Welcome back to the Monday Inspirations series for an inspiring post from Matt Steel.
Have you ever read a book that made you more awake and aware? A book that made you wiser, kinder, or more creative? That challenged the way you see the world and your role in it? In my life thus far, there have been several books that catalyzed various turning points. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, is near the top of that list, despite the fact that it took two attempts for the book to work its power in me.
Thoreau was a man of many facets and trades: A writer, transcendentalist philosopher, naturalist, abolitionist, surveyor, and historian, among others. In 1845, Thoreau built a small cabin on the shore of Walden Pond, near his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. He wanted to create a quiet place where he could write. But he also wished to withdraw from the noise of society and gain a clear view of it, live simply in the thick of nature, and, in his own words, “to suck all the marrow out of life.” He did not want to reach the end of his life only to find out that he “had not lived.”
Thoreau lived on the Pond for about two years. Walden is the account of his experiment and reflections during that time. First published in 1854, Walden is a heady mix of memoir, philosophy, satire, and nature writing. Although the book was initially met with small success, many later critics have praised it as an American classic that explores simplicity, harmony, and the savage beauty of nature.
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