“For my part, I could easily do without the post-office. I think that there are very few important communications made through it. To speak critically, I never received more than one or two letters in my life … that were worth the postage. The penny-post is, commonly, an institution through which you seriously offer a man that penny for his thoughts which is so often safely offered in jest.” — Henry David Thoreau, “Where I Lived and What I Lived For,” Walden
Just think what Thoreau would say about email, or blogs, or Twitter. (And what would you think if you’d ever written him a letter?! Was mine one of that one or two? What if you had written him a dozen letters? Would you be inclined to write him any more?) Continue reading →
Original title page of Walden featuring a picture drawn by Thoreau’s sister Sophia. Via Wikipedia
One should not read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden quickly. It’s a book that benefits from a leisurely pace. This book can change how you look at the world and improve your enjoyment of life. Even if you live in a city and like modern technology, as I do.
That’s why for the next year I’m going to blog about Walden — quoting it, commenting on it, amplifying and arguing with it. It’s like a book club that meets four days a week (new posts on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), but the readings are mostly a good deal shorter than this post — just a few minutes out of your day. And though I hope you’ll read the book for yourself, you don’t have to do so to follow these posts. I’ll quote as much as I need to for the post to make sense.
Just remember: Walden isn’t something to finish and check off your list. It’s something live with, a companion. I can think of very few books that stand up to that kind of use, but this is one. Continue reading →