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Books & Authors

The Bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau

This year marks the 200th birthday of Henry David Thoreau, the author of enduring classics such as, "Walden" and "Civil Disobedience". Although his actual birthday has passed (July 12), it is never too late to celebrate his legacy by reading a few of these titles.

Books By Thoreau

"Walden, or, Life in the Woods; and Civil Disobedience"

In 1845 Thoreau built himself a shanty in the woods by Walden Pond, where he lived from 1845-1847. "Walden" is a treatise on the subjects of self-sufficiency, individualism, relationship with nature, and rejection of material ambition. His residence at the pond was interrupted by a day's imprisonment for refusal to pay a poll tax to a government that supported the Mexican War. This action was in accord with his belief in passive resistance, a means of protest he explained in his essay "Civil Disobedience" (1849).


"The Green Thoreau: America’s First Environmentalist on Technology, Possessions, Livelihood and More"

Henry David Thoreau saw nature as teacher and companion, and many of his philosophies guide the contemporary environmental movement. In these pages, editor Carol Spenard LaRusso presents quotations by Thoreau on nature, technology, livelihood, living, possessions, time, diet and food, and aspiration. At turns passionate, funny and profound, this collection serves as a compelling introduction — or vivid reminder — of why Thoreau is one of America's iconoclastic greats.


"Wild Fruits: Thoreau’s Rediscovered Last Manuscript"

The final harvest of a great writer's last years, "Wild Fruits" presents Henry David Thoreau's sacramental vision of nature — a vision compelling in part because it grew out of an approach to the natural world at once scientific and mystical. The difficulties of Thoreau's handwriting, method of composition, notations and pagination have kept his final observations and meditations from publication until now; thanks to the assiduous efforts of Bradley Dean, this great work has been brought to light.


"Essays: A Fully Annotated Edition"

This new selection of Thoreau's essays traces his trajectory as a writer for the outlets of his day — the periodical press, newspapers and compendiums — and as a frequent presenter on the local lecture circuit. By arranging the writings chronologically, the volume re-creates the experience of Thoreau's readers as they followed his developing ideas over time.



"The Adventures of Henry Thoreau: A Young Man’s Unlikely Path to Walden Pond" by Michael Sims

Henry David Thoreau has long been an intellectual icon and folk hero. In this strikingly original profile, Michael Sims reveals how the bookish, quirky young man who kept quitting jobs evolved into the patron saint of environmentalism and nonviolent activism. Working from 19th-century letters and diaries by Thoreau's family, friends and students, Sims charts Henry's course from his time at Harvard through the years he spent living in a cabin beside Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. 


"Expect Great Things: The Life & Search of Henry David Thoreau" by Kevin T. Dann

To coincide with the bicentennial of Thoreau's birth in 2017, this biography by naturalist and historian Kevin Dann fills a gap in our understanding of one modern history's most important spiritual visionaries by capturing the fullar of Thoreau's life as a mystic, spiritual seeker and explorer in transcendental realms.



Similar Authors

"Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, My First Summer in the Sierra, the Mountains of California, Stickeen, Selected Essays" by John Muir

 John Muir became America's most eloquent spokesman for the mystery and majesty of the wilderness. A crucial figure in the creation of our national parks system and a far-seeing prophet of environmental awareness who founded the Sierra Club in 1892, he was also a master of natural description who evoked with unique power and intimacy the untrammeled landscapes of the American West. The Library of America's Nature Writings collects his most significant and best-loved works in a single volume, including: "The Story of My Boyhood and Youth", "My First Summer in the Sierra", "The Mountains of California" and "Stickeen". 

"At Home in the Woods: Living the Life of Thoreau Today" by Vena & Bradford Angier

Vena and Brad Angier were fed up with their city-bound existence and longtime readers and admirers of Thoreau, they set out to see if his discoveries were valid today. This is the account of two wilderness-loving tenderfeet, who headed for the tall timber on the banks of the Peace River, British Columbia. There near the trading post of Hudson Hope they found their Walden. How they made themselves "At Home in the Woods", stocked their cabin, met their interesting wilderness neighbors who helped them get settled and who saw them through their first winter makes honest and exciting reading.

"Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" by Annie Dillard

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Annie Dillard presents a series of connected essays that chronicle a year at Tinker Creek in Virginia's Blue Ridge valley. Observant, deeply contemplative, and beautifully written, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" challenges listeners to study their surroundings beyond their familiar surfaces and uncover new and refreshing milieus.

"Desert Solitaire"  by Edward Abbey (available as an e-book on Overdrive)

First published in 1968, "Desert Solitaire" is one of Edward Abbey's most critically acclaimed works and marks his first foray into the world of nonfiction writing. Written while Abbey was working as a ranger at Arches National Park outside of Moab, Utah, "Desert Solitaire" is a rare view of one man's quest to experience nature in its purest form.


"Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild" by Tom Montgomery Fate

A modern "Walden" — if Thoreau had had three kids and a minivan. "Cabin Fever" is a serious yet irreverent take on living in a cabin in the woods while also living within our high-tech, materialist culture. Tom Montgomery Fate turns Thoreau's immortal statement, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately" on its head with the phrase, "I got married and had children because I wished to live deliberately." Though he spends half his time at a cabin in the woods, the author issues no world-renouncing, back-to-nature paean. Fate, unlike Thoreau, balances his solitude with full engagement in family and civic life, and cultivates mindfulnesss in both worlds. Fate explores how to live "a more deliberate life" amid a high-tech material culture and invites readers to consider the possibility of enough in a culture of more.



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