Books

Book Review: Walking by Henry David Thoreau

I have wanted to read this book ever since I read Walden and started taking long walks. So you could say I had great expectations when going in, and you also know where this is going: the book didn’t measure up. I’m not sure if I wanted to achieve some kind of deep revelation or experience nature through Henry David Thoreau’s eyes, but I didn’t get either. Not in the amount I wanted, and there is the problem. I wanted something from the book, not going in with open eyes and let the words wash over me. Bugar me.

I have three issues with the book. One is no fault of the writer, and the two are debatable. I start with the latter. The thoughts and ideas were scattered and presented in an almost incomprehensible babble. I think a round of revisions could have done good, but one has to remember Walking is formed from a lecture, thus it makes the scattered thoughts more understandable. I think my second point is also because of the lecture format. The book has contradictions, making the argumentation weak and incoherent which is a shame as the message itself is important. This gets me to my last point. What Walking is all about wasn’t new to me in a sense I already agreed with him. This robbed me the aha experience. This isn’t the fault of the writer.

I agree with him that walking and nature is important to our health. Both physically and mentally. Walking in the woods is a great place for self-reflection and place to learn as Henry David Thoreau wrote. There is something different and harmonious about going into nature compared to a social gathering. Yes, you will get from a party a stimulus coated with all sorts of excitement, but you also get discontent and rules and the rest which comes with society. But nature will make your mind rest and give you happiness as the recent studies have shown and as our dear philosopher knew with observation and understanding. I for one can testify that instantly I go into the woods my breathing gets easier, and I began to smile.

Thank you for reading!

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