Walden by Henry David Thoreau

View from this book:

In the beautiful Visitor Center where I work, we have a library full of nature writing, which naturally lends itself to lots of quiet hours of reading (when I’m not answering questions about moose).  Or, in the case of Walden, many quiet hours of wishing I could go back and time and beat the shit out of Thoreau for being such a prig.

The book:

I could barely get through the first part of the book without falling into a stupor, or suppressing the desire to hurl the book away.  Or just hurl.  Walden is interminably self-sure, the prose is lumbering, and Thoreau just sounds priggish.  Do we really make our kids read this shit?  It’s enough to turn anyone off of nature writing for life, which is a shame.  Give high schoolers Edward Abbey!  Give them Aldo Leopold!  Wendell Berry!  Mary Oliver!  Gary Snyder!  John Muir!  Sigurd Olson!  Annie Dillard!  Annie Proulx!  There are a million other authors who write beautiful environmental literature, and none of them are as priggish as Thoreau. Ø out of 10; DID NOT FINISH.




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