Review: Thumbing Through Thoreau

Thumbing Through Thoreau: A Book of Quotations by Henry David Thoreau
Kenny Luck
Illustrators: Jay Luke and Ren Adams

Tribute Books
April 19, 2010
Hardcover, 320 pages, $24.95

Also available in Kindle edition at and ebook formats at Smashwords

Quotations with original illustrations

I received a PDF review copy, which I converted and read on my Kindle (the original model that does not read PDF). The presentation was unappealing and often difficult to read, which I correctly assumed was a result of the conversion. I haven’t seen what the official Kindle edition looks like, though my suspicion is that it isn’t very effective. As much as I am a fan of reading on a handheld reader, with a book that is so dependent on layout, PDF is the only ebook format that retains the original layout.

After I read the book on Kindle, I went back and reviewed the PDF version. The layout of the PDF (and, I’m confident, the print book) is beautiful. Each quotation is enhanced by an evocative black and white illustration. The quotations themselves are artistically laid out—individual words in different font sizes and colors (from shades of gray to black). The effect is stunning, but not easy to read.

For a fan of Thoreau, this is an excellent collection of quotes. Author Kenny Luck is such a devoted fan, some might call him obsessed with Thoreau. Although many of the quotes resonated with me, I’m not enamored of all of Thoreau’s words.

I have not seen the hardcover edition of the book, but I expect that it makes a wonderful coffee-table book. Rather than reading from beginning to end as I did, it seems to me the ideal way to read this book would be to pick it up and relish a few pages of art and aphorisms at a time, then wait a little while for the next treat.

Disclosure: I received an electronic copy of the book from the publisher. I have not accepted any compensation for this review and made no commitment to give a favorable review. The links to and Smashwords are affiliate links.

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