“In fact, it was the mainstream that ended up transformed.”
— The New Yorker
“Seamlessly blends subtle psychological horror with a mix of literary history, folklore, and SF.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
And tonight at six, poetry, poetry, and more poetry.
Words Are My Matter Publication Day & Interview Tue 18 Oct 2016
There is an interview with the excellent Ursula K. Le Guin by Bryan Hood in the Guardian today (I love all the recent photos of her here [and in The Nation], what joy there is there, what sharpness) in which, among all the other survey works recently published, Words Are My Matter gets a mention: Rounding […]
This Is the Week That Is! Wed 12 Oct 2016
It’s a great week for Ursula K. Le Guin and her readers. I’ve lifted this wholesale from Ursula’s website — which I recommend, of course, for poking around in and finding interesting things. Words Are My Matter is shipping out and catching fire: four books in one season is definitely the way to go: THIS […]
Ursula K. Le Guin in profile & ToC Thu 6 Oct 2016
There’s just under two weeks to go until the official publication date* of our forthcoming collection of Ursula K. Le Guin’s recent nonfiction, Words Are My Matter, and in the run-up to that and celebrating the recent Library of America collection, The Complete Orsinia, and the two huge collections of short fiction (one of which may be […]
October 18, 2016 · trade cloth · 352 pages · $24 · 9781618731340 | ebook · 9781618731210 · Edelweiss
Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016 with a Journal of a Writer’s Week is a bright and wide-ranging collection of essays, reviews, talks, and more from one of our best and most thoughtful writers.
“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom — poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality. . . .”
Words Are My Matter collects talks, essays, introductions to beloved books, and book reviews by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of our fore- most public literary intellectuals. Words Are My Matter is essential reading. It is a manual for investigating the depth and breadth of con- temporary fiction — and, through the lens of deep considerations of contemporary writing, a way of exploring the world we are all living in.
“We need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.” *
Le Guin is one of those authors and this is another of her moments. She has published more than sixty books ranging from fiction to nonfiction, children’s books to poetry, and has received many lifetime achievement awards including the Library of Congress Living Legends award. This year her publications include three survey collections: The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas; The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories; and The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena, Stories and Songs (Library of America).
* From “Freedom” A speech in acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
Reviews, Profiles, and Interviews
“Rounding out the quartet is Words Are My Matter, a collection of the writer’s recent nonfiction. Le Guin may not have written a novel since 2008’s Lavinia, but the always sharp, frequently funny, and unfailingly confident compilation of essays, lectures and book reviews show she hasn’t stopped working.”
The New Yorker: Julie Phillips, The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin
“In fact, it was the mainstream that ended up transformed. By breaking down the walls of genre, Le Guin handed new tools to twenty-first-century writers working in what Chabon calls the “borderlands,” the place where the fantastic enters literature.”
The Nation: Zoe Carpenter, Ursula K. Le Guin has Stopped Writing Fiction But We Need Her More Than Ever
“The collection articulates Le Guin’s belief in the social and political value of storytelling, as well as her fear that corporatization has made the publishing landscape increasingly inhospitable to risk-takers, to those who insist on other ways. This is a real problem, particularly if we can’t count on fresh water from the well of Le Guin’s imagination. In a year stalked by the long shadows of authoritarianism, ecological collapse, and perpetual war, her writing feels more urgent than ever.”
Washington Post: Michael Dirda, At 86 Ursula K. Le Guin Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves — Almost
“Spills over with insight, outrage and humor. In ‘Making Up Stories,’ Le Guin implores her audience not to ask where she gets her ideas: ‘I have managed to keep the address of the company where I buy my ideas a secret all these years, and I’m not about to let people in on it now.’ Of Dr. Zhivago, Le Guin confesses that ‘I now realize how much I learned about how to write a novel from [Boris] Pasternak: how you can leap across miles and years so long as you land in the right place; how accuracy of detail embodies emotion; how by leaving more out you can get more in.’”
