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Thoreau and the Art of Life: Reflections on Nature and the Mystery of Existence
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Thoreau and the Art of Life: Reflections on Nature and the Mystery of Existence

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  38 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Featuring nearly 100 luminous watercolor illustrations, Thoreau and the Art of Life collects eloquent passages from the writings of the seminal author and philosopher. Drawn mainly from his journals, the short excerpts provide fascinating insight into his thought processes by presenting his raw, unedited feelings about the things that meant the most to him. The book reflec ...more
Paperback, 116 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by North Atlantic Books
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Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
The subtitle of this book is "Reflections on Nature and the Mystery of Existence" What first drew me to this book were the luminous, expressive watercolors by Roderick MacIver. The artist, who has been reading Thoreau for over 20 years, chose his favorite short excerpts from Thoreau's journals, organized by theme. They are the passages that inspired MacIver's life and his art, making it a very personal book. He believes that Thoreau "challenges us and asks us to live our own truths with joy and ...more
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Roderick MacIver combines his own artwork with the unique words of Henry David Thoreau to create a beautiful little book anyone would love to look at.
Simple, yet elegant, the reader is taken back to the days when both art and literature were coveted by many people.
At the beginning of the book is a time table of Thoreau’s life. It includes some of the key events that shaped his life and introduces the reader to others he met along the way.
The book also includes some statements by those who were f
Tiffini Johnson
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who appreciate quotes, Thoreau-fans
Recommended to Tiffini by: first read book
Shelves: first-reads
I am thoroughly impressed with this book.

Frankly, I sort of expected it to be more about the paintings, with sporadic quotes by Thoreau. Instead, the emphasis is on Thoreau: the quotes are organized by theme (writing, death and illness, nature, etc), which is nice, and there are lots of them! Many of the quotes are from his journals and there were lots that, having read and appreciated Thoreau, I still could not recall having run across.

There are paintings. I'm not sure I feel that the painting
Seth Shaw
I knew of Thoreau and his works but hadn't read any until coming across this book of quotes by him. I greatly enjoyed his words especially since many of them had implications for themes I have pondered recently: simplicity, minimalism, & frugality. The artwork is beautiful in its own right and fits the overall Thoreau theme but the individual images did not appear to match the text they were paired with which I would have appreciated. Over all I did enjoy it and will be adding works by Thore ...more
Mar 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Love it! The images work well with Thoreau's words. Plus, I appreciate the unique Thoreau excerpts the book uses. I have never read pieces of his journal before. Also, the way the book is divided is easy to navigate and helps you find what topics of Thoreau's writing you are interested in.

I am actually really excited to use this in my classroom to help me introduce Transcendentalism. It provides material on Thoreau I never would have used before and gives me examples to show my students on how o
Jenny Trostel
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book! Combining the watercolors with the writings of Thoreau allows you the chance to stop and ponder the beauty of his teachings. You can pick up the book and read a passage and gaze at the drawing and feel a sense of peace and serenity form his message. It is nice to stop and think about how Thoreau spent his time and how he meant for his message to be absorbed by the reader. The passages come from many of his works and allow you to reflect on what is important in your life. A ...more
Sandra Scott
Jul 31, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked up this beautiful book because it was about Thoreau mixed with artwork. It is divided into subjects with snipers from Thoreau's journals and books as well as from his friends. I find the letter and addition of comments from friends sometimes more interesting than what the author has chosen from Thoreau's writings, showing more of the young man. I don't usually like an author's choices taken from a person's writings as I would rather read the books and make my own decisions. However this ...more
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to bethanne by: goodreads!
This is the first book that I won for free off of Goodreads' First Reads giveaways and this couldn't have been a more perfect book for my library. Henry David Thoreau's amazing writings are supplimented by Roderick MacIver's lush watercolors to show the relationship between art and nature. This is a visually stunning book of nature-related art and is a must-have for every fan of art and nature. I really enjoyed admiring all of MacIver's artworks as supplemented by Thoreau's observations. This is ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book. The artwork , quotes and journal entries all work together in creating a very peaceful and meditative experience.
The choice of watercolor as the art medium is perfect and the paintings have a wonderful balance between the bright and the subtle, the detailed and the almost abstract and many of the chosen texts read like poetry and are very inspiring.

If all you did was randomly open this book to any page you would find either a painting or quote or both to inspire and mak
A good introduction to the writing of Thoreau. I liked the different categories this book was divided into: "Art, Creativity and Writing", "Wisdom, Truth, Solitude, Simplicity" etc and it took me awhile to get through this small book because I stopped after most sections to think about them for awhile. I'll be reading Walden soon and I look forward to seeing the passages from this book in context.
Linda Petersen
Mar 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I won this book, and immediately devoured it. It is not necessarily a book that you read in order like a novel. It is more a collection of Thoreau's thoughts decorated with the most beautiful watercolors. It is something to be picked up, flipped through and admired. The artwork is simply beautiful and absolutely mesmerizing. I recommend.
Mar 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I won this on first reads.

Thoreau is one of the greats of our culture. This book offers beautiful imagery through the pictures and through the writing. I will definately be keeping this in my library.
Lisa P.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love this little book. The original water colors are great and accentuate the verses of Thoreau's. This is the kind of book you read slowly, reflect on, then return to season after season. Timeless, wise, changing perspectives each time I read it.
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
A collection of Thoreau's passages beautifully illustrated with the elegance of nature.
A wonderful combination of Thoreau quotations and beautiful nature paintings.
Jul 10, 2010 is currently reading it
A lovely visual and intellectually provocation book, with watercolor illustrations worth perusing even if you skip the text..but you won't.
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book of Thoreau's quotes. It has his quotes along with some quotes about him. I loved the watercolors throughout the book.
Zeke Jakub
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Nov 23, 2015
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