Friday, April 24, 2009

Fascinating, informative and entertaining"

Rick Kleffel reviews Ursula K. Le Guin's Cheek by Jowl for the Agony Column. Here's a chunk of his review:

Ursula K. Leguin's 'Cheek by Jowl' (Aqueduct Press ; April 2009 ; $16) is an essential book of writing about writing and reading, particularly in the genres of fantasy and young adult fiction. If you either plan on reading or writing either, this book will be the magnifying glass and prescription eyeglasses that will make it all clear, bring it all into focus, heighten your vision. This is meta-reading.

'Cheek by Jowl'is an important book by any measure. Essays and non-fiction by one of today's most important literary figures are always welcome, but 'Cheek by Jowl' offers transcribed and expanded speeches from Ursula K. Le Guin, targeted at those who are interested in reading — and writing fantasy. And here's one the best aspects of this book; it's the product not of some castoff imprint of a mega-publisher, but the work of Aqueduct Press, a dedicated small press with an emphasis on genre fiction and women. At the moment, through May 1, they're offering a pre-release special of $12, making this book even more of a must-buy.

'Cheek by Jowl' includes 8 essays that you simply could not find collected anywhere else, and most of which you’d have been pretty hard-pressed to find in the first place. These include speeches and magazine articles, many of which have been altered and expanded for this publication. It's beautifully illustrated with a three-page list of the sources of the illustrations. It also includes an extensive bibliography for those who would read more.

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