27 August 2010

Book Review: Thumbing Through Thoreau

Thumbing Through Thoreau is a compilation of quotes put together by Kenny Luck and then illustrated by Jay Luke and Ren Adams. It is beautiful. Not for the images, which were wonderfully done, or the words, which are brilliant, but for its ability to make readers think. This was my first experience reading a book of quotations - at least cover-to-cover - and I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much is that I was reading an unbound review copy; put simply, I was reading a print-out of the book.  So I felt no guilt whatsoever about putting pen to page and annotating.

My annotations are not intellectual, well thought-out, or particularly well written; they are just the phrase or question that popped into my head while reading a quotation. Some examples:

Thoreau: The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
My note: Pink Floyd

Thoreau: If it were not for death and funerals, I think the institution of the church would stand no longer.
My  note: a definite possibility, except that humans seem to need greater meaning...perhaps we wouldn't without death.

Thoreau: Be not simply good; be good for something.
My note: The point where so many fall short.

Thoreau: It is only a reflecting mind that sees reflections.
My note: Why did Donnie Darko just pop into my head?

Thoreau: We are one virtue, one truth, one beauty.
My note: Sounds like a Black Eyed Peas song.

Thoreau: Love and lust are as far asunder as a flower-garden is from a brothel.
My note: YA lit would do well to learn this.

Thoreau: ...not till we are lost do we begin to realize where we are..
My note: sad but true; I found my vocation when I realized I had absolutely no idea what job to get and decided to teach part-time until I found one

About half-way through the book I had an idea: Wouldn't it be neat to pass this "book" along to others, let them annotate in it as well, and then get the book back? So that's what I did along with nine other bloggers:  Emily from The Alcove, Jill from Rhapsody in Books, Jill from Fizzy Thoughts, Christina from Reading Thru The Night, Stephanie from Laughing Stars, Heather from Age 30+...A Lifetime of Reading, Sheila from Book Journey, Care from Care's Online Book Club, and Trish from Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity.

I can't wait to see what these wonderful readers and bloggers add to the book, and whenever it comes back to me - which will probably be months from now - I hope to share it all with you!

Until then, go out and grab your own copy!


  1. Trisha - your review took my breath away. What an original and creative way to interpret the book. I can't put into words how much I enjoyed it. Thank you so much for passing it along to other bloggers, please keep me updated as to their responses. I can't wait to read the results of a terrific multi-blogger project you got started.

    Best wishes,
    Tribute Books

  2. I cannot wait to be a part of this. :)

  3. This is wonderful, because I get to really see how clever you are.

    Love the teenage wisdom needed.

    This is super cool.

  4. I actually snorted at the Black Eyed Peas reference :)

  5. Totally cool review! And I love your idea of passing it onto others. I'll look forward to seeing more posts as it makes the rounds.

  6. I think it will be so cool when the book gets back to you. You may not be able to read any of the original print! You'll have to share pictures.


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