I’ve been slowly making my way through Thoreau’s A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. By “slowly” I mean I still consider it as a book I am currently reading, though I hadn’t read a word of it in several weeks until this morning.
![A Week](/notes/2021/10/A Week.JPG)
So it is taking me months to get through Thoreau’s week- it started on “Saturday” and I’m in “Sunday” still. But to be fair to myself, I think it took Thoreau years to write through his week.
This all started from reading Desert Solitaire earlier this year, and realizing I loved nature writing but hadn’t read much of it. So, I borrowed this Library of America anthology American Earth from the library, and read the Thoreau selections, and then got sidetracked with the idea that I wanted to read more Thoreau before proceeding with the rest of that anthology. So Walden was the first obvious choice, but as I started investigating Thoreau’s bibliography I found that he had this other book he had published before Walden, the project he finished at Walden, filled with a mix of poetry and prose, about a river journey with his brother. The process and style of this appealed to me, and the narrative idea reminded me of Abbey’s account of his river journey through Glen Canyon, which was one of my favorite parts of Desert Solitaire. So, in my ever expanding reading goals, I decided I needed to read A Week before reading Walden, and then after Walden move on to the essays or directly to selections from Thoreau’s journals, because I am fascinated by journals.
Likewise I’ve made the selection of my reading text convoluted - I started by sourcing via archive.org what I think is a 1st Edition scan from the Boston Public Library, and I was reading that directly on my phone as a PDF. (Sometimes I just really like to read these scans of old editions of books - it makes me feel like I am in a rare book room of a library or have tons of money to own vintage editions myself, but I’m just on my phone.)
Then, wanting references and footnotes, I found that the city library had a Library of America edition and so borrowed that and read a bit from that, so as to figure out who he is quoting, or when he has inserted his own verse into the narrative. But I tend to read more readily on my phone these days, and so this tome fell by the wayside and I need to take it back soon.
Finally, yesterday while looking for something else[^1] I rediscovered Standard Ebooks, and found that they had an edition of A Week, and so I am giving that a go, though it has no footnotes. (They also have what looks to be a nice and, dare I say, thorough collection of Thoreau’s essays; and, of course, Walden.)
I might start contributing to Standard Ebooks at some point, if they will have me and if my desires sync up well enough with their priorities for next texts and their style guidelines. If not, I may just learn and steal their methods to make my own ebooks according to my preferences.
[^1]: De Quincey, via the term “dream fugue” that came into my mind as a possible description for the finale of Summer in the City of Roses, which I finished reading yesterday. But more on that in another post I need to write soon once I have fully processed that book.