Friday 3 July 2020

Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

It's time for another Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times post which is being hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.

The idea is to share your bookshelves with other bloggers. Any aspect you like:

1. Home.
2. Books in the home.
3. Touring books in the home.
4. Books organized or not organized on shelves, in bookcases, in stacks, or heaped in a helter-skelter fashion on any surface, including the floor, the top of the piano, etc.
5. Talking about books and reading experiences from the past, present, or future.

Whatever you fancy as long as you have fun.

This week it's all about rivers, a small stack I created recently because I do enjoy reading about them: people travelling up and down rivers, people swimming in them, people living beside them and so on. It's always interesting to read about how a river influences people's lives.

From the bottom:

Down the River by H.E. Bates. He wrote The Darling of Buds May of course and Fair Stood the Wind for France and is better known for his fiction than non-fiction I suspect. This book is about the twin rivers Bates grew up with, the Ouse and the Nene, and is beautifully illustrated by Peter Parkington. I put a few pics of the paintings in this post.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield. I've just started this fiction book. It's based in an inn on the upper reaches of the Thames. I'm not sure what to make of it to be honest. I like the plot but am not convinced about the manner in which it's written. Odd.

Meander: East to West along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal. I had no idea that the word 'meander' came from an actual river that 'meanders'. How fascinating! This is the story of the author's trip along the river in a canoe. I've had this one for quite a while...

The Pull of the River by Matt Gaw. Another author canoeing rivers, lots of them this time, all over Britain. I think this was very popular when it came out in 2018 so I'm looking forward to reading it.

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. I believe this classic is based on and around The Thames in London and I've been meaning to read it for years. Hopefully this is the year I'll get around to it... all 800 pages.

Other books about 'rivers' that I've enjoyed, Waterlog by Roger Deakin, Down the Nile by Rosemary Mahoney, The Cruellest Journey by Kira Salak, A State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, Brazilian Adventure by Peter Fleming, The Gift of Rivers edited by Pamela Michael, Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories by Alexandra J. Pratt. And I have more on my TBR pile of course.

So nice to get back to these 'Insane Bookshelf' posts after a couple of weeks away.



Lark said...

I haven't read any of the books on your "shelf" but I did love Mahoney's Down the Nile and Salak's Cruelest Journey, too. I like reading travel/memoir books like those two a lot. :D

Sam said...

Cath, those are all new to me but they are most definitely the kind of thing I enjoy reading. I'm more drawn to "long walk" books, but any kind of long, slow trip appeals to me and my sense of wonder about the world. A similar book I can recommend is "Along the Edge of America" by Peter Jenkins. Jenkins is also author of "A Walk Across America" and several other similar trek-books. "Along the Edge of America" is his exploration by boat of the Gulf Coast region of America.

TracyK said...

I can understand why you would be attracted to books about rivers. I did not know the origination of the word "meander" either. I cannot remember any book I have read centered on a river, although there is the river traveling in To Say Nothing of the Dog.

When I was a child my grandparents had a cabin on the river (although the second one they had was much more than a cabin). This was on the Coosa River in Alabama, not one of the larger rivers. They would spend most of their time there in spring and summer and I fondly remember visiting them there now and then. So different from the city (Birmingham) that I lived in.

Mae Travels said...

Rivers should be a great focal point for literature, and your collection of titles is fascinating. Langston Hughes wrote a wonderful poem about rivers that I remember reading, and I also remember learning about the origin of the word “meander” in Latin class in Junior High School, as it was called in the olden days. We studied word roots once a week, which I remember in incredible detail, though I forgot everything else about Latin.

be well... mae at

Cath said...

Lark: If you liked Down the Nile and The Cruellest Journey then I really do recommend Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories by Alexandra J. Pratt. The river in that is in Labrador, Canada and the book is *wonderful*.

Sam: I checked out Along the Edge of America on Goodreads and saw that I had already marked it as 'want to read', I suspect on recommendation from you. I'll see about getting a copy of that or see if the library has a copy I can reserve when they open the reservation system again.

Tracy: I'd not heard of the Coosa river so of course I had to Google it to see where it is. The pics I saw look wonderful. How amazing that you got to spend time there.

Oh... I should add To Say Nothing of the Dog to my 'rivers' shelf on Goodreads as it's so much about the Thames, as is Once Upon a River which I'm currently reading. In fact I've been around the area where it's set, it's *very* pretty and quite atmospheric.

Mae Travels: I totally agree and I'm often attracted to books purely because they have an element of a river in the plot or setting.

Sadly, I never studied Latin, because I love words so much I really wish I had and have it in mind to give it a go one day. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

Mary said...

Will be interested in your final assessment of Once Upon a River. Has had wonderful review and I started it some time ago, but couldn't get into it. Perhaps I should try again.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

I see that I have 'Once Upon a River' on my physical shelf, so that must be courtesy of my MIL, as I know she often talks about Diane's books. I generally just accept the books she has set aside for me, as she is almost ninety, so to refuse would seem rather churlish. I obviously haven't ever read the premise of this one though, as I just checked it out on Goodreads and I am definitely going to have to be in the mood to attempt reading it.

As you know, fantasy isn't one of my favourite genres and I am reading a book from that section now, which sounded really intriguing, but which is proving to be quite a challenge, I think because it doesn't seem to have been set in the right timeline, for the style of writing!

This meme really is getting to be 'insane' now, as I just realised how many of them you have taken part in. This is definitely a very strange year one way and another, and I don't think we are out of the woods just yet, so I have a feeling these posts are going to feature for some time to come.

I hope that Peter continues to recover and gain back his strength :)


Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

There is something special about a river that draws people in. I have read and enjoyed Once Upon a River - more than enjoyed this story with a touch of magic.I haven't read the other books on your shelf, but I'd like to.

Some years ago when I lived not too far from Oxford I went to see Griff Rhys Jones talk about his book, Rivers. It was a fascinating evening about his journeys along Britain's rivers.

I hope all goes well with Peter - and you, of course.

Cath said...

Mary: Opinions on Once Upon a River seem to be sharply divided. I've seen some good reviews where people have loved it but equally I know a few people, like yourself, who couldn't finish it. I'll get to the end I think but I'm finding it a bit confusing and I'm not sure whether it's me or the book! I like the setting though, so that's one positive.

Yvonne: I completely agree with you about accepting books from your elderly m-i-l, you can always pass them on at a later date. As regards the book, the jury's out with me at the moment, I will report back, but it's an odd one. It's not really that 'fantasy' orientated so I don't think you need worry about that. At the moment it's edging more towards mildly supernatural and I do like the setting on The Thames.

Well, I've missed two weeks for obvious reasons but yes, times are still very odd and I think we'll be doing these Insane posts for a few weeks to come.

Peter's doing well, thanks. The strong antibiotics continue to affect him badly but as long as they're doing their job he can tolerate that for another 2 and a bit weeks. Thanks for asking.

Margaret: Yes, I think you're right about rivers drawing you in and I love reading about them. Good to hear that you enjoyed Once Upon a River, I've been to the area where it's set so that increases the interest for me.

Oh yes, I've read GRJ's book about rivers and watched the TV series, I bet his talk was excellent.

We're doing ok, thanks. Peter is much better in himself but his meds are harsh. Hopefully that means they're working. We're just keeping very quiet and carrying on with lockdown to be honest.