Ursula K. Le Guin

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin is a collection of blogs Le Guin wrote between the years of 2010-2016. The collection is selected and introduced by Karen Jay Fowler.

Le Guin’s topics are wide-ranging and include the following: her lack of spare time; the benefits and challenges of aging; the nature of writing; letters from children; Homer; literary awards and the great American novel; feminism; thoughts on Utopia and dystopia; capitalism; anger; her discomfort with public appearances; and the ideal way of eating a soft-boiled egg. Le Guin also ventures into the animal world by delighting us with the antics of her cat, Pard; her eyeball encounter with a rattle snake; and her meditations on a lynx.

Le Guin expresses her opinions with unabashed candor, articulates her concerns with the direction the world around her has taken, and communicates the wonders she finds in seemingly mundane conversations and encounters. Her language is informal, conversational, and laced with the occasional acerbic witticism. Even though the tone conjures up an atmosphere of sitting around the kitchen table and chatting, Le Guin’s words are not to be dismissed lightly. This is not a simple jaunt into the mind of an octogenarian. Her voice is authentic; her words full of wisdom and insights that give you pause and make you think. She segues seamlessly from one topic to another, from the seemingly trivial to the very profound. Her encounter with a rattlesnake, for example, is transformed into a meditation on the sacred.

The collection is full of gems taking unexpected turns and laced with a wry sense of humor. Le Guin’s mind is active, sensitive, compassionate, graceful, and unflinchingly honest. She compels us to confront hard truths. She will be sorely missed.

Highly recommended.

AuthorTamara Agha-Jaffar
CategoriesBook Review