It’s amazing we’re already moving into the second half of spring! Life holed-up at home has made the time pass quickly, yet without seeming to. I used to dislike spring, but now I love it, especially reading outside on bright cloudy days or indoors to the sound of spring rain.

This week, I am listening to Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn, a readalong for the Early New England Literature book club on Goodreads. (They’re a delightful bunch of readers, if you’re looking for a group to join!) I also need to finish The Razor’s Edge by Maugham; I finished the first part a while back but then got sidetracked with Havel. I’m also unofficially rereading Fear and Trembling by Kierkegaard, following Matt’s series on YouTube.

For May, I’m planning to read (tentatively):

  • Thoreau’s Walden – This is another readalong with the New England group. I’ve been procrastinating on Walden forever, so it seems like a good time to stop procrastinating.
  • Five plays by Molière – I’m looking to get out of my comfort zone with this one! Fariba is hosting a group on Goodreads to read this French playwright. I tend to shy away from pre-1800s classics, so this will be an attempt to broaden my reading repertoire.
  • Books on totalitarianism – I know, what a dreary topic. But I just ordered some books on China and North Korea that look fascinating. I already started Xi Jinping: The Backlash and am liking it so far. It’s fresh off the printing press, mentioning such recent events as the Hong Kong protests…it’s kind of eerie, in a way. But good.
  • Dracula and/or Jane Eyre (rereads)

Have you read Walden, and if so, did you like it? I’ve heard such mixed reviews about it. I think I’ll either love it or loathe it!

15 thoughts on “May Reading Plans

  1. I’ve read Walden, and excerpts from Thoreau’s journal, “Says I to Myself”, both back in college. (For added effect, I read them sitting under a tree in the quad..) Henry has been a huge influence on my life — inspiring both my interest in simple living, and feeding my detachment from the state via his essay on civil disobedience. I eagerly anticipate your response to him — but be warned, it’s not all philosophy. He was literally keeping a log of his daily goings-on, so there’s a lot of mundane stuff in there, like the measurements of his cabin, the cost thereof, his daily upkeep, etc.

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  2. I’ve read Walden and I quite loved it. He makes us examine our way of living and asks us to step out of our comfort zone. He gets us asking questions like, do we live according to our own hearts and convictions or by society’s dictates, and how are we changed by our choices? I didn’t completely buy in but the reading experience was so valuable.

    You look like you’re accomplishing much more than I am. I’d love to re-read Jane Eyre … one of my favourites!

    Love your updates!

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    1. Oh, that sounds good. I think I’ll be in the right frame of mind for it. 🙂
      As far as accomplishing, I’m guessing I won’t finish Razor’s Edge before the library takes it back (ebook). I might just have to order, though; the first part was brilliant!

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  3. Walden is worth the read, especially today when cell phones, tablets, streaming services, Zoom, Webex and the like seem to have taken over our lives, preventing us from living more humbly and simplistically. My wife and me require(d) each of our children to read it as part of their home-school curriculum. For me, Walden’s main message is one of philosophy: if you live simply, you will become enlightened, and that people are basically good. Not exactly a biblical worldview – more of a transcendentalist’s yearning for spiritual truth through nature. Still, he was a great thinker and writer with fascinating ideas on religion, slavery, hypocrisy, and America’s thriving commercialism and industrialism. Have a nice day, and happy reading!

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    1. How interesting—I’m always curious what books people think ought to be required reading. For me (also homeschooled), the two books I remember being required were Night and Lord of the Flies. There may have been others, but I was a nerdy child and read nearly anything I could get my hands on. 😉

      I’m looking forward to the minimalist/simplicity theme. The internet really does become too pervasive without good habits and checks in place. I have been noticing it in my life lately, though it’s hard to avoid since most of my friends are long distance. Slower-form content like blogs and forums are easier to manage, in general.

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  4. i read most of Thoreau (i went thru a “period”) and blew 100$ on his complete diaries but i haven’t yet finished reading them…i recall his Cape Cod one the best… and his trip to Niagara Falls… and his experiences in Maine… oh: Week on the Merrimack River was excellent too: he did that with his brother who later drowned…

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    1. Ahh, I absolutely love old diaries, so I’ll keep that in mind if I end up liking Thoreau! Books are the one thing I will splurge on, occasionally. I have a three-volume set of Captain Cook’s journals that were rather expensive, but I don’t regret it a bit. Maybe I will have a niece or nephew to hand them down to someday (wishfully thinking they will enjoy the journals of Captain Cook 😆 ).

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  5. Walden was impressive, but I will admit to finding some of the day-to-day log stuff a bit dull. My edition also included Civil Disobedience, which I remember much more profoundly.

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    1. I’m really curious to read Civil Disobedience as well. It’s a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, given recent events.

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  6. I’m like you. I love reading in my little garden on a cool, cloudy day, or snuggled up in a blanker during a rainstorm. You belong to some nice read alongs. I wish I could make myself do that, but I’m too whimsical in my reading journey. I just pick up books randomly as the spirit hits me.

    I’m especially interested in seeing what sort of books you’re reading about totalitarianism. I have a few biographies on Lenin, Stalin and Hitler I hope to get through this year. If the spirit moves me, I should say. 🙂

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      1. my favorite translators are the Hongs. I’ve always found Walter Lowrie’s translations challenging. Alastair Hannay, the most recent translator of Kierkegaard, is very good too.

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