Words Are My Matter: Writing About Life and Books, 2000–2016

Small Beer. Oct. 2016. 352p. ISBN 9781618731340. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781618731210. LIT
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.].

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