[Busy with a bunch of book talks at the moment—on which more in a few weeks—so a series of brief posts highlighting great new books I’ve read this year. Add your own recent reads, whether new books or otherwise, for a crowd-sourced weekend reading list!]
I’ve written before in this space about my general preference for ambitious, messy, sprawling epics over tightly controlled, perfectly constructed gems. I certainly appreciate and often enjoy the latter, but would say that many of my favorite books fall into the former category. And this year has held true to form, as one of my favorite recent reads, Richard Powers’ The Overstory (2018), is an ambitious, messy, sprawling epic if ever there was one. Powers’s epic narrates the stories of nearly a dozen main characters and their families across multiple centuries of American history, all through a unifying narrative structure that adds one more hugely ambitious element to the mix: the lives and perspectives (to a degree—this isn’t epic fantasy) of trees. In so doing he also crafts one of the great environmental novels, as well as an impassioned example of climate change literature (or cli-fi, as it’s sometimes called). If that sounds like too much, well, we might have different literary tastes; but if it sounds appealing, I promise you won’t find a more inventive and compelling read.
Next recent read tomorrow,
PS. Thoughts on this book? Other recent reads you’d share?