Friday Reads: Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.    Blogs may be about new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 


This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of noted Massachusetts author, Henry David Thoreau.  In honor of his birthday, several Massachusetts organizations have banded together to create the Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read, a celebration lasting throughout the whole year in which every Massachusetts town is encouraged to offer an event “that brings community member together to read and contemplate a work by Thoreau.  This is the first Statewide Read in the commonwealth that will focus on one author. The Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read is part of a global celebration that highlights the continued relevance of Thoreau’s writings and philosophical contributions, even 200 years after his birth (July 12, 1817). His ideas about the significance of nature, civil disobedience, the power of individual action and deliberate living have influenced millions over the past two centuries.”1

Inspired by Thoreau’s custom of taking long walks in nature minutely observing plants and animals, this week, the Falmouth Public Library and the 300 Committee co-hosted a 3.5 mile nature walk around Long Pond in Falmouth lead by a member of the 300 Committee.  It was followed by a reading of Thoreau on Freedom and refreshments at the main library.  Walkers, and non-walkers who came for the reading portion, all enjoyed the opportunity to take a metaphorical walk in this great man’s shoes on the lovely first day of summer.

The Long Pond walk was so appreciated that there are some murmurings about possibly organizing another one in the fall at another time of the week so more people can come.  Keep your eye on our website or sign up for our newsletter to keep abreast of our programming.

On August 2, we are delighted to present a second Thoreau event with author, editor, book reviewer and contributor to publications, Geoff Wisner of the Boston Athenæum.  Wisner, who edited two new books, Thoreau’s Wildflowers (2016) and Thoreau’s Animals (2017), will discuss Thoreau’s spirituality and man’s connection to nature, drawing from Thoreau’s journals and other writings.

Until that time, if you would like to familiarize yourself with Henry David Thoreau, check out this list of selected titles we have at our library:

The Annotated Walden or Life in the Woods Together with Civil Disobedience

Cape Cod

Collected Essays and Poems


The Maine Woods

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

A Thoreau Gazetteer by Robert F. Stowell (a geographical guide to the writings of Thoreau)


1 “Lincoln Library Hosts Statewide Reading Event to Reflect on Thoreau” by Whitney Retallic, director of education for the Walden Woods Project, posted on Feb. 1, 2017 and viewed on June 22, 2017.





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