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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 10 years, 9 months ago

25 October 2007 THOREAU AT WALDEN by John Porcellino from the writings of Henry David Thoreau; with an introduction by D.B. Johnson, Hyperion/The Center for Cartoon Studies, April 2008, ISBN: 1-4231-0038-7 (hardcover); 1-4231-0039-5 (paperback)


"That path is for your steps alone."

-- Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia, "Ripple"


"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."


"I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle and farming tools...for these are more easily acquired than got rid of."


"Shall we always study to obtain more of these things...and not sometimes to be content with less"


It is a lovely evening in Sebastopol to be reading and contemplating the words of Henry David Thoreau. There have been a few good rainy days over the past couple of weeks. Everything is suddenly sprouting -- even little weed seeds stuck on the sides of stones -- and one can easily recognize the increase in the height of the newly growing grass from a given morning to the same day's late afternoon. My osmanthus bush, at the bottom of the stairs outside, has in the past couple of days exploded in blossoms that once again send out the sweet, fragrant apricot scent that I fell in love with during that fall, long ago, when I first arrived here in Sebastopol.


It is a warm evening tonight and, with the windows open, the din of birds, bugs and frogs that lay mute just a few weeks ago in the dryness of late summer is providing a rich soundtrack of Mother Nature's fertile stirrings, a symphony of night music to accompany my reading of this inspiring little graphic novel.


THOREAU AT WALDEN succeeds quite beautifully in introducing readers to pearls of Henry David Thoreau through the incorporation of manageable passages of his writings into the graphic format.


"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad...and if I repent of one thing, it is likely to be my good behavior."


"I hear an irresistible voice..which invites me away from all that."


"And he saw the tree above him, and the stars

And the veins in the leaf

And the light, and the balance."

-- Graeme Edge/Ray Thomas "The Balance"


I had the good sense a few years ago, when ALA was in Boston, to take time to walk from Concord to Walden in the dead of winter and experience in solitude the environs where Henry David melded his observations of his surroundings, his compassion, and his examination of the human condition into a philosophy that has since, for generation after generation, inspired so many of us whose feet move to the beat of a different drummer.


It is not an easy path to follow -- it never has been with the pounding beat of commercialism everywhere we turn. (I'm seeing ads for a life insurance company and a cell phone service provider being projected onto my email browser screen as I write this.)


"It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves...how worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity."

"I went to the woods to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach -- and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."


For someone like me, who came of age in the Seventies reading the works of E.F. Schumacher and Amory Lovins, THOREAU AT WALDEN is a joy to behold, a lovely book to inspire a new generation to live deliberately.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com

Moderator, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/




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