My Paddle to the Sea by John Lane (University of Georgia Press 2011, 208 pages)

The popularity of journey books seems to be universal, perhaps because they are, in a way, simply metaphors for that larger journey we refer to as life. In My Paddle to the Sea, author John Lane expands upon the tradition begun in the depths of antiquity and practiced more recently by authors such as William Least Heat-Moon and Bill Bryson. In the book, Lane makes a canoe journey from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the sea, but the story is so much more than a travelogue about the waterways of the southeastern United States. As the author paddles down the Broad, to the Congaree, to the Santee, and finally to the sea, so, too, does he transport us back along the currents of his own life to the headwaters. And as he makes the journey south, we see a ghost of the South Carolina that once was as well as a glimpse of that which may yet come. This is an important journey made by an articulate writer who cares deeply about the future of our waterways. There’s room in the canoe for one more, so give the book a read.  –Raymond L. Atkins

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