Trevor Corson is a journalist who also knows how to haul in a lobster trap, which he did for two years off Maine’s Little Cranberry Island and chronicled in his first book, the bestseller “The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean.” He returned to the edible ocean with “The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice.” Corson speaks at the New England Aquarium Thursday at 7 p.m.
BOOKS: What are you reading?
CORSON: I’m reading an interesting book that comes out in November that combines my interest in human and animal behavior. This is a really interesting book, “Nature Wars” by Jim Sterba. It goes back and looks at how our ideas of wilderness and the wild are fairly warped. I love reading something that destroys my daily working presumptions about something. This book combines my two obsessions in reading. One is more biological, ecological books. The other is human history. I’ve also been reading books on East Asia. I’ve been reading “Modern China” by Jonathan Fenby, who’s a journalist, not a historian, which I thought would make for an interesting approach, and “Japan” by James McClain. It’s been fascinating reading these books back to back.
BOOKS: What are your other reading obsessions?
CORSON: In the animal behavior world, I have recently read “The Mind of the Raven” by Bernd Heinrich and “The Beekeeper’s Lament” by Hannah Nordhaus. I really love literary nonfiction. That book is a wonderful example of the genre. I also recently read an interesting book by my friend Paul Greenberg, “Four Fish,” which mixes a lot of ecology with human behavior.
BOOKS: Did you read much when you were lobstering?
CORSON: Yeah, I keep a list of the books I’ve read so I can look that up right now.
BOOKS: How long have you kept a list?
CORSON: It starts in 1987 when I graduated from high school, when I went to China for two years. At first I wrote a little essay about each book but that became too time consuming. I started the list in this dusty old Chinese notebook I bought in Beijing. Then I was reading the old Taoist philosophers like Chuang Tzu. He’s my favorite. I have him on my iPhone. Thanks to technology I have this fourth-century BC Chinese philosopher on my phone.
BOOKS: What’s in there from the lobstering era?
CORSON: Wow, I read several Toni Morrison novels on that little island filled with white people. I read “The Unconsoled’’ by Kazuo Ishiguro, David McCullough’s “Truman,” and some Zora Neale Hurston. I don’t remember that. Also, “Dark Sun” on the making of the hydrogen bomb by Richard Rhodes and Wallace Stegner’s “Angle of Repose.” I guess I had a fair amount of time sitting on that little island.
BOOKS: What books did you read for your book about lobsters?
CORSON: I was inspired to write my book on lobsters by William Warner’s “Beautiful Swimmers,” which is about Chesapeake Bay crab fishermen. “The Lobster Gangs of Maine” by James Acheson is an amazing book.
BOOKS: What fiction have you read recently?
CORSON: What I’ve been making my way through over the past few years is this huge trilogy about Finland called “Under the North Star” by Vaino Linna. It’s amazing. I started paying attention to Finland because my wife is Finnish, but it also strikes me as a combination of my two favorite places, Maine and Japan.
BOOKS: How many books do you read at a time?
CORSON: Too many. I’m like most readers today in that my habits are being affected by technology. I have several books on my phone and have been reading on the Kindle until I sat on it recently at the beginning of a trip to China.
BOOKS: What did you do?
CORSON: Instead of reading I went to bed each night. It was great. It was quite a revelation.