No Time to Spare
From acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin, and with an introduction by Karen Joy Fowler, a collection of thoughts—always adroit, often acerbic—on aging, belief, the state of literature, and the state of the nation. Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Now she’s in the last great frontier of life, old age, and exploring new literary territory: the blog, a forum where her voice—sharp, witty, as compassionate as it is critical—shines. No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s blog, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her wonder at it.   On the absurdity of denying your age, she says, “If I’m ninety and believe I’m forty-five, I’m headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub.” On cultural perceptions of fantasy: “The direction of escape is toward freedom. So what is ‘escapism’ an accusation of?” On her new cat: “He still won’t sit on a lap…I don’t know if he ever will. He just doesn’t accept the lap hypothesis.” On breakfast: “Eating an egg from the shell takes not only practice, but resolution, even courage, possibly willingness to commit crime.” And on all that is unknown, all that we discover as we muddle through life: “How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us.” 

No Time to Spare Details

TitleNo Time to Spare
Author
ReleaseDec 5th, 2017
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139781328661593
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Essays, Autobiography, Memoir, Philosophy, Feminism, Books About Books

No Time to Spare Review

  • Carol.
    January 1, 1970
    Ursula Le Guin is one of my heroes, in as much as I have them. Which is, to say, hardly at all, but her writing has often astounded me, literally impacting how I perceived the world. When I was a teen, The Left Hand of Darkness did more to challenge my conception of gender identity than anything I would read or hear for years. However, her writing has also felt somewhat laborious to me, so when I saw this book of blog-style posts, I leapt at the chance to read it (figuratively, naturally. You th Ursula Le Guin is one of my heroes, in as much as I have them. Which is, to say, hardly at all, but her writing has often astounded me, literally impacting how I perceived the world. When I was a teen, The Left Hand of Darkness did more to challenge my conception of gender identity than anything I would read or hear for years. However, her writing has also felt somewhat laborious to me, so when I saw this book of blog-style posts, I leapt at the chance to read it (figuratively, naturally. You think I leap at my age? What am I, a frog?) At any rate, I absolutely loved her in short-form, her words seemingly a little less crafted than her novels, sounding more like her voice, talking about everyday things--"The point of a soft-boiled egg is the difficulty of eating it, the attention it requires, the ceremony"--writerly things and general opinion pieces.It's really, really good. The book comes with an introduction by Karen Joy Fowler and a note from Le Guin about her purpose and the informality of the writing. 'Part One: Going Over Eighty' is one of my favorite sections. 'Part Two: The Lit Biz' is in theory about literary stuff and contains some insight into the life of the writer --readers' questions and awards--as well as discussion on things like ubiquitousness of swearing, and narration. 'Part Three: Trying to Make Sense' of it is the most topical section. It was interesting, but not as favorite. 'Part Four: Rewards' shines, with writing beautiful enough, polished enough to remind me why she's a master. Parts One, Two and Three are all followed by 'The Annals of Pard,' brief pieces about her latest cat. I have a ridiculous amount of highlights, my Kindle equivalent of 'mm-hmm' affirmations.The posts on aging are excellent and I probably could have just highlighted the entire piece of 'The Diminished Thing.' It does not sound as if aging has come easily, and I appreciate that she is both honest and old in claiming it. "Old age isn't a state of mind. It's an existential situation." How beautifully she negates the 'you are only as old as you think you are' mouthings!I admire how she somewhat irascibly shares what she perceives as her failings. I love that she calls out the new generations of almost-memoirs with a writerly note on genres, and then gracefully turns it into a discussion of Delores, her 'hired help' who was so important to her ('Someone Named Delores'). I was fascinated by the entries on Pard, the latest cat, and his periodic skirmishes with mice. I think she summarized the entire problem with modern politics in three sentences (from 'The Diminished Thing' in Aging, no less):"This is morally problematic when personal decision is confused with personal opinion. A decision worth the name is based on observation, factual information, intellectual and ethical judgment. Opinion--that darling of the press, the politician, and the poll--may be based on no information at all."There's an interesting piece on what fantasy is that affirms why I've read so much in the field. My favorite highlight: "It doesn't have to be the way it is. That is what fantasy