Paula's Reviews > The Overstory

The Overstory by Richard Powers
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, literary-fiction, environment-nature, published-2018, booker-prize-nominee, e-book, read-in-2018, science, pulitzer-prize
Recommended to Paula by: Booker
Recommended for: Environmental enthusiasts

Shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2018, The Overstory is a brilliant and passionate book about humans and their relationship to trees and the natural environment.

The first half of the book is exceptional. Written like short stories, 9 characters are introduced separately with their tree story. Each story has an event that has happened to change the life of the character by the tree or trees that shaped them. The stories are phenomenal.

The second half of the book is about these same characters being drawn together to fight the cause of saving trees. Environmental activism is the center of this part of the book and it’s fight against logging companies who are destroying the American forests.

Richard Powers shows such compassion and enthusiasm throughout his book. However, I found the second half to be too long. Some editing would have gone a long way. His book is 500 pages long and not an easy one to get through. It is well researched and very thought provoking, however. A book that won’t leave the reader for a long time.

4 out of 5 stars
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Quotes Paula Liked

Richard Powers
“The best arguments in the world won't change a person's mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.”
Richard Powers, The Overstory

Richard Powers
“You can’t come back to something that is gone.”
Richard Powers, The Overstory


Reading Progress

September 20, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
September 20, 2018 – Shelved
September 21, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
September 21, 2018 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
September 21, 2018 – Shelved as: environment-nature
September 21, 2018 – Shelved as: published-2018
September 23, 2018 – Started Reading
September 23, 2018 – Shelved as: booker-prize-nominee
September 24, 2018 – Shelved as: e-book
October 11, 2018 –
70.0% "On page 883 of the Trunk - long book!
It might say 502 pages, but who can read that font...💕📚"
October 25, 2018 – Shelved as: read-in-2018
October 25, 2018 – Finished Reading
October 28, 2018 – Shelved as: science
April 17, 2019 – Shelved as: pulitzer-prize

Comments Showing 1-50 of 50 (50 new)

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message 1: by Sam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sam I really enjoyed The Overstory. Want to read more by Powers.


Paula Sam wrote: "I really enjoyed The Overstory. Want to read more by Powers."

Just read your review, Sam. Well done. This is my first Powers and will not be my last.


Beata Bought it several weeks ago and now I'm preparing myself for this book, Paula :) your 4 stars tell me a lot :)))


Paula Beata wrote: "Bought it several weeks ago and now I'm preparing myself for this book, Paula :) your 4 stars tell me a lot :)))"

Hope you enjoy it, Beata. A long book, but well worth reading.


message 5: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Fabulous review, Paula!


message 6: by Elyse (new) - added it

Elyse  Walters Fantastic review Paula -- I looked through this book yesterday when in Bookstore Santa Cruz --I had turned it down when the publisher offered me an advance copy --
I was tempted but I just didn't want to take on a thick book that I feared was going to require a lot of my attention --I'm so clear of the work you gave to this book -- and thank you for your review --your dedication -- as I do feel its important -- I was just lazy. You should be soo proud of yourself. I know the feeling I have when I have taken on 'challenging' demanding books --
and I love that you got value -and that the stories were "phenomenal" ....but hugs!!!! xoxo


Paula Meredith wrote: "Fabulous review, Paula!"

Thanks so much, Meredith!


Paula Elyse wrote: "Fantastic review Paula -- I looked through this book yesterday when in Bookstore Santa Cruz --I had turned it down when the publisher offered me an advance copy --
I was tempted but I just didn't ..."


Thanks, Elyse. It did take awhile to get through this book, but the stories were well worth it. Now to move on to another Booker nominee!

Have a wonderful weekend!


message 9: by Susanne (new)

Susanne  Strong Great review Paula!


Richard (on hiatus) I’ve heard so many good things about this book ........ I’m waiting until I have a chunk of quality reading time to do it justice :) Great review!


message 11: by Candi (new) - added it

Candi Terrific review, Paula! I'm very interested in reading this one :)


message 12: by JV (semi-hiatus) (new)

JV (semi-hiatus) Lovely review, Paula! Glad you liked this one.😊


message 13: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Terrific review Paula! :)


Paula Susanne wrote: "Great review Paula!"

Thank you, Susanne!


Paula Richard wrote: "I’ve heard so many good things about this book ........ I’m waiting until I have a chunk of quality reading time to do it justice :) Great review!"

Thank you, Richard. You are right about needing a chunk of quality time!


Paula Candi wrote: "Terrific review, Paula! I'm very interested in reading this one :)"

Thanks so much, Candi. I hope you get the opportunity to read the book!


Paula JV wrote: "Lovely review, Paula! Glad you liked this one.😊"

Thank you, JV!


Paula Sandra wrote: "Terrific review Paula! :)"

Thanks so much, Sandra!


message 19: by Julie (new)

Julie Good one, Paula!! This sounds good!! ❤


Paula Julie wrote: "Good one, Paula!! This sounds good!! ❤"

Thank you, Julie! A terrific book!


