the next good book

The Overstory

By Richard Powers


502 pages

Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post, Time, Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and Amazon Best Book of the Year


What’s it about?

This book is comprised of a series of interwoven stories.  Nine different characters appear throughout the book.  All of the stories center around the relationship between the character and the environment they live in.  The central role of trees in our lives is highlighted.

What did it make me think about?

Wow!  Who knew? Trees?

“In this way, acorn animism turns bit by bit into its offspring, botany. She becomes her father’s star and only pupil for the simple reason that she alone, of all the family, sees what he knows: plants are willful and crafty and after something, just like people. He tells her, on their drives, about all the oblique miracles that green can devise. People have no corner on curious behavior. Other creatures- bigger, slower, older, more durable- call the shots, make the weather, feed creation, and create the very air. “

Should I read it?

This book has sat on the top of my pile for a few years now. All my reader friends keep encouraging me to get to it- but it was so long and it was a story about trees…   I am happy to say I finally read it! After a month of reading purely entertaining stories this book was a much needed change. The stories in this book both informed me and moved me. While I may not be chaining myself to a tree in the forest anytime soon- I certainly have both appreciation for trees, and a disdain for clear-cutting. I learned so much by reading this book.  Richard Powers obviously wants to change our perspective- and with his talent as a writer he is persuasive. Isn’t that what a great story and storyteller can do? Change our point of view?

SO- pick this one up!  It is not just a story about trees. It is a story of people and how we relate to each other and the environment. It is a story of what the human brain is wired to see-  “ you can’t see what you don’t understand. But what you think you already understand, you’ll fail to notice.” It is a story about relationships.  It truly is one of the best books I have read in years. Don’t be put off that it is a 500 page book about trees!  That is a mistake you do not want to make.


“ The best arguments in the world won’t change a persons mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.”

Related books: