River Cruise Travel Guide

River Cruise Reading List

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Float down the Mississippi River with Huck, a wily teenager from Missouri, and Jim, a runaway slave, and delight in the adventures they find along the way. Or try Mark Twain’s memoir, “Life on the Mississippi.”

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Join three men in a boat on a two-week boating holiday along the Thames. Intended to be a serious travelogue, this 1889 British comedy shares nonfiction accounts of the author and his friends with a brand of wit that is relatable over 100 years later.

The Robber of Memories: A River Journey through Colombia by Michale Jacobs

Travel down the Magdalena River in the heart of Columbia with British writer Michael Jacobs via tugboat as he copes with his mother’s dementia. You’ll encounter Gabriel Garcia Márquez along with Jacobs as he explores this mystical river.

Mississippi Solo: A River Quest by Eddy L. Harris 

This memoir follows Harris’ solo canoe journey down the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to New Orleans with insightful prose that acknowledges the experience of a black man traveling alone.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Travel along the Congo River with Charles Marlow in this classic turn-of-the-century novel that analyzes colonialism, racism and European imperialism.

The Lost Steps by Alejo Carpentier

This novel, originally published in 1953 and since translated into 20 languages, follows the journey of a composer trading his life in New York City for an adventure along a South American river with his mistress.

Deep River by Shusaku Endo

In this work of fiction, join a group of four Japanese tourists on a pilgrimage along the Ganges River in India, and learn about the unique motivations, demons, expectations and spiritual discoveries of each traveler.

To the River: A Journey Below the Surface by Olivia Laing 

Walk along the Ouse River in Sussex, UK from source to sea — the same river where Virginia Woolf drowned in 1941. Laing weaves together biography, history, nature writing and memoir to examine the roles the river plays in the lives of those who have lived along it.

The River’s Tale, A Year on the Mekong by Edward Gargan

Join New York Times correspondent Edward Gargan on an exploration along the Mekong, studying the lives of the people who live along its shores.

The Journals of Lewis & Clark by Lewis and Clark

Through the journals of two of America’s greatest explorers, Lewis and Clark, follow their adventures with Sacajawea and 32 men along the Missouri River, America’s longest river, to the North Pacific and back.

River of Doubt by Candice Millard

This piece of historical nonfiction documents Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing journey along the River of Doubt, a previously unmapped tributary of the Amazon, with his son and a Brazilian explorer in 1912.

Goodbye to a River: A Narrative by John Graves 

Join John Graves on his wild adventures as he canoes solo along the Bravos River in north-central Texas in an attempt to bid farewell to the river as it is now and was in his childhood, before an inevitable series of dams changes the environment forever.

Highland River by Neil M. Gunn

Journey to Scotland with a scientist as he returns to his home in the Scottish Highlands and Dunbeath River after experiencing the horrors of WWI.

Exploration of the Colorado River by John Wesley Powell

This 1874 nonfiction classic recounts the scientific expedition of pioneer John Wesley Powell and his crew as they travel down the Green and Colorado Rivers through the Grand Canyon and into the American West, surviving famine, attacks and vicious rapids along the way. Or try “The Emerald Mile” by Kevin Fedarko to read about a modern adventure along the Colorado River.

Educational River Cruises