Thursday, October 21, 2010

In a private place

Today is Ursula Le Guin's 81st birthday--Happy birthday, Ursula!-- which means it's also the official release date of 80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin. Although the release date marks the end of Aqueduct's pre-release special, it's also the first day we are offering an e-book version, for $9.95.

(Speaking of e-book editions, you might be interested to know that Aqueduct is also now offering individual volumes of the Marq'ssan Cycle in e-book edition. Imagine, all those words, free of the physical dimensions and weight of the printed books. Almost makes me giddy to think of it.)

Rick Kleffel, at the Agony Column, discusses 80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin:

Ursula K. Le Guin is the sort of writer whose work you remember reading. You remember where you were, how you felt before and how the reading changed your feelings. This is not a part of the reading experience that is often acknowledged. It happens in a private place, after all.

That brings us to '80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin' (Aqueduct Press ; October 21, 2010 ; $19), edited by Karen Joy Fowler and Debbie Notkin, a collection in which writers explore and display the influence that Ursula K. Le Guin had upon their lives.

This is, from its conception, a very private book. We are told that Kim Stanley Robinson originally came up with the idea of a "Festschrift," that is, a privately published collection of appreciations for Le Guin from her fellow writers. From there, Karen Joy Fowler and Debbie Notkin, "who know a good idea when they hear one," according to the Acknowledgements at the back of the book, did the legwork and word work necessary to create '80!' It lives up its subject.

You'll find pretty much every kind of writing you can imagine in '80!', from fiction to criticism to poetry to memoir, to writing advice — you name it, you think it, and there's a version of it in this book. That variety makes the book itself easy to read, because you can pick it up, turn to just about any page, and if the style or content is not to your liking at the moment, then a quick flip will find a new style, and in some cases, a sort of writing that is truly unique.

Read the rest of what he has to say here.

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