Thursday, January 27, 2011


Finally finished Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I have tried to read it many times, but just could not get interested in it. This last time I decided to ration myself to four pages a day and this is what got me through. John Updike said "...the book risks being as revered and unread as The Bible." I think he's right. How I got through private school in Massachusetts without reading it is beyond me. I am interested in the Transcendentalists, via the Alcotts, and have long been aware of the importance of this work. Once I got used to the tone and the rhythm of the prose, Thoreau seemed pretty familiar. My disinterest in non-fiction was certainly part of my original problem with reading it, but his honest, grounded, even innocent observations are charming. Referring to some stumps removed from his bean field he said, "...they warmed me twice, once while I was splitting them, and again when they were on the fire, so that no fuel could give out more heat."

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