I'm really attracted to the old Norse mythology, I really need to read about it. What I did read was The Overstory by Richard Powers and theme of the book was that trees are awesome. There were great characters that work to defend old growth Redwoods and the forests. I thought the book was a collection of short stories, but they were introductions to the characters, but then the main body of the book weaves them all together into interesting stories that have interesting insights.
I told my cousin, any book that references Aldo Leopold, John Muir and Thoreau is cool in my book.
Another mark of a good book is that I look up a lot of things. I kind of hoped that Dr. Patricia Westerford existed, but I read that she was modeled on Dr. Suzanne Simard. I wish she'd written the book in the novel, but it turns out that Peter Wohlleben wrote The Hidden Life of Trees, which is my next book to read. Turns out trees communicate with each other and do all sorts of amazing things:
Dr. Patricia Westerford says "We found that trees take care of each other. Collective science dismissed the idea. Outsiders discovered how seeds remember the seasons of their childhood and set buds accordingly. Outsiders discovered that trees sense the presence of other nearby life. That a tree learns to save water. That trees feed their young and synchronize their masts and bank resources and warn kin and send out signals to wasps to come and save them from attacks."
Turns out there are a ton of trees that are older than Jesus.
I suppose Buddhist fiction has a Buddhist theme or Buddhist characters that lead to Buddhist struggles, or oh heck, I don't know. But The Overstory has a leitmotif of Buddhism appreciation, and one of the characters allegedly gets enlightened. I think. I'm a bit skeptical because there's no mention of her meditating prior to meditating all night. The ancient literature has people becoming enlightened after a deep insight experience, like Bahiya of the Bark garment. He hears the words, "in the seen, only the seen, in the heard, only the heard..." and becomes enlightened. He was a spiritual seeker for a long time, though and was told that he didn't have it all and sought out the Buddha. He's also famous for dying when a crazed bull runs him over just after he got enlightened.
I found the character who studied the psychology of human blindness fascinating as well.
Fascinating book, best novel I've read in awhile.
Trees and the Sacred
Tāne Mahuta (New Zealand)
Lady Liberty (Florida)
Old Tjikko (Sweden)
Notable trees in NYC