Before there was Norman McLean's A River Runs Through It, there was Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler. The subtitle of Walton's classic 17th-century "discourse" on fish and fishing is "The Contemplative Man's Recreation", and for good reason. At turns mirthful, lofty, poetic, and didactic, Angler is a marvelous mixture of instruction manual, dialogue, and work of art.
The audiobook requires a classic British voice, and Alex Warner delivers with a pitch-perfect performance. His noble accent seems to emerge from centuries past, and a listener has never heard a more genteel voice discuss frogs and worms with utter earnestness.
The Complete Angler has been in print for over 350 years. Just a how-to book on fishing would not have created such a popular work. Walton's comments on how to catch and prepare numerous varieties of fish create a pleasant leisure read for any fisherman. His anecdotes are as fresh and contemporary today as they were in his century.