Katie Great review, Paula! Like the sound of this.


message 22: by Tammy (new)

Tammy This is helpful, Paula. Wonderful review!


message 23: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Great review, Paula! The length of this is off putting for me, just because I tend not to read longer novels, but maybe one day I’ll give it a try.


Dianne Terrific review, Paula! Felt much the same as you.


Paromjit Fabulous review, Paula xx


Paula Katie wrote: "Great review, Paula! Like the sound of this."

Thanks so much, Katie!


Paula Tammy wrote: "This is helpful, Paula. Wonderful review!"

Appreciate your kind words, Tammy!


Paula Michael wrote: "Great review, Paula! The length of this is off putting for me, just because I tend not to read longer novels, but maybe one day I’ll give it a try."

Thank you, Michael! It is tough to get through so many pages...


Paula Dianne wrote: "Terrific review, Paula! Felt much the same as you."

Thank you, Dianne! Great minds think alike!


Paula Paromjit wrote: "Fabulous review, Paula xx"

Thank you for your lovely comment, Paromjit!


message 31: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Great reivew, Paula!!


Paula Deanna wrote: "Great reivew, Paula!!"

Thanks for your kind words, Deanna!


Kathleen Definitely on my TBR list. Love your review.


Barbara Can't wait to read this, Paula.


Paula Kathleen wrote: "Definitely on my TBR list. Love your review."

Thank you, Kathleen! Glad you will be reading this book!


Paula Barbara wrote: "Can't wait to read this, Paula."

Wonderful, Barbara!


message 37: by JanB (new)

JanB Paula, I gained an appreciation for trees when I read Lab Girl. This sounds interesting, and perfect if it hadn’t gone on so long 😉 Great review!


Paula JanB wrote: "Paula, I gained an appreciation for trees when I read Lab Girl. This sounds interesting, and perfect if it hadn’t gone on so long 😉 Great review!"

Thank you, Jan! I have Lab Girl on audio and haven’t listened to it yet. I’ll have to make sure to do so soon!


message 39: by Wyndy (new) - added it

Wyndy This one is on my “soon” list. Excellent review.


Paula Wyndy wrote: "This one is on my “soon” list. Excellent review."

Thanks so much, Wyndy! I will look out for your review!


message 41: by Marc (new) - added it

Marc Thank you for the honest review. Your praise for the first half of the book convinced me to add it to my list!


Paula Marc wrote: "Thank you for the honest review. Your praise for the first half of the book convinced me to add it to my list!"

I am so glad , Marc. Please do read the book!


message 43: by Kimber (new)

Kimber Silver To combine short stories and a novella is an interesting concept. Excellent review, Paula!🌸 Despite the length, I'm glad that you enjoyed this read!


Paula Kimber wrote: "To combine short stories and a novella is an interesting concept. Excellent review, Paula!🌸 Despite the length, I'm glad that you enjoyed this read!"

Yes, an interesting concept for sure, Kimber, and a delightful read. After finishing the book, however, I am now making sure to look at how many pages are involved before diving into a new book!
And thank you, Kimber...you are always so kind...


Cheri Wonderful review, Paula, this is an epic book, and while normally I wouldn't have chosen to read a 500 page book in hardback form, it wouldn't be all that daunting, normally, on a kindle, for instance. But I think that even though I loved this, that it did get bogged down at points, which made it feel like a lot more. I think overall it redeemed itself, and I am happy to see your four stars for it. Personally, I enjoyed (hopefully I'll get this right) Peter Wohllebehn's 'The Hidden Life of Trees' more, even though it's non-fiction - if the topic interests you.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Truly a wonderful review of a book that seems to be not only different but well done even if it is 500 pages.


Paula Cheri wrote: "Wonderful review, Paula, this is an epic book, and while normally I wouldn't have chosen to read a 500 page book in hardback form, it wouldn't be all that daunting, normally, on a kindle, for insta..."

Thank you, Cheri. When I started the book on my Kindle I didn’t even know it was long. You have to go looking for the number of pages when borrowing from Overdrive which I now do! So glad you loved the book and thanks for mentioning The Hidden Life of Trees. I will have to take a look at that book!


Paula Marialyce wrote: "Truly a wonderful review of a book that seems to be not only different but well done even if it is 500 pages."

Thanks so much, Marialyce! Hope you get the opportunity to read it.


Joanne My thoughts exactly Paula! A brilliant read, but I found the last half-ish to be too long and somewhat dithering. Editing would definitely been a bonus 🤗 I’m new to Goodreads, so will look out for more of your reviews for guidance. Cheers


Paula Joanne wrote: "My thoughts exactly Paula! A brilliant read, but I found the last half-ish to be too long and somewhat dithering. Editing would definitely been a bonus 🤗 I’m new to Goodreads, so will look out for ..."

Thank you for your comment, Joanne. Agree with your statement that editing would have been a plus. Welcome to Goodreads!


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