(P)2006 Trout Lake Media
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
I rarely read books twice, but I already feel the need to come sit by the shores of this book again and again. Expansive and infinitely quotable, Walden is one of those books that shakes not just the ground you are standing on, but seems to shake the Sun as well. Certainly there are parts of this book that are unrealistic, a little bit crankish, and even a little too self-aware. However, it is also beautiful, magnificent, and compelling in Thoreau's desire to see man seek the greater, more compelling wilderness within.
With only 1 minute of the preview available and with a couple 1 star reviews I was a little hesitant to buy this version. But with the Summer Sale a book like this for under $5 was too tempting to resist. So I bought it and I am very glad I did.
Firstly I could not tell you if the narrator embodies Thoreau's nature or persona. Nor could anyone else for that matter. He died in 1862. It is silly to say what they were.
Furthermore, I don't hear the choppiness, blank verse type reading mentioned. Neither have I yet noticed any mispronunciations or repeats. That doesn't mean there aren't any, it just means that it is not riddled with them.
What I do hear is a very natural way of telling a story. For the first time listening to an audiobook I feel like I am in a room with the author who is telling me the story instead of line being read from a book. It is this conversational interpretation that makes this reading so intimate, so natural, so engaging. And isn't that the feeling one should get by listening to Walden? For me it works. Highly recommended.
Great, inspiring book, but the narration was rife with mispronunciations, which was pretty annoying.
I found the reading choppy, read as though the text were arranged in blank verse, such that the reader had to break the flow of the reading every so many syllables, regardless of whatever punctuation marks or grammatical context were provided by the author. There were also a couple of repetitions and a number of mispronunciations. All this did not stop me from enjoying the reading, it is such a great book.
The narration is simply terrible to say the very least!
The narrator pauses after every 5 or 6 words, when he should be flowing, producing a very choppy read; he mispronounces words; he re-reads in an attempt to correct himself and emphasises content at the wrong times.
I cannot comment objectively on the content itself, as the substandard narration is so overwhelming that everything else falls by the wayside.
I stopped halfway through as I just could not stand listening to more!!!
While Thoreau's writings fascinate me, the narrator in this case is a very poor match for the content. I simply can't get through the book because the narrators pensive pace, tone, and anxious inflection simply transforms what is meant to be peacefully, contemplative content into a delivery that does not complement Thoreau's nature/persona well at all.
I agree with everything Walden has to teach and enjoyed the narration (other reviewers did not). If you ever want to know how dull another person's mind is, literally stepping inside for the full journey, then this could be for you. The prose is refined in parts, but hard going which may be the reward in its self for listening.
I will listen again at a later date, but at this point 5 hrs in I'm stuck.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
This narrator just might be trying to sound like Thoreau himself back in those days. I would rather hear smooth, standard modern English. I am educated and grew up in California with some travel experience -- and I was saying, "Huh???" every few minutes in trying to listen to this. Then it became a game. Then I lost count. And I laid aside the notebook with the list, but it was a long list! I wanted to put the reading to CD's along with the text for my ESL student to follow. I could not do that with Alec Sand's reading. Sand has a way of chopping off Thoreau's long sentences into little chunks that sound sort of cute or backwoods. If this is his "take" on Thoreau, I don't like it. Sorry!
Thoreau's Walden ("Reading") and Ayn Rand's introduction to 25th anniversary edition of The Fountainhead summarize my library well.
"Walden" is a blog, and Emerson is the world's first blogger. No, really.
- Each chapter is essentially independent of other chapters.
- Some passages are difficult to get through because it seems the author has nothing better to do that write all evening about bean hoeing.
- The author writes as though his words are the world's most important work.
- Interlaced between the opining and hoeing are -true- works of beauty.
I always pictured Thoreau as a mild-mannered man. Perhaps he was--who is to say--but his written words are anything but mild-mannered. Walden is a biting critique of society's impact on man. While Sand's narration is atypical (perhaps he was indeed voice acting in a manner fit for 19th century New England), I believe the passion that Sand brings to the text is one that Thoreau would approve.
I would go from being bored of details in one instant to immediately enthralled by a powerful soliloquy the next. Certainly one of the most moving passages I've ever come across in my life was in Chapter 3 of Walden where Thoreau speaks his thoughts on the act of reading:
"The works of the great poets have never yet been read by mankind, for only great poets can read them. They have only been read as the multitude read the stars, at most astrologically, not astronomically. Most men have learned to read to serve a paltry convenience, as they have learned to cipher in order to keep accounts and not be cheated in trade; but of reading as a noble intellectual exercise they know little or nothing; yet this only is reading, in a high sense, not that which lulls us as a luxury and suffers the nobler faculties to sleep the while, but what we have to stand on tip-toe to read and devote our most alert and wakeful hours to.
I think that having learned our letters we should read the best that is in literature, and not be forever repeating our a-b-abs, and words of one syllable, in the fourth or fifth classes, sitting on the lowest and foremost form all our lives. Most men are satisfied if they read or hear read, and perchance have been convicted by the wisdom of one good book, the Bible, and for the rest of their lives vegetate and dissipate their faculties in what is called easy reading."
Stay astronomical, fellow reader.
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