Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thumbing Through Thoreau Book Review

Title: Thumbing Through Thoreau: A Book of Quotations By Henry David Thoreau

Authors: Kenny Luck
Illustrators: Jay Luke and Ren Adams
Publisher: Tribute Books
Published: April 19, 2010
ISBN: 978-0982256541

Summary: "On July 4, 1845, when Henry David Thoreau moved into his cabin on the shores of Walden Pond, he was probably unaware that his abode in the woods, and the impact and influence of that endeavor, would forever echo through time. Thoreau was an uncompromising idealist; an ardent maverick who criticized his fellow man. He urged that men and women ought to live more simply, and more deliberately. "The mass of men," he famously wrote, "lead lives of quite desperation." Yet the scope of Thoreau's message is much wider than social criticism. He speaks of spiritual transcendence in Nature and the unbounded potential of the individual. Thoreau is a dreamer and he speaks to dreamers. In a word, shun dogmatism and demagoguery; see beyond the immediate conventional religious explanations to reap a higher understanding. In our commodified contemporary American society, with the rise of religious intolerance and fundamentalism, materialism and mass consumerism, Thoreau's message is needed now more than ever. Author Kenny Luck has thumbed through Thoreau's voluminous journals, correspondences and other publications to make this the most comprehensive collection of Thoreau aphorisms available."

I love quotes. One of my favorite reference books is my Dictionary of Quotations. I love to find ones that match my mode or whose subject is of interest to me. I was thrilled to get the chance to review this book of quotes by Thoreau because, although he lived over 150 years ago, his quotes are timeless and many address issues still present in current society. If you have never read anything by Thoreau, I think you might be pleasantly surprised by his relevance.

Another amzing thing about this book is the illustrations. Both of the illustrators drew and painted all of the drawings included in the book. I received a review copy which was in black and white so one thing I am curious about is if the sketches are in color or black and white. Some look like they were done as pen and ink sketches but others could be anything.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes.

* "There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and the war, who yet in effect, do nothing to put an end to them."

* "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."

* "...not until we are lost do we begin to realize where we are..."

This is a great book and if kept as a true coffee table book, I bet would spark tons of interesting conversations. I highly recommend this book to everyone!


  1. Dear Allison,

    Thank you very much for your review. I'm glad that you enjoyed the book and for recommending it to your blog readers.

    Yes, the interior illustrations are all black and white. Thank you for bringing attention to them.

    Yes, you are right - Thoreau's quotes are as relevant today as they were during his lifetime.

    Best wishes,
    Tribute Books

  2. I love Thoreau so I will definitely be checking out this book.

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