Reading Water: Lessons from the River

Reading Water: Lessons from the River

5.0 1
by Rebecca Lawton
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

-A 2008 San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, originally published by Capital Books in 2002

Rebecca Lawton, a retired river guide, came to her passion for the outdoors through her mother's love of the wilderness and her brother's river guide career. As these essays meander through time, they reveal not only her love for her calling, but also her development as

Overview

-A 2008 San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, originally published by Capital Books in 2002

Rebecca Lawton, a retired river guide, came to her passion for the outdoors through her mother's love of the wilderness and her brother's river guide career. As these essays meander through time, they reveal not only her love for her calling, but also her development as a person, guide, and scholar of the rivers of the West. The hard work and danger that a river guide faces on a daily basis become a comfortable routine as awareness and familiarity with the ways of the rivers grow, and readers come to share Lawton's loves and fears, and the black hole of depression that follows her thrilling summers. Lawton does, however, make use of her off-the-river seasons in college and graduate school, where she studies the geology and history of the landscape that she loves; then, later, after marriage and parenthood, she starts a career as an environmental consultant. The lyricism of Lawton's prose mirrors the natural elegance of what she describes, and the excitement she conveys makes readers long for a run through the rapids. -Booklist

Reading Water is “...the spiritual autobiography of a true whitewater gypsy, giving us a seasoned depiction of the nomadic culture, empty canyons, and wild western rivers that define and haunt her.”
— David James Duncan, author, The River Why and My Story as Told by Water

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Rivers provided the main routes for discovery of the American West. Today, rafting or boating those same rivers can still provide a vehicle for a different kind of discovery-of one's self. Lawton is a seasoned, licensed boatwoman who has navigated many of the most beautiful and technically difficult rivers of the West. Her experiences as a woman succeeding in a very physically demanding profession (she was one of the first female river guides) and the people with whom she works are interesting by themselves, as are her passing observations about the geology and natural history of the rivers. The overarching theme of these short essays, though, is how she connects with nature, and ultimately with herself, on the water. Her reflections are not especially profound, and her prose tends to be a bit airy, but the thoughts and feelings that she expresses are affirmative, introspective, and unpretentious. For its honesty and relative simplicity, if this book were a river it would be broad, not deep. For larger general collections of nature essays. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940044264205
Publisher:
Rebecca Lawton
Publication date:
01/20/2013
Sold by:
Smashwords
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
422 KB

Meet the Author

Rebecca Lawton was among the first women whitewater guides in the West. She has since published articles and short stories in journals such as Orion, Shenandoah, Sierra, THEMA, Santa Barbara Review, and the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College, and earned the Ellen Meloy Award for Desert Writers. Her collection of essays about the river guiding life, Reading Water: Lessons from the River, was a 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller. Junction, Utah is her debut novel.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Reading Water: Lessons from the River 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This lovely book seems simple enough on the surface (the memoirs of a woman river rafting guide), but, like water itself, there's much more going on beneath the surface. Reading Water is part of the Capital Discoveries Book Series from Capital Books, chosen for their focus on 'journeys of self-discovery, transformation, inner awareness, and recovery.' This book is a perfect fit for that series. *** Lawton weaves many threads into each essay, much like the interwoven currents of the braided rivers she describes in one essay. Some threads are past, present, and further past others are experience, observation, and research. These threads feel somewhat unrelated until the questions gradually flow over the reader like a gentle sprinkle as opposed to a downpour of forced epiphany. *** Her writing style is beautiful and poetic (with the minor exception of an undue fondness for sentence fragments). Her style takes a few pages to get used to, but then it becomes hypnotic. To pose an obvious metaphor, her phrasing pulls the readers along with the sureness and variety of a peaceful river with occasional rapids. *** Lawton's greatest strength as a writer is how she combines a scholar's depth of knowledge with a romantic's depth of feeling. She does a great job of interlacing fact and experience. The curious patterns in the lives of salmon might be discussed objectively in one passage, followed closely by the delight of feasting on their flesh in the next. Turning the pages of Reading Water, like reading the best of memoirs, is a learning *and* feeling experience. *** As a memoir or as an investigation of the power of moving water to affect human beings, Reading Water is strongly recommended.