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Words are my matter : writings on life and…
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Words are my matter : writings on life and books (original 2016; edição 2019)

por Ursula K. Le Guin

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This collection of Ursula K. Le Guin's recent talks, essays, introductions is the best manual we have for exploring the worlds explored in recent fiction; the most useful guide to the country we're visiting, life.
Título:Words are my matter : writings on life and books
Autores:Ursula K. Le Guin
Informação:Boston : Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.
Coleções:A sua biblioteca

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Words Are My Matter: Writings on Life and Books por Ursula K. Le Guin (2016)

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Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) had a chip on her shoulder, as becomes evident in her late-in-life collection of essays, speeches and reviews “Words Are My Matter” (2016).

Regarded as one of the best writers in the science fiction/fantasy genre, Le Guin's beef was getting stuck in that particular box and, worse, that that box has never been highly regarded in literary circles. The better literary publications and literary critics don't give much attention to fantasy and science fiction. Le Guin thought she deserved better, and she was probably right.

"The word genre came to imply something less, something inferior, and came to be commonly misused, not as a description, but as a negative value judgment," she said in a speech she gave in Seattle in 2004. "Most people now understand 'genre' to be an inferior form of fiction, defined by a label, while realistic fictions are simply called novels or literature."

She puts it more succinctly and sarcastically in an essay called "Le Guin's Hypothesis," "So. Literature is the serious stuff you have to read in college, and genre is what you read for pleasure, which is guilty." Similar comments pop up here and there throughout the book.

In that Seattle speech she said, "Some 'literary' novelists have performed amazing contortions to preserve their pure name from the faintest taint of genre pollution." In her book reviews she named names, including the likes of Margaret Atwood. Jose Saramago and Jeanette Winterson. About the latter, she complained, "Winterson is trying to keep her credits as a 'literary' writer even as she openly commits genre" in “The Stone Gods.” She lets H.G. Wells off the hook because he wrote his classic stories like “The Time Machine” before there even was a genre.

It is not clear whether Le Guin was really critical of those who "commit genre" without ever getting charged with the crime or simply envious of them. She got stuck in the genre ghetto and was never able to escape. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Mar 18, 2021 |
Nonfiction nom for the 2017 Hugos, this collection of essays and book reviews are good for what they are, being honest and rooted very firmly in Le Guin's mindset and fierce defense of Science Fiction in general.

Hell, I was rooting for the same points the entire time! Mainstream Lit-fiction stealing old and traditional SF ideas and then having the nerve to say it's not SF and has nothing to do with it, all the while thumbing its nose at a long tradition is NOT COOL, yo. Give credit where credit is due. Don't write SF and call it something else just because you think the genre is trash.

No genre is trash. Individual writing can be trash, and that's true for EVERYTHING. But the converse is true, too. There are really fantastic examples of good writing everywhere, in any genre, lit-fic, mainstream, or any number of subcategories. Even erotica.

I added the erotica point and the rest is based on Sturgeon's Law, but we share the same point. Don't be a dick.

Le Guin's book reviews were fun for what they are. They're book reviews! I think there's some sort of website out there that is really popular for just this kind of thing... but I can't quite put my finger on it. Still, it's true that we like to see what others think about books both neglected and hugely popular. :) I find myself liking Le Guin more and more and more as I read this book.

Still, as a work of non-fiction, it's mostly just a collection of defenses and book reviews. Pleasurable for what it is but hardly more than that. I'm not being won over to a cause because I'm already a staunch defender, and I love to read book reviews, so this was, in the end, a light read.

Does it deserve a Hugo? Frankly... no. But it was fun and I'm glad to have read it. Did it serve to make me want to read more and more of her works? Yes. It did. I've just bumped up her Earthsea books. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
A great collection of essays & book reviews, many of which (books reviewed) I've never read, in which Ursula K Le Guin manages to talk about imagination in ways that are smart, unsentimental and never cornball. These are prescient, as everything seems to be now, as the designer for this book must have realized when they excerpted "Hard times are coming... We'll need writers who can remember freedom," but none of these essays predict the future, they just demonstrate an extreme intuition for human beings & the things they do, including the fact that every book benefits from animals in it. "Then the dog showed up & I knew everything was all right." ( )
  uncleflannery | May 16, 2020 |
A nice compendium of non-fiction pieces. In her book reviews, Le Guin is always a fair and perceptive judge, though I felt there was too much plot exposition in some of them. The miscellaneous essays/speeches are mostly great, especially the searing piece on her pre-Roe-vs-Wade abortion, and the charming essay on the strange house she grew up in and its architect. The forewords introduced me to a few books I like the look of and a few I don't but it's hard to read them without having the book itself to hand. The last bit, an account of a week at a women-only writers' retreat off the coast of Washington, is pretty dreary but very short. ( )
  yarb | Oct 12, 2018 |
It was a pleasure discovering this selection of nonfiction (2000-2016) by Ursula K. LeGuin. Her writing is elegant and wonderfully insightful. Both the book reviews and book introductions give one much to digest and authors to anticipate. There is an underlying trace of bitterness regarding authors neglected through the limits of current publishing. ( )
  MM_Jones | Dec 20, 2017 |
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Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
The Mind Is Still

The mind is still. The gallant books of lies
are never quite enough.
Ideas are a whirl of mazy flies
     over the pigs' trough.

Words are my matter. I have chipped one stone
for thirty years and still it is not done,
that image of the thing I cannot see.
I cannot finish it and set it free,
     transformed to energy.

I chip and stutter but I do not sing
the truth, like any bird.
Daily I come to Judgment stammering
     the same half-word.

So what's the matter? I can understand
that stone is heavy in the hand.
Ideas flit like flies above the swill.
I crowd with other pigs to get my fill.
     The mind is still.

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Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
I seldom have as much pleasure in reading nonfiction as I do in a poem or a story.
Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
Please don't ask me where I get my ideas from. 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.
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