We like to get a running start on the fall semester by doing some reading over the summer.   With this in mind, we’ve picked a summer reading that we hope will get you into an Oregon frame of mind—considering both the physical and mental terrain of our hideaway in the wild west.

The summer book for 2021: 

Richard Powers, The Overstory, first published in 2018, now available in hardcover and paperback. 


The Overstory (winner of 2019 Pulitzer Prize for fiction) charts the entanglements of human lives with the trees around us, bringing together the perspectives of different characters and lifestyles, different levels of environmental advocacy, and even the nascent shifts brought by advancements in artificial intelligence.  The book dwells on recent scientific discoveries in how forests exhibit something like sentience and community, and suggests new connections with the human spirit and the different reasons one might choose to fight for what one loves.  It is a story about how small we can feel as individual human beings, and how we gather strength from connecting with the world around us and those who share our cares and concerns. Keep these themes in mind as you begin the book.

The Overstory  is a big book, over five hundred pages, and it is a joy to read. With that in mind, start the book soon and take your time with it.  Soon you’ll be leaving some of your own roots for the culture and natural beauty of the Northwest. You’ll be spending less time on social media, less time googling and more time wondering.  

You will need to pick up your own copy.  Don't procrastinate—it is a fun book to read, a pleasant diversion to how ever you are spending your summer.

You’ll pick up and pay for the rest of your books upon your arrival at the OE, but please bring The Overstory  with you to Oregon, since we will be discussing it during our first days together. 

Take notes. Write down on the top of a sheet of paper: “BIG IDEAS,” and then make a record of them from each chapter: key ideas you think the author is trying to get across and ideas that the author may only mention in passing but that make you pause and wonder.  You have to do some work to pull these ideas, concepts and philosophies from Powers’ story, but there is much there for the careful reader and considerate thinker. Don’t over do it.  Aim for 4-5 pages of notes.  Don’t summarize the story, just isolate big and interesting ideas. Write in the margins of your book, underline words and passages you think you might want to return to later.  As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.