Walden is one of those books that I have always thought I should have been required to read at some point but managed to evade the task. I have corrected that deficiency with my sixtieth book of the year. Henry David Thoreau’s meditation on his two years spent living in the woods around Walden Pond is one of the classics of American philosophical literature. It is so well-regarded that even Europe recognizes its worth, an honor rarely bestowed on American thinkers. Despite my natural inclination to disagree with popular opinion, I cannot argue against Walden’s title as a masterpiece.
There have been many books over the course of history that advocate a simple life grounded in nature. What makes Walden so unique is Thoreau’s attitude toward the experiment. He does not urge all men to take up his example and live in the woods. Instead, he urges all men to find their own experiment, their own calling. His happened to be the woods, mine might be the ocean. The point is to uncover the urge within yourself and seek it at all cost, no matter what society says is the proper mode of living. He makes this argument in language that is at once clear and poetic. The philosophical value is augmented by the beauty of Thoreau’s descriptions of Nature. All of this combines to make a book that is eminently enjoyable and spiritually valuable.
The Current Count:
60 Read, 40 To Go