April 4, Friday evening -- Reading Ursula K. Le Guin

On the right side of rush hour

Reading Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. He tried reading it when it first came out in 1968 and then tried it again about three years later but got bored. In the meantime he's read her other books, but is just now getting back to this one.

Ursula K. Le Guin just published a great article in the February issue of Harper's--here's a link to the beginning of it. I thought it was good. It's called Staying awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading. ...ironically, this is the problem this reader was having while reading Left Hand of Darkness!

He was stumped by my "favorite book" question, but said that he recommends The Chronicles of Amber, a fantasy series by Roger Zelazny.

His friend (girlfriend? wife?) who arrived while we were talking asked me if I knew about BookCrossing--she's found books (can't remember titles--she's got so many at home, she can't pick anything up) lying around in the Financial District where we were talking, on top of newspaper boxes, mail boxes, etc.

If you've read it, what did you think of Left Hand of Darkness? What were the laborious parts and what made it good?


Jen said...

well, like your reader, i didn't like ursula leguin's book(s) when i first read them. unlike your reader, i didn't quit halfway through, but i didn't pick them up again either. i plan to... someday. for now i have other things to read.

but i heartily second the reccommendation for zelazny. he's my favorite author and i think he's brilliant.

other books by him: lord of light (people say it's his best, i don't like it that much), a night in the lonesome october, and any short story collection.

Anonymous said...

Not familiar with her work. I will have to try a book one day.

ao.roamer said...

I have'nt read that book, but through the book name, it seems to be a horrible science fiction.Can you introduce it in brief.

Say Lee said...

That brings up an interesting question: what is reading a book? Cover to cover? Skimming? Heard or read about what others say about it? What about books that one has read but has completely forgotten about?

I find some answers to the above questions in Pierre Bayard's How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read, which I have just started reading.

And by his measures, which I concur, the reading habit is thriving. And your blog on bumping into many life examples of reading, taking it in the broadest sense as advocated by Bayard, is really a microcosm of the greater world out there.

Honour said...

i never forget about books, but must say i'm guilty of skimming books - realize i like it, then go back and actually read every page. the best books i find are those that draw you into each word from the very beginning, where you can't *bear* to miss a word.

thanks for dropping by my site sonya. I'm so impressed with your blog - it's one of my favorites!

Special K said...

Your post lead me to the whole article from Harper's, which I LOVED! I was inspired to write about it on my book blog too. I haven't read any of Le Guin's books, but I sure intend to now! Thanks!

Hilda said...

I love Le Guin! I don't think I've read any of her work that I found laborious. What I love most about her is she writes about people and squarely confronts us with our darker sides. This is especially true of her stories set in the worlds of the Ekumen.