Saturday, April 23, 2022

Book Report: "Walden"

WaldenWalden by Henry David Thoreau
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thoreau is proudly the oddest duck on the pond, hurling himself into a self-imposed monkishly minimalist lifestyle by building a cabin and living off the land for two years.

Understandably, the time spent lost in the woods made him even loopier than he presumably started.

The author makes impassioned pleas to live the life without comforts or extravagance, or even the company of others. His seeming lack of sex or social drives is robotic in the way that predates Sheldon Cooper.

The peek inside the mind of such a man is fascinating, even if he indulges his compulsions to a dull degree at times. On several occasions he runs off meaningless statistics about pond depth, his day labor wages and his product costs. This is a man happily lost inside the depths of his own mental interiors. "Walden" is such a sassy and ludicrously pompous read that it is impossible not to be absorbed in some degree.

My favorite passage was his intricately detailed play-by-play of red and black ants doing battle. Without sarcasm or pretense, he praises the valor of the soldiers as they dismember one another.

In a sense, Thoreau is one of the ants and collective social constructs are the other. He rears his pincers with instictive ferocity.

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