I'm not sure why my attention was turned so much to rivers this summer, but after revisiting Three Men in a Boat, I read Coming Down the Seine, by Robert Gibbings. The book is a charming and leisurely telling of the author's travels down the whole length of France's principle river and his encounters with the people and countryside along the way.  The people are by turns funny, touching, or scandalous, but the scenery is always dreamy and beautiful. I picked up my vintage copy at a library booksale, where I fell instantly for Gibbings' idyllic journey. It didn't hurt that the book was peppered throughout with masterful woodcuts, also made by the author. Gibbings was a prolific artist, writing and illustrating a series of books detailing his many river travels (and writing several others besides), all while running the legendary Golden Cockerel Press.

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