This lovely book was bought for me as a Christmas present from a friend in 2009 and was a perfect bedside table book to dip in and out of.
Evolving from the website about angling, music and culture, caughtbytheriver.net, this is a collection of stories, essays and musings about the varied rivers of Britain. Covering many of the usual suspects, The Severn, The Ouse, The Irvine and The Thames, and quite a few lesser known treasures, this book allows us to while away the hours in the countryside with the authors. Sharing a passion for rivers the authors too are an interesting array of journalists, known writers and musicians. Frank Cottrell Boyce and Irvine Welsh sit alongside Jarvis Cocker and Edwyn Collins, Roger Deakin alongside Lord Peregrine St Germans, at home describing currents, Kingfishers and shopping trolleys.
The subjects are as varied as the writers. There are a fair amount of remembered fishing tales, but also canoeing adventures, childhood wanderings of legendary proportions, as well as rivers as personalities that we live with and provide a sense of place and stability, or a little known peaceful retreat. Among my favourites were The River Cary with author and journalist Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Tickling Fish by Lord Peregrine St Germans, or Way Across the River by punk historian Jon savage. To be truthful though there was not a single chapter I did not find enjoyable.
As I said, this was perfect to read before sleep because it was so relaxing and each chapter was reasonably short. The words are peppered with illustrations by Robert Gibbings and John Richardson making this book very special. You can buy some of the maps as prints from the caughtbytheriver website.
The blurb on the back describes the book as 'a uniquely modern take on an age old writing tradition -a rock 'n' roll nature book even'. Highly recommended for not just anglers, but lovers of the British countryside, and for those who appreciate the quiet moments we enjoy by our waterways.