If I could only recommend one book to somebody, it would be this. A beautifully written account of 'Life in the Woods', and subsequent musings on a myriad of topics. Thoreau left behind the daily grind, built a log cabin, and the insights gained thereof are the sort of wisdom that this grumpy plastic bureaucracy we live in would do well to learn from.
On one page, a poetic description of the surrounding wildlife, on the next a scathing critique of materialism. I would never have expected that somebody could write beautifully about growing beans in a field, and indeed use it as a metaphor for life as a whole.
I can't help but think, if everybody read this book and took heed of it's message of simple living, we would all be happier for it.