Siv's Reviews > The Overstory

The Overstory by Richard Powers
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it was amazing
Read 2 times. Last read May 30, 2021.

"The best arguments in the world won't change a person's mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story."

Here's to hoping that this - not just good but - truly incredible story will change some minds. No wonder this book won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize! I've never read anything like it. At 500 pages and, according to Amazon, just over a pound in book weight, it's a hefty undertaking worth every minute of your reading time. It combines ecology with the stories of nine diverse and fascinating characters who each in their own way become intertwined with trees.

One of the things likely to stick with me: there is a word, pareidolia, that means "the adaptation that makes people see people in all things. The tendency to turn two knotholes and a gash into a face."


"...real joy consists of knowing that human wisdom counts less than the shimmer of beeches in a breeze. As certain as weather coming from the west, the things people know for sure will change. There is no knowing for a fact. The only dependable things are humility and looking."

"There are a hundred thousand species of love, separately invented, each more ingenious than the last, and every one of them keeps making things."

"What are we, to trees? She remembers the Buddha's words: A tree is a wondrous thing that shelters, feeds, and protects all living things. It even offers shade to the axmen who destroy it."

"It could be the eternal project of mankind, to learn what forests have figured out."

"This is not our world with trees in it. It's a world of trees, where humans have just arrived."

"...the word tree and the word truth come from the same root."
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Started Reading
May 30, 2021 – Shelved
May 30, 2021 – Finished Reading

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