TIWMT Book Club Reminder

Try-It With-Me Tuesday, an interactive weekly time and place to foster connections that challenge and encourage the process to become a well-rounded person.

The first Try-It-With-Me Tuesday Book Club discussion happens next Tuesday, October 28th right here at tjhirst.com. We’re reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau.

I hope I don’t discourage you from trying it with me, but I am still trying to finish it in time. It’s harder than I thought it would be. My goal stretches me to settle down my busy schedule and make time to read it. Finding time to sit and read a book about a man who simplifies is ironic, isn’t it?

My copy is just about 300 pages, which isn’t that long, but modern writing conditions me to expect a fast-paced story and easy language that moves it along. Reading an older piece like this is causing me to slow down and think, which is difficult to do, but a worthwhile process I want to learn.

So far, I value what I’ve read and the questions I’m considering regarding how I live in our modern culture and material lifestyle. I’ll tell you all about it when I publish my review next week.

Are you trying it with me? If so, how are you doing? Anyone is welcome to read with us this week or discuss next Tuesday. Please come back and comment if you’ve ever read the book before; I’ll need to bounce some ideas around once I finish.

If you want to write a post, I want to publish your link so we can visit your website and see what you have to say. Please email me your permalink to tj (at) tjhirst (dot) com no later than Monday, October 27 at 12 a.m. (Central Time). If you don’t make that deadline, just leave the link in your comments on the Tuesday post.

Join by trying the challenges with me, commenting, linking, or suggesting a challenge. If you want to write a post on your blog about what happened when you took the challenge, I will publish your link. Just link to my website in your post and send me your link. Feel free to use the TIWMT image in your post.

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4 Comments

  1. Rachel
    Oct 21, 2008

    I’m having similar struggles with it. I usually have no trouble focusing on novels and such, but as much as I love historical things, non-novel historical writings are difficult for me. But I’m surviving!

  2. Rebecca
    Oct 21, 2008

    How funny. I’m having a hard time too! It certainly isn’t a quick read! It’s a lot to digest, but I’m loving it!

  3. Camille
    Oct 23, 2008

    I’m sure I won’t finish by Tuesday, but I’m working on it. I liked your suggestion of keeping notes in a journal as I read. Not very easy to do while nursing my little baby, but I do want to capture a few thoughts as I’m reading otherwise I won’t remember them. His is an interesting style of writing. Not what I’m used to, but I’m curious to keep going.

  4. Camille
    Oct 27, 2008

    After reading some of the beginning of Walden, contemplating the talk about simplifying our lives, and pondering my new phase of life with a new baby and three other little ones I decided to make a list of the things that are most important to me in my life, the most vital things that I focus on for my family’s welfare and my own. Really everything else takes a back seat. I was left with the following list. I made three categories My Spirtual Welfare, My Physical Welfare, and My Family’s Welfare. Each of these categories contain four top priority items. For example under My Physical Welfare I listed exercise, a nap, eat well, and drink water, all of which are absolutely necessary for me to be able to survive in this phase of life, having just had a baby four weeks ago. My Family’s Welfare includes love (which I also call attention, because that is exactly what a 2 year old, 4 year old, or 6 year old see as love, me spending time with them), feeding them well, teaching them gospel principles, and laundry. You may laugh about the last one, but isn’t clothing one of the basic needs Thoreau talked about? And believe me if I don’t take care of the clothing then what do they put on?! I had to laugh about Thoreau’s comments on patched pants. Right before I read that part my 6 year old had just gotten a hole in a pair of his school jeans. I couldn’t believe it, because we only bought them at the beginning of the school year and it’s only October. My husband said just like Thoreau, “It’s only a little hole. Who cares?” And I like Thoreau’s devil’s advocate, just looked shocked and said, “No way. He can’t wear those to school.” Yes, I know our society is way beyond Thoreau’s way of thinking with clothing. We are excessive, vain, and spend way too much money on clothing. But I tend to think of myself more towards Thoreau’s way of thinking, just not as extreme. No holes in public. It’s modest, it’s clean, it’s in good shape, then it should be passable. Right? But then maybe I am just as bad as the people he is mocking. I just went through my closet and pulled out quite a few items of clothing that I’ve been wearing too long, that I just felt frumpy in. I just felt like I needed something new. I’d love to start my wardrobe all over. Wouldn’t it be great to be on “What Not to Wear” and have them throw my clothes away and hand me a credit card to start all over? So maybe I am still a foot on either side. It’s the same with the Thoreau’s ideas of shelter. First of all I know that I couldn’t live in his 10 foot by 15 foot little shack. But the thought has crossed my mind of living like Laura Ingalls Wilder in a one or two room cabin, where everything is right there, cozy, close, and simple. You didn’t have a lot and you didn’t mind sharing a cup or bed with your sister. Maybe that’s why I’m always happy when Amvets or Goodwill calls, because I can go through our material things and simplify. Living in a townhouse where things do get crowded I am constantly wanting to get rid of things, donate clothes, toys, old dishes, books, furniture, etc. I can’t stand the clutter and crowding. So I understand Thoreau and his ways. I agree with him when he talks about the “immigrant tottering under a bundle which contained his all.” He says, “I have pitied him, not because that was his all, but because he had all that to carry. If I have got to drag my trap, I will take care that it be a light one.” I too would prefer to have less. I’m sure that we as a society buy more house than we need and we fill it up with more furniture and decorations than we need. I like his philosophy of decorating a house, that it “grows from within outward, out of the necessities and character of the indweller, who is the only builder, – out of some unconscious truthfulness, and nobleness, without ever a thought for the appearance;…”
    But don’t get me wrong. Don’t think that I’ve transcended this materialistic world. I’m not willing to give up my piano and bookshelves and rocking chair. And I would love to live in a single family home with more yard, a garage, more storage, and neighbors just a little farther away. I’d like to hope that I’m somewhere between the extremes, and trying to focus on what is most important – my family. If I can give them the necessities – shelter, clothing, and food and lots of love – and then cut out the excess then I think we’re on the right track. Thanks for the reminder, Thoreau!

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