Table of Contents
Talks, Essays, and Occasional Pieces
The Operating Instructions
What It Was Like
Genre: A Word Only a Frenchman Could Love
“Things Not Actually Present”
A Response, by Ansible, from Tau Ceti
The Beast in the Book
How to Read a Poem: “Gray Goose and Gander”
On David Hensel’s Submission to the Royal Academy of Art
On Serious Literature
Teasing Myself Out of Thought
Living in a Work of Art
Great Nature’s Second Course
What Women Know
Learning to Write Science Fiction from Virginia Woolf
The Death of the Book
Le Guin’s Hypothesis
Making Up Stories
Book Introductions and Notes on Writers
A Very Good American Novel: H. L. Davis’s Honey in the Horn
Philip K. Dick: The Man in the High Castle
Huxley’s Bad Trip
Stanislaw Lem: Solaris
George MacDonald: The Princess and the Goblin
The Wild Winds of Possibility: Vonda McIntyre’s Dreamsnake
Getting It Right: Charles L. McNichols’s Crazy Weather
On Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago
Examples of Dignity: Thoughts on the Work of José Saramago
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky: Roadside Picnic
Jack Vance: The Languages of Pao
H. G. Wells: The First Men in the Moon
H. G. Wells: The Time Machine
Margaret Atwood: Moral Disorder
Margaret Atwood: The Year of the Flood
Margaret Atwood: Stone Mattress
J. G. Ballard: Kingdom Come
Roberto Bolaño: Monsieur Pain
T. C. Boyle: When the Killing’s Done
Geraldine Brooks: People of the Book
Italo Calvino: The Complete Cosmicomics
Margaret Drabble: The Sea Lady
Carol Emshwiller: Ledoyt
Alan Garner: Boneland
Kent Haruf: Benediction
Kent Haruf: Our Souls at Night
Tove Jansson: The True Deceiver
Barbara Kingsolver: Flight Behavior
Chang-Rae Lee: On Such a Full Sea
Doris Lessing: The Cleft
Donna Leon: Suffer the Little Children
Yann Martel: The High Mountains of Portugal
China Miéville: Embassytown
China Miéville: Three Moments of an Explosion
David Mitchell: The Bone Clocks
Jan Morris: Hav
Julie Otsuka: The Buddha in the Attic
Salman Rushdie: The Enchantress of Florence
Salman Rushdie: Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights
José Saramago: Raised from the Ground
José Saramago: Skylight
Sylvia Townsend Warner: Dorset Stories
Jo Walton: Among Others
Jeanette Winterson: The Stone Gods
Stefan Zweig: The Post Office Girl
The Hope of Rabbits: A Journal of a Writer’s Week
“[W]hat she says of poetry—“Its primary job is simply to find the words that give it its right, true shape”—might well be said of all the shapely pieces in this generous, edifying, and invaluable collection.”
— Michael Cart, Booklist (starred review)
“This collection of writing about writing by multi-award-winning author Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore, among others) includes talks, essays, introductions, and book reviews. The reviews alone—covering such authors as Doris Lessing, Yann Martel, David Mitchell, Salman Rushdie, and Jeanette Winterson—make this a volume worth savoring, but the novelist’s essays concerning the future of literature are of special note. Le Guin’s dismissal of neo-luddite handwringing over the shift from page to screen, tempered against her dispassionate dissection of that same technology’s limitations and vulnerabilities, provide rational appraisal of the current state of publishing in general and suggest a meaningful path forward for all concerned. Le Guin’s literary prestige and popular appeal mean that this title will find a large audience; its relatively narrow focus (three separate survey collections of the author’s other short works have been or will be published this year) makes it a fast read. VERDICT Recommended for all libraries as well as fans of the author and literature about literature. [See “Editors’ Fall Picks,” LJ 9/1/16, p. 27.].—Jenny Brewer, Helen Hall Lib., League City, TX
— Library Journal
“Le Guin (The Real and the Unreal), an honored and prodigious fiction writer, will delight her many fans with these 67 selections of her recent nonfiction. The wide-ranging collection includes essays, lectures, introductions, and reviews, all informed by Le Guin’s erudition, offered without academic mystification, and written (or spoken) with an inviting grace. Herself a genre-defying writer most associated with science fiction and fantasy, Le Guin frequently challenges the restrictiveness of genre-based value judgments that relegate science fiction to a “literary ghetto.” Le Guin’s book speaks both to readers, in the succinct and lucid reviews and introductions, and to writers, as in “Making Up Stories,” in which she urges writers to be readers, and “The Hope of Rabbits,” her journal of a week at a writers’ retreat. Le Guin’s nominal topic is often a book, but her subjects are more complex, reaching deeply into the nexus of politics and language, women’s issues, the effects of technology, and books as commerce. In a resonating essay, “What Women Know,” Le Guin discusses the differences between stories told by men and women, remarking, “I think it’s worth thinking about.” That’s this collection in a nutshell: everywhere something to think about.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Collected nonfiction by the prolific, multiaward-winning writer.The author of novels (21), short stories (11 volumes), essays (four collections), children’s books (12), poetry (six volumes), and translations (four volumes), Le Guin (Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story, 2015, etc.) also writes book reviews and occasional essays, delivers talks, and contributes introductions to other writers’ works. These short pieces comprise a volume that, like many such miscellaneous collections, is uneven, but the few minor pieces are outweighed by several gems. Among the latter is an evocative memoir of the elegant, somewhat eccentric house in which the author grew up in California and where her family lived for 54 years, designed by the renowned architect Bernard Maybeck. The house was “remarkably beautiful, delightfully comfortable, and almost entirely practical.” Not completely, however, since it lacked stairs to the basement, and those to the upper floors ended in steps so narrow, furniture movers “met their doom.” Le Guin remembers the mellow, silken redwood of the interior, which imparted a special, pleasant fragrance. In another moving piece, the author recalls “what it was like to be twenty and pregnant in 1950,” before Roe vs. Wade, risking being expelled from college and choosing to have an abortion rather than bring a child into a bleak future. Many pieces reflect her commitment to craft, her belief in the endurance of the book as physical object, and her objections to the “false categorical value judgment” that elevates “literature” above genre—which would include much of Le Guin’s output of science fiction and children’s books. “Literature is the extant body of written art,” she writes. “All novels belong to it.” One excellent piece, not previously published, rails against “the masculine orientation of discussion of books and authors in the press.” In a review of Kent Haruf’s Benediction, Le Guin remarks on a character’s “humor so dry it’s almost ether.” That praise applies to Le Guin as well in a collection notable for its wit, unvarnished opinions, and passion.”
