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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thumbing Through Thoreau A Book of Quotations by Henry David Thoreau

A little over two months ago, I requested the opportunity to review this book, Thumbing through Thoreau. I have always wanted to read poetry, but have always been afraid I wouldn’t understand the true value of the work. In some ways, poetry reminds me of modern art – I don’t like it because I don’t understand it. It is easy for me to look at a painting by Albert Bierstadt and recognize the talent and beauty (not to mention, respect for the creator as I do not have the talent to recreate it), but modern art looks “easy”. I have myself convinced I could throw paint on a canvas and call it modern art too! I am, however, intelligent enough to know that I must be missing something; probably a LOT! I guess I’ll have to request a book review on a study of modern art to discipline myself to conduct the necessary research to “get it”. This book on Thoreau accomplished just that for poetry.

I must admit, my first read through the book left me feeling pretty clueless! I could appreciate a few “quotes”, but not very many. It wasn’t until I read Wikipedia’s review of Henry David Thoreau’s life that the numerous quotes began to make perfect sense! I have noticed, probably because of my mother, that an understanding of a person makes EVERYTHING they say and do more clearly. I have clung to this philosophy for many, many years; which provides an ability to review the events of their past and easily assess the role it played in their behavior (whether for good or bad). This understanding of a person also allows me to forgive them, where I would not have otherwise.

There are too many favorites for me to quote, but I will say that I easily relate to Thoreau’s view of nature from ‘Walden’. Several years ago, while attending a Religious retreat at a secluded camp, I became “one” with God in nature! As I sat reading my Bible in the early morning hours – before anyone else had risen, FEELING His presence in the woods, He reminded me that my own backyard was filled with the peaceful breeze and sky-scraping trees I was enjoying at this life-retreat. My day-to-day life has never been the same. I welcome each new day alone, on my glass-enclosed porch, listening to a CD of ocean waves (another mode of reality I easily see His workmanship), praising my Creator for the beauty so easily forgotten in our culture. Which reminds me, I just have to write it, of the quote on page 23 from Walden: “I am convinced that if all men were to live as simply as I then did, thieving and robbery would be unknown.” HOW TRUE! If our world would learn to appreciate the simple, inexpensive pleasures of life, greed would not be as rampant.

I would encourage you to conduct a study of this amazing man from the 19th Century and purchase a copy of this book! I have truly enjoyed the beauty and writing on every page!

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1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

Theresa - what a heartfelt and poignant review - thank you! I'm so glad that you were a part of the book's blog tour because the sentiments you shared are exactly what we hope everyone gets out of the book.

I'm glad you looked up the history of Thoreau's life to compliment your reading of 'Thumbing Through Thoreau.' Your quote rings so true - "understanding of a person makes EVERYTHING they say and do more clearly."

When you related, "I welcome each new day alone, on my glass-enclosed porch, listening to a CD of ocean waves" - I know Thoreau would have heartily approved! :)

Best wishes,
Tribute Books