Books Non-Fiction

Upstream by Mary Oliver | Book Review

I forgot who or what influenced me to read this book but I’m so happy, and also lucky, that I picked it up. I have no expectations. I have no prior knowledge of Mary Oliver. But when I started reading the first few pages, I was captivated. Her writing is so delicate and beautiful. There were lots of moments where I needed to pause just to savor the words. Where I find myself smiling and taking a deep sigh. This book calms me and invigorates me at the same time.

There was just one section that is, I guess, too technical for me. I have little knowledge of poem structures so I got a little lost there. But the rest of the book gave me a lot of insights, made me appreciate and understand the beauty and roughness of nature, to explore it. She inspired me to love my energy and not lose my playfulness. It made me less alone and encourages me to befriend her, and others.

How could these makers of so many books that have given so much to my life—how could they possibly be strangers?

No one who loves dawn could be a stranger to me.

7:40 AM

This book also talked about creativity and it reminded me of one of my favorite books, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. I wonder if she derived some inspiration from Mary Oliver as well.

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.

She also speaks of getting lost, only to realize that it’s the right path all along.

If this was lost, let us all be lost always.

I love her. And this is not an exaggeration. I truly love her. I’ve never hugged a book before, but I found myself hugging her book and it felt very natural. *sigh* I hope to embody her affinity with nature. I will strive to be more serene and observant like her.


This book of essays is only 178 pages short but I read it over the course of almost 3 weeks. One thing about me and reading a good book is, if I read fast, it means I’m enjoying the book. But when I read extremely slow, it means I don’t want the book to end. And for this book it’s the latter.

I also think that this book came to me at a perfect time. I’d like to think that I am less stubborn now and less set in my ways. I am more open and relaxed which made the experience of reading this book more delightful.

How wonderful that the universe is beautiful in so many places and in so many ways. Its intonations are our best tonics, if we would take them. For the universe is full of radiant suggestion.


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