— Kirkus Reviews
Find it in the PNBA Holiday Catalog.
Reviews for the new edition of Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story
“A must-read for intermediate and advanced writers of fiction and memoir.” —Library Journal, STARRED
“A succinct, clear, and encouraging companion for aspiring writers.” —Kirkus Reviews
“It would be churlish to deny the benefits of this thoughtful, concise volume…In essence, Le Guin reveals the art of craft and the craft of art…this book is a star by which to set one’s course.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED
“There is no better spirit in all of American letters than that of Ursula Le Guin.” — Slate
“Le Guin is a writer of enormous intelligence and wit, a master storyteller with the humor and force of a Twain. She creates stories for everyone from New Yorker literati to the hardest audience, children. She remakes every genre she uses.” — Boston Globe
Praise for Ursula K. Le Guin:
“I read her nonstop growing up and read her still. What makes her so extraordinary for me is that her commitment to the consequences of our actions, of our all too human frailties, is unflinching and almost without precedent for a writer of such human optimism.”—Junot Diaz
“A lot of her work is about telling stories, and what it means to tell stories, and what stories look like. She’s been extremely influential on me in that area of what I, as a beginning writer, thought a story must look like, and the much more expansive view I have now of what a story can be and can do.”—Karen Joy Fowler
“She was and remains a central figure for me.”—Michael Chabon
Thursday, October 13, 7:30 p.m.
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St.
Portland, OR 97209
About the Author
Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received the Hugo, Nebula, Endeavor, Locus, Tiptree, Sturgeon, PEN-Malamud, and National Book Award and the Pushcart and Janet Heidinger Kafka prizes, among others.
In recent years she has received lifetime achievement awards from World Fantasy Awards, Los Angeles Times, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and Willamette Writers, as well as the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award and the Library of Congress Living Legends award. Le Guin was the recipient of the Association for Library Service to Children’s May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award and the Margaret Edwards Award.
Her recent publications include three survey collections: The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas; The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories; and The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena, Stories and Songs (Library of America) as well as a new collection of poetry, Late in the Day. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and her website is ursulakleguin.com.
More Books< Less Books
One day a few years from now you’ll be busy with something and these stories will come back to you.
Who wields the pen? A new novel from the award-winning author of A Stranger in Olondria.
“Beautiful, descriptive prose enriches tales of ghosts, loss, and regret in this leisurely collection.”— Publishers Weekly
“Rooted in Chabi’s voice, the story is spare, fierce, and rich.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“If you are ready for the experience of Prodigies, it is definitely ready for you.”
— Carmen Maria Machado, NPR
“In an era of bright, simple adaptations, Was is different—melancholy, beautiful, and yes, full of heartaches and nightmares.”
“Jama-Everett has a knack for braiding issues of spirituality and race throughout a compelling fantasy landscape.”— Leilani Clark, KQED
“A ravishing, profane, and bittersweet post-apocalyptic bildungsroman transcends genre into myth.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Sublimely lyrical Jacobeanesque dialect . . . readers who enjoy
symbolism and allusion will cherish Gilman’s use of diverse folkloric elements to create an unforgettable realm and ideology.” —Publishers Weekly
“Lightly flecked with fantasy and anchored in vividly detailed settings.” — Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
“Califa: riotous carnival world of soldiers, drunks and magick.”— Kirkus Reviews
Ben Jonson has written the part of a lifetime for the Prince of Wales: he will play Oberon, the King of Faerie. It’s only theater. What could go wrong?
It was morning and the power was not yet on. Zach and Renee lay in the heat of the bed listening to the city wake outside the building’s windows.
World Fantasy Award winner
“Glows with intelligence . . . though not for the faint of heart.”
—Booklist (starred review)
A young man has to choose who to love, who to leave in the 1926 General Strike in Britain.
“Waldrop is probably the single most remarkable writer I know of who non-genre readers remain largely unfamiliar with.”—William Gibson
“Howard Waldrop is the Studebaker Golden Hawk of genre fiction, a classic of structure and design. His unique stories autopsy the entrails of our eccentric past and reveal, often in oracular fashion, insanities to come.” — Lucius Shepard
“Combines humor and compassion in 17 short, intricate gems.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Loch Ness’s claims pale beside the super-exciting discovery made by Emma . . Expert mystification, the tender conscience and burning courage of the young, tantalising details, make this a compelling tall story.”
Elemental Logic: Book 1
Spectrum Award winner
Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award nominee
“DeNiro has already garnered a reputation as a genre-bending experimental author with an indescribably quirky but captivating prose style.”—Carl Hays, Booklist
“The most startling, original, and entertaining short story writer in science fiction today.”
—George R. R. Martin
Indies Choice finalist.
Locus Award finalist.
Los Angeles Times Best of the Year.