says... Yet it is a subversive statement." Can we please remind those who are nostalgic for the sprawling epic fantasies of the 80s and 90s or the pulp fantasy of the 50s and 60s that we can do more?Part Three definitely spoke to me, with parts of it echoing my own hopelessness. From 'Lying it All Away:' "It appears that we've given up on the long-range view. That we've decided not to think about consequences--about cause and effect. Maybe that's why I feel that I live in exile. I used to live in a country that had a future."It makes me wish for a coffee conversation, time to dive in and chew at these ideas. I wished I knew even more about her life, because I sense a kindred spirit, an introvert who communicates best through words, who appears transparent about ideas but extremely private about details of real life. The closing piece, is so crafted and beautiful it makes me tear. From 'Notes From a Week at a Ranch in the Oregon High Desert':"Hundreds of blackbirds gathered in the pastures south of the house, vanishing completely in the tall grass, then rising out of it in ripples and billows, or streaming and streaming up into a single tree up under the ridge till its lower branches were blacker with birds than green with leaves, then flowing down away from it into the reeds and out across the air in a single, flickering, particulate wave. What is entity?"Many, many thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the advance reader copy. Quotes may change in final publication but are included to give a sense of the excellent writing.
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  • Tomislav
    January 1, 1970
    I received a kindle format version of this book at no cost, in return for promising to write an honest review. I am a long-time fan of Ursula LeGuin’s writing – especially the books of the Hainish Cycle, so was actually quite pleased to have this opportunity to read and comment on the book shortly before publication.In the spirit of “no time to spare.” I will offer this quick overview of my thoughts. This is a compilation of entries from Ursula LeGuin’s blog, posted during the years of 2010 thro I received a kindle format version of this book at no cost, in return for promising to write an honest review. I am a long-time fan of Ursula LeGuin’s writing – especially the books of the Hainish Cycle, so was actually quite pleased to have this opportunity to read and comment on the book shortly before publication.In the spirit of “no time to spare.” I will offer this quick overview of my thoughts. This is a compilation of entries from Ursula LeGuin’s blog, posted during the years of 2010 through 2016. Reordered topically, they are short pieces dealing mostly with becoming old, gender, writing, philosophy, and nature – and with interstitial sections about her cat. I found the sections on the cat to be mundane, while the majority of the others were insightful and thought-provoking but fragmented.Before going into it a little more, I should reveal some things about myself, as that has shaped how I respond to her work. In spite of my name, Tomislav, I am American born and grew up in the Midwest. I am a 62-year old recently retired biomedical engineer, take a secular view of my own existence, but am married to a Unitarian Universalist parish minister. Ursula LeGuin is of my parents’ generation; in fact she was 18 months old when my father was born. So, while her generational outlook is not mine, I think of my parents, and then I do understand.Generally, I don’t take the time to read blogs. I really only wish to spend that kind of attention on the people who matter to me most – my family. Blogs are mostly disorganized, arbitrary, and indeed sometimes not well thought through. Ursula LeGuin’s career has shown her to have a visionary perspective, and important ideas to relate, but I find the finished product of a novel or story to be a more satisfying form in which to digest them. I started reading her work about 45 years ago, and upon periodic re-reading have found sometimes different meanings in the same pieces. However, as LeGuin observes in one of the included blog posts, with aging comes even less time to do things other than what has to be done. So, at this book, we have her perspective and ideas in a more raw state. But that is interesting to me. I’m in early and active retirement now, but my near future will be the lifestyle of my parents and of LeGuin, I should be so lucky.Feminism – LeGuin sees gender and the male/female power imbalance in everything, more than I do. For example, I do not think the word “American” is implicitly male. I have lived most of my lifetime in an era of an articulated feminism, and at some point, some of the shift has become internalized. Not that equity is here, but I think for my parents’ generation even the basic tenets of feminism will always be a forced stance. Writing – LeGuin loves words. She analyzes meanings. Me, I just use them – but I appreciate being shown more about what is implied by word choice. LeGuin loves story. She sees story as not just a series of interesting events, but reflective of prior story and culture. I think her understanding of existence is to be alive in a