SAM TORODE

All content © 2020 Sam Torode


On my father’s side, I’m a distant relation of Henry David Thoreau (Torode and Thoreau are alternate spellings of the same family name, originating on the Isle of Guernsey). My dad’s parents valued high culture; both played instruments in the Louisville Symphony and other orchestras. On my mother’s side, my ancestors were hardscrabble Texas farmers, Southern Baptist preachers, and old-time county musicians who played banjo, fiddle, and guitar. I see the mixture of these contrasting family heritages in my own life and work.


In college, I double-majored in Art and American Studies, and aspired to be a professional illustrator. After graduation, I worked as a graphic designer and contributed illustrations to several magazines and books, but as time went on I did less art and more writing. I developed a talent for digesting difficult books and expressing their ideas in simple language, which eventually led to paraphrasing the works of classic authors like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus.


My best-known work is my novel, The Dirty Parts of the Bible, which has been a top-50 overall Amazon Kindle bestseller on several occasions. It’s a mashup of two main inspirations: the ancient Jewish story of Tobias and Sarah (from the apocryphal “The Book of Tobit”) and my grandparents’ stories of growing up in Texas during the Great Depression.


All of my books are self-published and designed by myself. As an independent author, I’m free to follow my inclinations regardless of the publishing market. I haven’t written another novel because my interests shifted to nonfiction. I paraphrase classic works because rephrasing them in my words them helps me internalize their meaning, and I’m gratified that others have found them useful.


I don’t want cost to be an issue preventing anyone from reading my books. I’ve posted nine titles as free PDFs on this website, and intend to add more in the coming months.


My favorite of my books is Living from the Soul: The 7 Spiritual Principles of Ralph Waldo Emerson. It conveys the core insight of Emerson and other visionaries: We are all expressions of the universal, infinite soul. If we ground our identity in the soul and think, speak, and act from that center of awareness, our lives will flower. This is the message I want to spread in the world.


I also enjoy singing and songwriting. I’ve performed Frank Sinatra tribute shows around Nashville, and recorded an album in 2015. My music page includes the songs I’ve written, some inspired by the Sinatra songbook and others in a vintage country vein (again reflecting my two family heritages).