The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Book club read #1: Walden

Walden Pond

Walden coverI'm excited that so many of you are interested in a homesteading book club!  Walden won by a landslide, so we'll start with that and then decide on the next book if folks are still interested.

Since Walden is so easily accessible (for free download, free online with copious footnotes, or in book form at your library), I thought I'd just give you the rest of this week to rustle up the book, a week to read the first chapter (about 50 paperback pages), and then start the first round of discussion on April 30.  But please leave a comment if you think that's nuts and I can slow things down.

I haven't read any of the book yet, but I did poke around on the web to come up with some facts and ideas you might want to ponder as you embark on your literary adventure:

Keep in mind I just read a few websites to come up with that background information.  More literary folks should feel free to comment here and set us all straight.  For everyone else, don't forget to hunt down Walden and start reading!

Don't forget to preorder Weekend Homesteader, full of fun and easy projects to guide you gently onto the path to self-sufficiency.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Walden also is free on Kindle for ebook download to Kindles, PC's, or laptops.
Comment by Maggie Wed Apr 18 13:48:38 2012
Maggie --- Good point! The first free download link I gave includes formats for the kindle and nook, but it's quite possible Amazon's free version is better formatted.
Comment by anna Wed Apr 18 16:58:42 2012
That's so funny, I just started this in audio book format today! Was listening whilst on my way to pick up some lumber from a local sawmill to build a coop with. I'm in!
Comment by Dave V Wed Apr 18 21:26:49 2012

I don't meant to gush, but you just cemented yourselves as my FAVORIT BLOG on the whole, entire interweb. I've been feeling a bit worn down lately by working for the man or whatever, and the idea of picking up Walden again for another read just sounds totally refreshing. THANK YOU!

Comment by Paula B. Thu Apr 19 14:50:34 2012

Dave --- Perfect! Sounds like you'll be ahead the game and ready to lead the discussion. :-)

Pamela --- Aw, I'm so glad to hear that! Glad to have you in the book club!

Comment by anna Thu Apr 19 17:24:26 2012
This is going to be great. I started Walden about 4 months ago and LOVE IT! I read it at a pretty slow pace trying to digest and internalize all the material. I have been looking for someone to talk with about it but no one around me is interested in taking the time to read it. Look forward to the discussion and the insight from all involved.
Comment by Justus Thu Apr 19 18:52:57 2012

Justus --- Great! I'm glad I'm not the only one who needed a little nudge to make it through the book. I think Walden is a very good book to digest slowly --- you'll have a leg up on the rest of us!

Better go read my five pages for the night now. :-)

Comment by anna Thu Apr 19 18:58:45 2012
I just discovered your blog today, and am thrilled to see that I can participate in this. I have always wanted to read Walden, and now I have the chance! Thank you for the links. I never thought about looking for a free version of it!
Comment by Michelle Fri Apr 20 15:38:21 2012
Michelle --- Glad to have you on board! It does help to be reading a book that's available for free online.
Comment by anna Fri Apr 20 16:39:13 2012

I downloaded Walden to my Kindle before getting on a recent airplane flight, determined to delve into a classic that seemed close to my heart. My husband laughed when I gave up after reading four pages. I might try it again but may just need to stick with the old standbys like Koontz, King, Patterson, and all those other catchy, easy-read fictional novelists for my reading gluttony. :)

~ Mitsy

Comment by mountainstead [] Fri Apr 27 13:27:59 2012

Mitsy --- I would have given up after two pages if I didn't have the reading club to spur me on. That said, if you skim (or skip...) the first ten or twenty pages, Thoreau finally stops ranting and starts telling about his adventure, which is more interesting.

Which is not to say that I don't read five pages of Walden and then 50 pages of something more fun.... :-)

Comment by anna Fri Apr 27 13:46:34 2012
I have coincidentally picked up and started reading Walden on my own recently (I am about 3/4 done). It is a bit of a slog the first 50 pages but gets much more interesting. I'd love to join in the discussion if you guys have started already.
Comment by Chris Thu May 10 13:46:24 2012
You're not too late at all. You can join in the discussion on chapter 1 and chapter 2, then we'll be discussing chapters 3 and 4 on Monday. We're glad to have you on board!
Comment by anna Thu May 10 17:20:17 2012
I found the (free) audiobook version good for getting through the hard slog at the start. The narrator just keeps reading, and you're through it in no time! I actually listened to it twice, and picked up more the second time through.
Comment by Darren (Green Change) Fri May 18 03:24:17 2012
Darren --- An audio version does sound like a good way to wade through the more boring parts. :-) No way am I going to read that first chapter twice!
Comment by anna Fri May 18 19:55:05 2012

I admit that my eyes glazed over in a few places, but I was amazed that after more than 150 years, his writing is still so relevant. I love his observations about his daily life and his commitment to let nature continue around him, and his determination to be mindful of his daily decisions and their impact on others (people, animals, or trees with equal importance).

I will only chime in occasionally because I already finished (audio) and can't easily comment chapter by chapter. I actually listened to it all twice because there were so many things I wanted to reflect on that I ended up missing parts!

Thanks, Anna!

Comment by Debbie Wed May 23 19:16:50 2012
Debbi --- Glad to have you chiming in whenever you want. I don't think you'll give us any spoilers. :-)
Comment by anna Thu May 24 07:20:45 2012

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