universe of interwoven stories. While for me, math and physical science are more fundamental. So, when someone like me reads her recent novel Lavinia, not having previously read The Iliad or The Aeneid, in fact barely being familiar with them, it is an excursion into another universe and another way of thinking. Her blog entry “Papa H” reveals some of her thoughts on our archetypal stories, and shores up my understanding.Nature – LeGuin has a philosophical love of nature, and of the tension between acting on it versus perceiving and entering into relation with it. However, as a person of words, she conveys nature through words. Personally, I find words to be a low bandwidth (allow me to say) way to appreciate what is essentially experiential. I am a bicyclist, kayaker, snowshoer, backpacker, and observer of nature, and her blog entries read to me like a note-to-self, “remember this in its full depth later”. It doesn’t work so well for outside readers though. It was both wonderful and sad for me to read this book, wishing for more, but gratefully receiving it.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    I expected essays picking up this book, but instead I got a series of random blog posts (or as I liked to call them by the end, "Ursula chats") where she talks about anything from being old, to her new cat, to writing and reading, the great American novel, shopping and so on. It feels rather random, the selection of those posts and also the things she writes about are so odd, but that is exactly why I found this book so utterly charming. It was like meeting up with Ursula and having chats. Over I expected essays picking up this book, but instead I got a series of random blog posts (or as I liked to call them by the end, "Ursula chats") where she talks about anything from being old, to her new cat, to writing and reading, the great American novel, shopping and so on. It feels rather random, the selection of those posts and also the things she writes about are so odd, but that is exactly why I found this book so utterly charming. It was like meeting up with Ursula and having chats. Over coffee. Stroking her cat while she tells you what's on her mind and I answered back while reading it. Disagreeing or agreeing but thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. Adored it.
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    No Time to Spare is an odd gossipy book. As we expect from Le Guin it’s well written. It’s a mishmash of information based on her personal and writing life. She discusses the fan mail she receives and the awards she’s won. She also touches on current and paste pets and everyday life with her family. I believe she’s in her eighties so she has lots of wisdom to share. Just don’t expect her usual fast paced fiction. This book goes along at a slower though more revealing in some ways pace.Thank you No Time to Spare is an odd gossipy book. As we expect from Le Guin it’s well written. It’s a mishmash of information based on her personal and writing life. She discusses the fan mail she receives and the awards she’s won. She also touches on current and paste pets and everyday life with her family. I believe she’s in her eighties so she has lots of wisdom to share. Just don’t expect her usual fast paced fiction. This book goes along at a slower though more revealing in some ways pace.Thank you to the publisher for providing an advance reader’s copy.
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  • Peter Tillman
    January 1, 1970
    Here's the New Republic's take,https://newrepublic.com/article/14471..."In 2010, at the age of 81, the acclaimed novelist Ursula K. Le Guin started a blog. ... [her new book, which] harvests a representative sample of her blog posts, feels like the surprising and satisfying culmination to a career in other literary forms. ...Between each of No Time to Spare’s four topical sections are essays entitled “Annals of Pard.” Devoting such time and interest to the observation of a cat might seem to repr Here's the New Republic's take,https://newrepublic.com/article/14471..."In 2010, at the age of 81, the acclaimed novelist Ursula K. Le Guin started a blog. ... [her new book, which] harvests a representative sample of her blog posts, feels like the surprising and satisfying culmination to a career in other literary forms. ...Between each of No Time to Spare’s four topical sections are essays entitled “Annals of Pard.” Devoting such time and interest to the observation of a cat might seem to represent the commonest impulses both of internet culture and old age; but, as always, Le Guin wades into her new genre to deepen and expand it. When Pard brings her a living mouse to and drops it on her bed in the night, her solution is to lock them together in the kitchen until the mouse disappears (whether through elusion or ingestion, she doesn’t know). ......reading about Le Guin’s cat will not change your life, the way that reading about her strange, freer worlds might. ...The Nobel Prize recipient Jose Saramago had also begun to blog in his eighties. His posts were published in English as "The Notebooks", and Le Guin thought that “seeing what Saramago did with the form was a revelation.”
