Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller. NPR reporter and former host of the podcast Invisibilia Lulu Miller takes readers down a fascinating rabbit hole to tell the story of scientist David Starr Jordan, who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Jordan was a taxonomist - a biologist that groups organisms into categories. He was single minded, organized, and extremely unlucky, having discovered in his time, nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans and having his specimen collections destroyed by lightning, by fire, and eventually by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. This last event left more than a thousand discoveries, housed in fragile glass jars, shattered and destroyed on the floor.

But here's what hooked Miller on Jordan's story. As she writes in the book "He didn't give up or despair. He did not heed what seemed to be the clear message of the quake that, in a world ruled by chaos, any attempts at order are doomed to fail eventually. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and scrambled around until he found, of all the weapons in the world, a sewing needle."

And thus begins a fascinating and surprising journey. Part biography, part memoir, part scientific adventure, the book has attracted widespread praise from critics and fellow writers alike, including this from Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus: “Riveting. Surprising. Shocking, even! Why Fish Don’t Exist begins with a mesmerizing account of the life of distinguished biologist David Starr Jordan — and then, quite unexpectedly, turns into so much more. Narrated in Lulu Miller’s intimate, quirky voice, this is a story of science and struggle, of heartbreak and chaos. This book will capture your heart, seize your imagination, smash your preconceptions, and rock your world.”