Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Geographical Terms in the Title: Rivers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

The topic this week is Books with Geographical Terms in the Title (for example: mountain, island, latitude/longitude, ash, bay, beach, border, canyon, cape, city, cliff, coast, country, desert, epicenter, hamlet, highway, jungle, ocean, park, sea, shore, tide, valley, etc. For a great list, click here!) (Submitted by Lisa of Hopewell)

There are many books I could have chosen for this theme, but I decided to choose those with the word ‘River/s’ in the title. These are all books I’ve either read (marked with an *) or are books I own but haven’t read yet.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch* – This is a magical reading experience, and a fast-paced police procedural of a very different kind. It’s fantastical in the literal meaning of the word; an urban fantasy set in the real world of London. It’s a mix of reality and the supernatural. Peter Grant is a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard who is assigned to work with Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale (who is the last wizard in England) as part of a special and secret branch of the Met, dealing with all things magical and supernatural.

River of Darkness by Rennie Airth – the first novel in his John Madden trilogy, published in 1999. It’s set in 1921 and a terrible discovery has been made at a manor house in Surrey – the bloodied bodies of Colonel Fletcher, his wife and two of their staff. The police seem ready to put the murders down to robbery with violence, but DI Madden from Scotland Yard sees things slightly differently.

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh – In September 1838, a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbors of China. There, despite efforts of the emperor to stop them, ships from Europe and India exchange their cargoes of opium for boxes tea, silk, porcelain and silver.

The Secret River by Kate Grenville* – one of my favourite books. It is historical fiction, straight-forward story-telling following William Thornhill from his childhood in the slums of London to Australia. He was a Thames waterman transported for stealing timber; his wife, Sal and child went with him and together they make a new life for themselves. William was eventually pardoned and became a waterman on the Hawkesbury River and then a settler with his own land and servants.

Rivers: A Voyage into the Heart of Britain by Griff Rhys Jones* – Griff is passionate about rivers and opening them up for people to use. The waterways of Britain are the ancient transport routes only superseded by road and rail relatively recently. He writes about the history of rivers – telling how the monks were the first people to use the rivers, creating the water meadows to irrigate the land, how people settled near rivers, how the towns grew up, how they were above all working rivers, and how we have lost our ancient connection with rivers. It is fascinating, complete with line drawings, maps and colour illustrations.

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane – Three boys’ lives were changed for ever when one of them got into a stranger’s car and something terrible happened. Twenty five years later they have to face the nightmares of their past. I’m not sure what to expect from this book, not having read any of Lehane’s books before, but a reviewer in the Guardian described it as one of the finest novels he’d read in ages.

The River Midnight by Lilian Nattel – this is about the fictional village of Blaska, a small Jewish community in Poland at the turn of the 20th century, when Poland was under Russian occupation. It is told from the perspective of a group of women, including Misha, the midwife, Hannah-Leah, the butcher’s wife, and Faygela, who dreams of the bright lights of Warsaw. Myth meets history and characters come to life through the stories of the women’s lives and prayers, their secrets, and the intimate details of everyday life.

Many Rivers to Cross by Peter Robinson – the 26th Inspector Banks book, in which he and his team investigate the murder of a teenage boy found stuffed into a wheely bin on the East Side Estate. But Banks’s attention is also on Zelda, who in helping him track down his old enemy, has put herself in danger and alerted the stonecold Eastern European sex traffickers who brought her to the UK

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield* – An intriguing and mystifying book, a mystery beginning in the Swan Inn at Radcot, an ancient inn, well-known for its storytelling, on the banks of the Thames. A badly injured stranger enters carrying the drowned corpse of a little girl. It’s mystifying as hours later the dead child, miraculously it seems, takes a breath, and returns to life. The mystery is enhanced by folklore, by science that appears to be magic, and by romance and superstition.

The Riddle of the River by Catherine Shaw* – Set in Cambridge in 1898  Mrs Vanessa Weatherburn used to be a school mistress until she married Arthur. Now with two children (twins) she acts as a private investigator. Vanessa is enlisted by her friend, journalist Patrick O’Sullivan to investigate the death of a young woman found floating, reminding her of Ophelia, in the River Cam.

17 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Geographical Terms in the Title: Rivers

  1. I loved the Grenville, too, Margaret! Have you read her other books? And I’ve enjoyed the other books on your list that I’ve read, too (Aaronovitch, Airth, Lehane, Robinson). This is a great idea for a top ten, too – very clever.

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    1. Yes, I’ve read The Idea of Perfection, The Lieutenant, One Life: My Mother’s Story (biography), A Room Made of Leaves, Sarah Thornhill and Searching for The Secret River (non fiction). I love her books! I am glad to see you’ve enjoyed the Airth and Lehane books too. I’m looking forward to reading them.

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