Public Books

bridgeRereading Walden.” Public Books, Nov 11 2014. Pete Seeger once said, “If there’s one thing worse than banning a song, that’s making it official.” One could say something similar about good books: the one thing worse than banning the book is making it required reading. Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, which chronicles the 19th century transcendentalist’s efforts to live a simple woodland life, has been spoken of so extensively in the past 160 years that it can be hard to see the actual book behind that wall of words.