Vagabond book reviews

Walden

by Henry David Thoreau

Walden cover

Breakups, along with the many other varieties of human misery, form a fat industry for publishers – witness The Breakup Repair Kit, Exorcising Your Ex, and I Used to Miss Him…but My Aim Is Improving, to name a few of the gazillion self-help books on the subject. While I won’t review or even skim these titles, I will take a quick dash out the short limb and state that they are all junk, because all you need for post-breakup coaching is found in this short volume from 1854, written by a man with a funny beard who tells us, “There is no remedy for love but to love more.” (Journal 1, 81)

Read this when you are up, when you are down, when you need or want to defy instruction, and when you can’t remember that feeling you had when you were a child, one of those particularly luminous days of youth when you woke and discovered something extraordinary. It’s still out there.

– CL

Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men’s lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me.

– page 1, Economy

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