For 'Jaws' fans, a look at what it's really like to hunt a shark

'Shark Drunk' by Morten Stroksnes
'Shark Drunk' by Morten Stroksnes
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Molly Coogan of Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Molly Coogan is a bookseller at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. It's the shop the Obama family used to wander through on their summer vacations, and it sits not far from where "Jaws" was filmed.

That plays well with Coogan's recommendation for readers: "Shark Drunk."

The nonfiction tale follows a writer and an artist — Morten Stroksnes and Hugo Aasjord — as they embark on a Richard Dreyfuss-worthy adventure. The two friends set out from an archipelago north of the Arctic Circle, on a hunt for Greenland shark.

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It's "the nastiest, biggest oldest shark you can possibly imagine," Coogan said. "They're 400 years old, they weigh a ton. They're like 24 feet long. They're even bigger than the great white sharks we have here on the Vineyard — in movies and in real life."

The Greenland shark "is a killing machine." Even its meat is toxic, capable of causing hallucinations — "that's where the title comes from," Coogan said.

The premise of "Shark Drunk" is these two friends, alone in a rubber dinghy in the ocean, on the hunt for a shark. "But it's a lot more than that. The author meanders through these philosophical musings. There's all these 'Gee whiz!' science moments.

"Their friendship blossoms in this dinghy. [Stroksnes'] mind rambles and wanders the way one would when you're out in the middle of the ocean ... It's almost like you have this Wikipedia rabbit hole through the whole book, just more beautifully written."

Coogan said the book touches on everything from the history of Norway to the biology of deep-sea creatures.

"It's a book I think will appeal to everybody, and certainly to anyone looking for high seas adventures," she said. "Even if you missed Shark Week, it's something that will resonate throughout the year."

Shark Drunk Shark Drunk