark Week it’s a wild ride of fascination and fear. So while browsing an amazing independent book store in Milwaukee (Boswell Books), I saw this sitting on their “New Book” shelf and couldn’t resist the temptation to peruse it. Another part that drew me in to this particular shark tome, was that it focuses on the Farallon Islands, just west of San Francisco in the Pacific, and being from the Bay Area, I always enjoy books from that region.
Some of you may remember that the Farallon Islands had some recent notoriety when an Orca attacked and killed a Great White shark in front of whale watchers in the waters off the Farallons. This was a bizarre episode, but it made us all more aware of the interactions between the apex predators in the Pacific. What I find fascinating is that because of Shark Week, Planet Earth, Blue Planet, and other documentaries, more people are educated about sharks. With education comes respect and a lack of myths, legends, and fear.
That’s exactly what Katherine Roy is attempting with Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands. It’s an educational and entertaining read about why Great Whites gather at the Farallons, where they go when they aren’t there, how they hunt, and what makes them different from other predators. A lot of what Ms. Roy write isn’t new, but in this format it’s a good review and entertaining to see the illustrations. Who doesn’t love to see a half-eaten seal carcass in the background?
All in all I think this a good read for those interested in sharks. It’s not sensational, but it does a good quick overview of why sharks are important and what makes them tick. So in preparation for August’s Shark Week, give this book a read.