Walden, or life in the woods

A couple of days ago I finished reading the “Walden”, a book by Henry D. Thoreau. Though it was published more than 150 years ago (in 1854), it is considered by many off-gridders as their bible and source of inspiration. When I first started reading about living off the grid, I found references to this book.

Obtaining the book in Poland is not easy. Of course, I could read the freely published english version, but I wanted to read the polish translation. I don’t feel comfortable reading stuff written in english so long time ago. And as I finished reading the polish translation I am sure it was a good choice — it would be really difficult to read the text. Why? — answer below.

To be honest, I don’t know why people are so delighted with this book. I really can’t tell why it is considered so inspiring to the people who want to live off-grid.

The book consists mainly of description of the nature Thoreau saw. He didn’t live off-grid, as by the time there was no grid at all (electricity was not common at that moment), so his life didn’t differ from the life of many other farmers, who worked on their soil with their own hands. Thoreau was living off the society, as he didn’t want to work for any other purpose than to have enough to exist. While I believe this idea to be great (I work to live, not live to work), I don’t think it is bound to the idea of living off the grid.

Reading paragraphs about nature was rather boring and tiring for me. I like to read substantial information about the subject, not the description of the author’s feelings when he compares the Walden pond to human life. I was very glad I finally got my hands on the polish translation, as reading all the stuff about nature in english would be difficult (I wouldn’t know the meaning of more than half of the words author used, I presume)…

Obtaining the book was very difficult as it was published in Poland some time ago and you can’t buy a new copy in a bookstore. I had to search the eBay (and it’s polish competitor Allegro.pl), only to find two used copies for over $30/€25 each! So finally I found a copy in a library in a place my mother lives, with her help I was able to read the book.

But to be honest — now, when I know what the book is about, I wouldn’t feel bad if I couldn’t read it at all. 😉

Did you read the “Walden”? What is you opinion about the book?





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