Book Club Returns with Last Child in the Woods

Last Child in the Woods by Richard LouvAs promised, the Park Remark book club has returned from its summer hiatus. I'm going to kick off the Fall season with a book I've been looking forward to reading for some time. The book is "Last Child in the Woods : Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder" and is written by San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Richard Louv. You are probably familiar with this book already. It has received quite a lot of press since its initial release last year. Louv has appeared on interviews with Good Morning America, Today, Fresh Air and Morning Edition telling folks about this book. In fact, it has received so much press that I may actually be the last ranger in the woods to read it. I've been putting it off though, because I've known that Louv will be a keynote speaker at a conference I'm attending in about a month, and wanted to have the book "fresh" in my mind when I hear him speak, AND, the book is also now out in paperback.

As quoted in the beginning of the book, the New York Times says "this book is an inch-thick caution against raising the fully automated child", and the Cincinnati Enquirer says it is "one of the most thought-provoking, well-written books I've read in recent memory. It rivals Rachel Carson's Silent Spring." Louv in this book is described as having directly linked the absence of nature in the lives of today's wired generation to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. As a new father, I'm pretty interested in reading what this book has to say. The book has already got me hooked. The page I'd describe as the 'preamble' I found to be quite intriguing:
There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover,
and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter,
and the mare's foal and the cow's calf, ...
- Walt Whitman



I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the
electrical outlets are.
- A Fourth-Grader in San Diego
Wow. Got your attention yet? Its got mine. So, how does this book club work, you may be wondering. My original intention was that the Park Remark book club would mimic an actual person-to-person club. The idea was that there would be one book a month that everyone would read, and at the end of the month we'd discuss. Well, in cyber-space that idea has been a little tough to manage. In the person-to-person clubs, there is a certain social obligation to read the book if you want to be able to get together with friends to discuss and not embarrass yourself. That sort of peer pressure doesn't exist here at Park Remark. So, instead, I'll just post an idea I've got for a book that I'll be reading over the course of the next month or so. And, if you've read that book (like this Last Child in the Woods) you can add your comments here, or save your comments until I post my review in about a month.