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  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    I received a galley of this book via Netgalley.Le Guin's blog posts are gathered in this new book that is refreshing and packed with wisdom. With a gently acerbic voice, she confronts the silliness of denying one's age, discusses the time she refused a Nebula nomination, and muses about the many goings-on of her cat, Pard. This book feels like sitting down an old friend who is tactful and blunt at once, and it's a joy to read. I say that, though I read it in a very difficult time (the passing of I received a galley of this book via Netgalley.Le Guin's blog posts are gathered in this new book that is refreshing and packed with wisdom. With a gently acerbic voice, she confronts the silliness of denying one's age, discusses the time she refused a Nebula nomination, and muses about the many goings-on of her cat, Pard. This book feels like sitting down an old friend who is tactful and blunt at once, and it's a joy to read. I say that, though I read it in a very difficult time (the passing of my beloved elderly cat followed by a sudden bout of flu). Her words made me smile when most things didn't make me smile.
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  • Akylina
    January 1, 1970
    This collection of short essays (which were originally posted on Le Guin's blog) is an absolute treat not only for Ursula Le Guin's fans but for any reader who appreciates clever, funny and well-written opinion pieces. The book is divided in parts, each one of which is devoted to a specific topic such as aging, literature and writing, feminism, politics and miscellaneous musings on everyday life and its ordeals. In between those sections there are some parts which she has devoted to her cat, Par This collection of short essays (which were originally posted on Le Guin's blog) is an absolute treat not only for Ursula Le Guin's fans but for any reader who appreciates clever, funny and well-written opinion pieces. The book is divided in parts, each one of which is devoted to a specific topic such as aging, literature and writing, feminism, politics and miscellaneous musings on everyday life and its ordeals. In between those sections there are some parts which she has devoted to her cat, Pard, and his journey into life with the author. Those pieces were truly adorable. A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley.
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  • Chris Via
    January 1, 1970
    If we heed the advice of late-Renaissance polymath Francis Bacon and agree that the chief purpose of reading is “to weigh and consider” then Ursula K. Le Guin’s compendium of essays, No Time to Spare: Thinking about What Matters, is an essential text. The book represents a selection of her blog posts, spanning the years 2010 to 2015*, which may cause some would-be readers to recoil (i.e. those who cannot justify purchasing writing that is available for free online), but I submit that you’re payi If we heed the advice of late-Renaissance polymath Francis Bacon and agree that the chief purpose of reading is “to weigh and consider” then Ursula K. Le Guin’s compendium of essays, No Time to Spare: Thinking about What Matters, is an essential text. The book represents a selection of her blog posts, spanning the years 2010 to 2015*, which may cause some would-be readers to recoil (i.e. those who cannot justify purchasing writing that is available for free online), but I submit that you’re paying a nominal convenience fee to have someone else pick the choicest texts from the expansive repertoire and compile them in a handsome volume. A lot of books promise the provocation of thought, but Le Guin actually delivers. Pass up on a few overpriced lattes if you need to—the stimulation here is far less ephemeral than caffeine.Read full review: http://www.chrisviabookreviews.com/20...
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  • Patricia Romero
    January 1, 1970
    If you are familiar with her blog then you have a head start. The book is easily read. Each section talks about a topic and how that topic affects us. Such as Aging, The Literary World, And generally trying to make sense out of everything. Interrupted by sections on her cat Pard and his oddities.It reads like a blog. And that is really what it is. All of her blog posts re-set in a book form. She is a very interesting lady and I laughed a lot during this book.Comes out on December 05, 2017Netgall If you are familiar with her blog then you have a head start. The book is easily read. Each section talks about a topic and how that topic affects us. Such as Aging, The Literary World, And generally trying to make sense out of everything. Interrupted by sections on her cat Pard and his oddities.It reads like a blog. And that is really what it is. All of her blog posts re-set in a book form. She is a very interesting lady and I laughed a lot during this book.Comes out on December 05, 2017Netgalley/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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  • Monika
    January 1, 1970
    In this collection of essays, Le Guin talks about literature, politics, belief, aging, and life, and it is just delightful. She is so interesting. Even when she's talking about her cat, Pard, there's a deeper layer to her musings. She sees the world with such clarity and wonder, and these essays allow the reader to experience that perspective. This book ended up being a smart, feel-good kind of read.
