David's Reviews > Walden or, Life in the Woods and "Civil Disobedience"

Walden or, Life in the Woods and "Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau
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's review
Jul 14, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: classics, non-fiction, books-i-gave-up-on
Read from June 11 to July 14, 2010

Here's the thing: I like what Thoreau did here, and I agree with many of his philosophical points, and I hate giving up on books. That said, dude was pompous and long-winded. I've been trying to read this for about a month, but it has become that archetypal High School Summer Reading Book. You know, the one that you hate but is looming over you from the moment you get out of school until you finally look up the spark notes the morning of the first day that fall before the bus comes. I stopped reading it because it felt like too much of a job.

I came to the decision to give up when he had been talking about how much he paid for the materials to make his shack and listing all of the items in it for what felt like roughly 700 pages (but was actually just a cruel 10 or so). Perhaps it's just the wrong time in my life. Perhaps I'm illiterate swine. Or perhaps Thoreau's arrogance is so off-putting that he drives away people who would be very sympathetic to his work and beliefs.
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Reading Progress

05/05 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael It's not that hard to fight the powers that be when your parents can support you while you do it. For me, the moving-out-into-my-parent's-backyard thing would be a lot less romantic than it was for Thoreau.

I'd have to contend with a rusty old swingset, and I'd be surrounded by car noises.

Christina (A Reader of Fictions) Haha, I totally agree. Thoreau is totally a pompous ass. I hated the excerpt we read in high school English and I still couldn't stand what him when I had to read an excerpt this year. Even if he says something I kind of agree with, the way he phrases it, making sure to emphasize his superiority to everyone and everything, makes me want to argue.

Also, there is a bar called Silky's in Pittsburgh. Whenever I drive past it, I think of you.

message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael Also, there's a pile of dog shit in the yard across from our apartment. Whenever I walk past it, I think of you, Crap-Action.


No, seriously, I'm equally touched by both of those facts. Thank you.

Thoreau reminds me of that guy in college classes who is really smart and makes good points, but everyone argues with him because he's a prick. Just saying.

Mustafa Ahmad I agree. I wanted to like this book, but he just rambles on randomly a lot.

Alan David, You might enjoy my "review"; I agree, from having read all Thoreau except a bit of his complete journals (25 vols). Walden's not his best book, but it does reflect the aspirational idealism of 19C American authors. I have never gotten through it on one read; bits and pieces, yes. I suspect lovers of W are bits and pieces readers.

Luke Johnson I think the most accurate part of your review is your critique of yourself.

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