Year End Roundup
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Novels. I’ve read an awful lot of good books this year, and more than usual were new. The three from 2010 that top my list are A.S.Byatt’s The Children’s Book, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna, and Jose Saramago’s The Elephant’s Journey.
They have nothing in common that I can think of except that they were all written by very good writers at the top of their powers.
I think the Byatt a much more thoughtful and interesting historical novel or period piece than Possession (which seemed to me quite artificial, particularly the rather crude pastiches of Victorian writing). This is a genuinely big novel, brilliantly organised, and, a couple of predictable situations excepted, it rings very true emotionally, it is a powerful book.
The Kingsolver, also historical, is gorgeous in detail and construction -- a beautiful book, quite unpredictable, and untouched by the over-earnestness that has derailed some of her novels.
Poetry. When I was in college in Massachusetts, Robert Frost was treated like God. This turned me off him for decades. I finally outgrew the ancient, silly rebellion. We are reading the entire Collected Poems aloud, evening by evening. Amazing, amazing! God he isn’t, but good he is.
Films. In the Valley of Elah. A couple of years old now, the movie said what needs saying about our war(s). And therefore lasted about five minutes in the theaters. Terrific acting. A heartbreaker.
Krazy Kat. Fantagraphics, in Seattle, blessed be their name, continues to publish their series of George Herriman’s Krazy Kats from the over twenty years they ran in Sunday and daily papers. A marvillis finhominy! I’m all aflutta and gooze pimpil.
And a happy Hogmanay to all!
Ursula K. Le Guin has written many books and won many awards and at 81 makes awesomeness look wonderfully easy. Aqueduct Press published her collection of essays, Cheek by Jowl, in 2009 and 80! Memories and Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin, a collection honoring her 80th birthday, edited by Karen Joy Fowler and Debbie Notkin, just two months ago. She blogs at Book View Cafe.