In the High Peaks

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Classics Club: Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

Late September through mid-October is the most frantic time of year. Autumn is so brief here! The brilliant fall foliage is upon us, mushrooms are bursting after the recent heavy rains, and enormous inner conflicts emerge when indoor business clamors for our attention as well.

For my Classics Club, I am currently reading several Henry David Thoreau selections. The first is a shorter one, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, a trip that Thoreau experienced with his brother in 1839. The Concord River is in Massachusetts, near Concord flowing northward to meet the Merrimack, which then flows into southern New Hampshire.

Thoreau mixed his philosophical ideas with his nature writing, in some works more than others. I also hope to read several other of his books, but have not been able to narrow down which I'd like to focus on after the Concord and Merrimack. I'm gravitating toward his tome about his ventures in the Maine Woods, because the wilderness in Maine resembles the wilderness in the Adirondacks in several respects, although the Adks can claim the harshest winter weather.

I'll provide a link to the Thoreau Society. What a website and well worth a visit! There is so much information available on this site. Ken and I have canoed the Concord River back when we were living in Massachusetts, so this read is especially fascinating to me. I wish I had an annotated copy by someone who was knowledgeable about the local history and geography in Thoreau's day. I actually wrote to the Thoreau Society reference librarians to ask for information about this.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Dead Souls Finis! My Post to Follow

Peak fall foliage season and perfect weather has been keeping me outdoors all day long. Hiking, tennis, hiking! I will be posting about Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls in the next couple of days. (I hear there's rain in the forecast on Tuesday. Maybe I'll have a few extra minutes.) I read along with Katrina of Pining for the West and please don't miss her excellent post and summation about this Russian classic.

As I've discussed, I'm in the process of getting lined up for the Classics Club. Before I post my list, though, I'll probably already be reading several of Henry David Thoreau's classic writings for the Classics Club. His memoirs and thoughts about hiking in Maine, for one. I will keep you posted. It's the right time of year for reading a nature writer, because I feel especially close to the wilderness right now. I haven't read Walden since I was eighteen. I remember it so vividly that I'm not sure I'll be reading that title, but The Maine Woods, I'll definitely be reading.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Coming Soon to My Door--Classics Club

After years of reading about other bloggers' adventures with Classics Club, I find that I am now summoning a list of 50 titles, which I am fairly certain I won't be able to finish reading within five years. But who knows? Onward!

I'm making the list not only from my memory of classics unread, but also with the help of Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia. My older brother gave me the first edition of this encyclopedia for my college graduation back in 1975, I believe. What a great gift for a reader!

Then I picked up a paperback Third Edition at a book sale about seven years ago. And finally, I bought the Fifth Edition with my birthday money at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, about four years ago. I love the Fifth Edition, because of its expansive inclusion of World Lit titles.

I am also consulting the Oxford Companion to English Literature and the Reader's Companion to American Literature. The Benet's covers World Literature, but I will also consider other reference lists for World Lit titles. It will be very much a Classics List from my point of view, as I know it is for most people who participate.

At the moment, I'm in the midst of my first Classics Club title. I'm reading the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls. I'm almost halfway through, but I don't feel I can say a word about it yet. Just where is Gogol going? That is the question. And most important of all, I am reading the book with Katrina of Pining for the West, who has the book on her Classics Club List.

I will post my first 25 titles in the next few weeks. Although it's fun, it takes time and effort to pull together a list of 50 that I'm eager to read.