Book Tag: Rivers

The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

'Mississippi River' photo (c) 2010, Chris M - license: soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Rivers are fascinating. And traveling down a river is such a rich metaphor for traveling through life. A river can be adventurous (Huckleberry Finn) or languorous (Langston Hughes’ poem) or perilous (River Rising by Athol Dickson). So in today’s edition of Book Tag, please suggest your favorite book, fiction or nonfiction, that features rivers.

Remember the rules: “In this game, readers suggest ONE good book in the category given, then let somebody else be ‘it’ before they offer another suggestion. There is no limit to the number of books a person may suggest, but they need to politely wait their turn with only one book suggestion per comment.”

My suggestion to start the game off is Athol Dickson’s River Rising. The book I’m reading now, Same Kind of Different as Me, reminded me of Mr. Dickson’s novel, since the man in my current book, Denver Moore, grew up in southern Louisiana, where Dickson’s story takes place. However, River Rising is about the Mississippi River flood, the greatest flood in modern history on the lower Mississippi River and about how such a flood can be horribly destructive, but also can provide an opportunity for cleansing and for a new beginning.

Your turn. What river-themed books do you recommend?

6 thoughts on “Book Tag: Rivers

  1. Assam and Darjeeling by T.M. Camp (My review is here: Two children seek their mother and wind up navigating the river Styx that divides the world of the living from the world of the dead. The river is a constant touchstone in their travel.

  2. Thanks Barbara and Julie and Amy. Those all look good. I just picked up a Texas-setting nonfiction narrative at the library. It’s called Goodbye to a River by John Graves. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks like a fascinating account of the author’s three week trip down the Brazos River in the 1950’s before various dams were built to make the river not so navigable.

  3. Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
    Amazing story.

  4. I highly recommend Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald which won the Booker Prize in 1979. The story follows the lives of several barge-dwellers (houseboat inhabitants) on the Thames River in England in the 1960s.

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