Category Archives: Literature

Books We Loved in 2011

posted by Patricia Hohl

Here’s a list of the books we loved in 2011 in no particular order. If you would like to read any of them, please support your local library or your local bookstore.  Keep your business local!

Food Rules by Michael Pollan
No complicated or crazy diet rules here.  Continue reading

The wonderful Michael Pollan presents realistic and common sense rules to eat by for better health – yours, the environment’s, and the economy’s.

Bird on Fire: Lessons From the World’s Least Sustainable City by Andrew Ross
Ross examines the prospects for sustainability in Phoenix, one of this country’s fastest growing metropolitan regions figuring if we can’t change the game in Phoenix, the movement is in real trouble.

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook
Those of us in New England know the amazing taste of a summer tomato just off the vine. Vermont journalist Barry Estabrook traces the sad, tasteless life of the mass-produced tomato, from its chemical-saturated beginnings in south Florida to far-flung supermarkets. Yuk.

How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman
Straightforward recipes using fresh, natural ingredients and this anniversary edition reflects the many changes in the culinary landscape over the last decade.

Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life by Vivian Gornick
Gornick’s insightful and beautifully written portrait of a woman whose deeply held convictions and ideas about right and wrong, fairness and oppression stir her to action.  The historical moment depicted here is especially relevant today in light of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.  Ideology aside, Gornick makes clear why Emma Goldman remains an important figure.

My Green Manifesto and The Tarball Chronicles by David Gessner
Gessner is one of the most entertaining, irreverent, and important environmental writers of our time because his search for a new way of thinking about the environment and our connection to and responsibility for it constantly takes him – and his thinking – to new places.

Cabin by Lou Ureneck
Thoreau understood the human value of building a cabin in the woods.  So does Ureneck.  His beautiful, spare prose brings together his reflections on the complexity of family, the importance of place, and the perseverance and ultimate resilience of the human spirit.

Pilgrimage by Annie Leibovitz
Thoreau’s bed is the centerfold of this beautiful book of photographs and essays by the incomparable Annie Leibovitz.  What fascinates us about the places and objects – sparse or grand – inhabited and owned by those who come into our lives only through their art, or words, or thoughts? Leibovitz attempts to answer this during her own personal pilgrimage, photographing the places where some of her favorite people – those who shaped the culture -  lived and the objects they owned.  It’s an eclectic mix of characters from Thoreau, Emerson, Alcott, and Dickinson to Georgia O’Keefe, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Elvis Pressley.

Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War by Andrew Bacevich
Read anything and everything by Bacevich. He is one of the most important voices speaking out about the US role in global leadership and our unsustainable military vigilance.  Like the best writers and thinkers, he too asks for a new way of thinking about issues that directly and immediately affect our future.

And if you missed it, “Why Walden Matters Now” by Wen Stephenson is a MUST read: “Ah, Walden, you’re thinking, of course. Environmentalism. Thoreau. Walden Woods. Don Henley. Right on. Actually, wrong.” Stephenson is an important, emerging voice for anyone interested in environmental issues.  Or as he says, “this is about far more than environmentalism. It’s about humanity.” Read more.

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Civil War Commemorative

posted by Patricia Hohl

The Atlantic Monthly, which published several of Thoreau’s essays after his death in 1862, was founded in 1857 by a group of prominent New England writers and intellectuals, including Emerson and Longfellow. This month it marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with a special commemorative issue that includes some of the same articles people were reading as the war raged.  The issue also contains a contemporary essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates titled: “Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?”  There are also archival images from the National Portrait Gallery.  More information about the issue and how to get a copy is at: The

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Joanna Greenfield at Thoreau Farm

On Saturday, November 12th, Thoreau Farm Trust and The Thoreau Society present Joanna Greenfield, author of The Lion’s Eye: Seeing in the Wild. In stunningly evocative language, Greenfield depicts the beauty of the rainforest and the determination required to wait for one transcendent encounter in the wild. But even one of the most remote places in the world is not immune to terrifying man-made conflict. Greenfield and her team are robbed by poachers and harassed by soldiers. Eventually, it becomes too dangerous to continue her research, though she knows she may never be allowed to return. The Lion’s Eye is the true story of one woman’s burning mission to connect with animals–an adventure story and against-the-odds quest for a wilderness few of us have ever glimpsed.

For more details, go to our Events Page

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