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  • Rhonda Lomazow
    January 1, 1970
    An open honest revealing look at aging a real look at what it's like to be in your eighties the wear& tear on your body.The fact that you might own a car but no longer drive &rely on friends for simple things like trips to the store,Ursula shares with us her opinions on various subjects literature the state of the world.Ursula has written a group of essays that entertain but also give you a lot to think about.An excellent read.Thanks to Net Galley&Hmh for advance readers copy,
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  • Suz
    January 1, 1970
    I love Ursula K. Le Guin's writing, so I knew I would enjoy this book before I even started it. I saved it to read as I relaxed on the couch late in the evening, or as I ate my dinner - sometimes letting my meal grow cold while I was distracted at laughing or nodding at something Ursula had written. This book is actually a collection of blog posts that cover a wide range of topics. She discusses going to the animal shelter to find a new cat, and then has subsequent entries about Pard's antics ar I love Ursula K. Le Guin's writing, so I knew I would enjoy this book before I even started it. I saved it to read as I relaxed on the couch late in the evening, or as I ate my dinner - sometimes letting my meal grow cold while I was distracted at laughing or nodding at something Ursula had written. This book is actually a collection of blog posts that cover a wide range of topics. She discusses going to the animal shelter to find a new cat, and then has subsequent entries about Pard's antics around the house. There are serious pieces about the difference between knowledge and belief, or why women never seem to win the "big" literary awards. And there are musings on the nature of utopia and what it would look like. Whatever she is writing about at the time, her beautiful style and personality always come through. Writing about old age or the literary life or even rounding up rattlesnakes in the backyard (with Denys Cazet), her wit and word choice make each idea or event come to life. It makes sense that she would have that gift, because she has been so busy experiencing her life for so many years. As she remarks, "I still don't know what spare time is because all my time is occupied. It always has been and it is now. It's occupied by living." Amazingly, we get the chance to see some pieces of that occupation as we read her thoughts - and whether we agree with her that writers of all kinds should stop relying on the F--- word so much (yes, please), or laugh at her suggestion that we should spare the feelings of vegetables and become Ogans (living only on oxygen) - we will be thinking and examining our own beliefs and deeply engaged throughout the process.I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Morgan McComb
    January 1, 1970
    Though I have a very mild grievance with the fact that this book is predominantly re-printed (and older) blog posts of hers, the way in which they are organized creates a thematic conversation about her life and her experiences--with everything from pets to publishing--is very compelling. The book starts out with easier, less controversial topics, like her relationship with her cat, but the thing that Le Guin is so skilled at is making something out of seemingly nothing. A (very short) essay abo Though I have a very mild grievance with the fact that this book is predominantly re-printed (and older) blog posts of hers, the way in which they are organized creates a thematic conversation about her life and her experiences--with everything from pets to publishing--is very compelling. The book starts out with easier, less controversial topics, like her relationship with her cat, but the thing that Le Guin is so skilled at is making something out of seemingly nothing. A (very short) essay about an ongoing battle to keep her cat from jumping on the mantle with no true ending or resolution is still somehow, through her prose, a moment of reflection for the reader. As the essays continue, they do dig deeper--her essay about "the Great American Novel" is particularly interesting and concise--and you can't help but be endeared by her expert mixture of wit, realism, and intelligence. Will this book of essays go down in history as one of the best collected essays of all time? I can't say for sure (probably not), but regardless I still found myself enjoying it and wanting to read more. And I'm not even a huge Le Guin fan (though I respect her deeply and am very much in awe of her as both a writer and a person), so I imagine that this book of essays--especially the essays on her experience in the publishing world--would be even more enjoyable to a tried and true Le Guin fanatic.
