|Walden Pond by Andrew Douglass|
Isn't it funny how discovering a new book or author can have a knock-on effect? DD came back from university full of enthusiasm for a book she'd found in the library there. It was 'The Winter of Our Disconnect', which is the story of Susan Maushart's six-month project to live outside our increasingly "wired" existence. The copy I've just finished reading was published in 2006. That's only a few years ago, but it sometimes feels like ancient history. I suspect the use of mobiles and laptops (and now tablets) has grown exponentially since then.
Susan Maushart took some of her inspiration from Henry David Thoreau's two year, two month, two day stay at Walden near Concord in Massachusetts. He separated himself from the hurly-burly of 19th century life in order to get back to a life more in tune with nature. These days, The Maushart family would have been hard put to find anywhere beyond the reach of Bluetooth. Instead of moving to a cabin in the woods, they had a bonfire of the vanities - although for "bonfire" read "storage" and gave up all those little indulgences that have worked their way into our collective subconscious like strangler figs. Out went all the devices, and along with them Facebook, Skype and IM. I often wish I could get away from it all, but I'm not sure I could go cold turkey like that. Working online brings all the advantages of business life and commerce right into my Home Office. It's good to get back to writing on paper with a pencil sometimes, but I'd be lost without music to inspire me while I'm working!
|By Philip Halling|
Finishing 'The Winter of Our Disconnect' made me want to add Thoreau's Walden to my teetering TBR pile. But first I'll be revisiting the work of H.E. Bates, one of my favourite English writers. In his non-fiction and fiction work, Bates shares Thoreau's keen eye for detail and feeling for nature. You can find out more about the work of H.E.Bates here.
So a single book recommendation from DD has taken me around the woods and waters of Walden and then back home through the country lanes of England. Thoreau famously said: "An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day" and that's convinced me to drop my new habit of putting in the ear-buds when I go out for a run. I may not be able to give up technology completely, but it's a start!
An international journey courtesy of the written word, via reading on screen. That means it's all wrapped up in the technology that Thoreau shunned, and Maushart rejected, if only temporarily.
What's the longest period of time you've managed recently, without technology? And how many times a day does your hand stray to your phone?
You can read Christina's blog at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com and see a complete list of her published books at http://www.christinahollis.com