Walden by Henry David Thoreau · Book review

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Walden is the sort of book you see referenced in popular media all the time. When the male lead in k-drama Hometown Cha-cha-cha was shown reading it (did not expect that!), I figured it was finally time for me to get around to it.

It's fairly readable for a book written in the 1850s but I wouldn't say it's a fun read. I can get through a book in a couple of days, usually, but this one took me 2 weeks to slowly meander through because I wasn't really motivated to come back to it.

Walden touches upon a lot of minimalist concepts. Thoreau decides to go and live in the woods, in a house he built himself, farms beans, and then writes about the experience and about all the different animals he encounters. Minimalism isn't anything revolutionary for a reader today but considering the book is well over 150 years old, he's basically the OG minimalist.

In the book he scoffs at a farmer who has to work hard, in order to afford the meat that he needs to eat to regain the energy he expended from working hard. Why not just not work at all, and then you don't need to afford meat? You can just live off beans! Poor dietary decisions aside, what irks me is that after 2 years Thoreau decides he's going to leave nature anyway. He probably went back to eating meat after that.

It was probably revolutionary for its time, and I don't hate the book. Maybe you can find it inspiring if you want to live off the grid like Thoreau. Or maybe you'll enjoy the way he writes about the pond by his house, or the wildlife. But personally I didn't enjoy it enough to recommend it to anyone else.

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