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  • Francis Tapon
    January 1, 1970
    Ursula Le Guin is nearly 90 years old. She's one of the greatest writers of our time.Sadly, she's stopped writing books. She just blogs.What may be her final book, No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, is a collection of some of her blog posts. The title and cover are enticing.However, as the cliche says: don't judge books by their title. Among the 40 chapters, there are few truly deep, introspective, wise, and thought-provoking ones. Several have to do with her beloved cat, Pard. If yo Ursula Le Guin is nearly 90 years old. She's one of the greatest writers of our time.Sadly, she's stopped writing books. She just blogs.What may be her final book, No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, is a collection of some of her blog posts. The title and cover are enticing.However, as the cliche says: don't judge books by their title. Among the 40 chapters, there are few truly deep, introspective, wise, and thought-provoking ones. Several have to do with her beloved cat, Pard. If you're a big Ursula Le Guin fan, this book is good for you. However, if you're a real fan, you probably already read all her blog entries already - and there's nothing new here, I believe.VERDICT: 3 out 10 stars.The book is coming out December 5, 2017.
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  • Bob H
    January 1, 1970
    This is a series of recent essays by the famed author Ursula Le Guin, short, easy reading, at times playful, poignant, profound, introspective. To those familiar with her work over the decades, these pieces are an interesting new look at a casual and informal Le Guin, as she reflects on aging, readers' comments, her cat, society, breakfast food, childhood. It's a casual visit with an old friend. It's a pleasant conversation and well worth a read.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received a galley proof of this title from BNC Catalist and Houghton Mifflin in exchange for a fair review.What a wonderful body of literature Ursula LeGuin has given us! This collection of essays/blogs makes me smile, gives me pause, causes me to think. As did all of her stories. Highly Recommended.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Good collection of blog posts about a lot of different things. I found most of them interesting.Thanks to Netgalley for the advance reader copy of this book. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    NetGalley provided ARC.3 1/2 stars. I am not familiar with Ursula K. Le Guin's work but did quite enjoy her musings on life (and her cat Pard). While she and I don't see eye to eye on many things, her style of writing is enjoyable, informative, and entertaining.
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  • Natalia
    January 1, 1970
    Cute book based on her blogs. Writings on writing (SO META), cats, politics and other old lady things.
  • Katie Carroll
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come
  • Jacob Hoefer
    January 1, 1970
    As a relatively new fan of Le Guin I was excited to pick up this ARC. Hoping for heartfelt insight into a writer I've been coming to really admire. I was rewarded with that and more.
  • E
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come.
  • Bonnye Reed
    January 1, 1970
    GN This group of essays really brings home the point that we are running out of time, we baby boomers. Fifty may be the new 30 - but even so, most of us passed even that watershed years ago. Ursula Le Guin is a wonderful writer of SciFi - both for adults and children - but in this endeavour she covers life as we know it, women trying to find a comfortable resting place in life as we face the last decade or so. This is an awesome read - covering everything from religion to abortion rights, enviro GN This group of essays really brings home the point that we are running out of time, we baby boomers. Fifty may be the new 30 - but even so, most of us passed even that watershed years ago. Ursula Le Guin is a wonderful writer of SciFi - both for adults and children - but in this endeavour she covers life as we know it, women trying to find a comfortable resting place in life as we face the last decade or so. This is an awesome read - covering everything from religion to abortion rights, environmental hot spots, the government and taxes. 'Lying it all away', written October 2012 should be required reading for all Americans, both the public and the political. 'Nude Politician' written October 2014 is another I may print out and place on the break room wall. 'Belief in Belief' written February 2014 covers our changing perception of trigger words. What does the word 'believe' mean to you? What did it mean to you when you were 20? how has it changed our perceptions of justice, race, evolution? This woman will keep us hopping. Ursula doesn't want us to rest in our retirement. Now is the time, while we have the time, to welcome change, to make it happen. I hope we have her around for many more years to come, and that I have the internal fortitude to follow through on her great lessons on life. Netgalleypub date Dec 5, 2017Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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