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Publisher's Summary

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 listeners 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 90 and believe I'm 45, 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."

©2017 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)2018 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Barbara Caruso delivers a collection of previously published reflections by Ursula K. Le Guin, who passed away in January. Caruso's wondrous ability to capture Le Guin's humor and energy gives listeners an unhurried experience." (AudioFile)  

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  • Linda
  • Hunters Hill, Australia
  • 02-13-18

What a delight!

I'm old and loved this book. And I'm recommending it to my children. So much wisdom. Being old has it's 'up' side. Barbara Caruso's performance was pitch perfect. Brava! A thoroughly enjoyable experience!

56 of 60 people found this review helpful

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I enjoyed this book!

I do not share her dogma or political views, but I enjoy her writings and I was sad when her story ended.

41 of 45 people found this review helpful

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words for living

I loved this - the writing and the narration, perfect fit. Words from a master.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Words of enchantment and wisdom

She is a celebration of a woman...nice to read this on "National Woman's Day", especially when downloaded to a Kindle, when I had no other power, and was otherwise in dispair. Thank you! A truly wonderful book!

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Gorgeous book, wonderful audiobook

I've been a LeGuin reader for decades, having first encountered her in school, in a Science Fiction as Literature class. (h/t to Tom Hoberg for making SF a legitimate subject of study all those decades ago.)  I loved her work right from the start. I loved what she said and how she said it.  It was, for me anyway, what science fiction should be, human first of all.

Before she died in January of this year, she published a collection of her blog posts from the last few years, and I'd wanted to read it not just because I enjoyed her fiction but because there's something appealing to me, as I approach the end of my life, about the thoughts of those who have gone on before.  I was not prepared to laugh, to mourn, to face hard truths, and to fall head-over-heels in love with the woman.  I was not prepared to have my heart break again and again as I realized that this amazing creature was no longer with us.  And yes, that's a really, really personal response, as was my occasional urge to go down on one knee and propose to her because she was one of those people you wanted in your life, not just as a name on the spine of a book, but as someone you could hang out with, laugh with, talk about the important things in life with.

Less personal, you say?  Okay then I'd say Le Guin's insights on life are informed by a lifetime of observation of the deepest sort. They're informed by a love for life, and for the creatures she shared the world with, humans included.  She writes tenderly and hilariously about her cat, Pard.  She ponders things like questions from the alumni association at Radcliffe, and the meaning of "spare time" to a writer.  She talks about the uses of anger and about how corrosive it can be when it's used improperly.  She thinks deeply about life, and for me that is always irresistible.  If she was an extraordinary writer, she is an astounding essayist.

The narrator of the audiobook sounded age-appropriate which made me very happy.  And she did a terrific job, conveying a sense of the personality behind the words.  I really can't recommend this audiobook enough.

 

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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"It Doesn't Have to Be the Way It Is"

This collection of blogs is bringing me pleasure. Le Guin considers something - in her first blog an alumni survey, and takes it apart demonstrating the absurdity of the questions and the assumption that the recipient will agree with the assumptions of each question. One question is "what will improve the quality of life for the future generation...." and gives a list to be rated, including capitalism, health-care quality, exporting democracy, reducing US debt, etc, and she points out some missing items: climate destabilization, international politics, industrial pollution, control of government by corporations, human rights and more.
Her answer to the last question - what to do with spare time is "I'm going to be 81 next week. I have no time to spare."

She finds lots of things to talk about and I can agree or disagree, but it will be worth thinking about her subjects. She covers aging, storytelling, ("so much non-fiction is awful hokum....we can learn so much truth from reading novels..."), swearing ("I remember when swearing, though tame by modern standards, was quite varied and often highly characteristic"), readers questions, sexism, society in general, Homer ("the two basic fantasy stories: the War and the Journey.") the cat, Pard, (I'm a cat person so I enjoyed these alot) and much more.

Le Guin reminds us that "it doesn't have to be the way it is" and I feel encouraged by her musings.

I also very much appreciated the reader who becomes the voice of Ursula K. Le Guin.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Lovely, Endearing, Sincere.

I very much enjoyed getting to know Ursula Le Guin through these musings. Her writing style, her prose, the deliberate and delicate selection of just the right word, at just the right time... engages. It captures. It does not let go. I first read the Earth Sea "trilogy" when I was a high school senior in 1977. I fell in love with her stories and have read them off and on through the years. My mother is almost 92 now and has aged quite gracefully, but she does sometimes wrestle with her agedness; so naturally, when I found this book I was interested in Ursula's views on aging. I thought I might gain some insight to the challenges my mother faces, and I hoped it might be something fun for her to read.

I was not disappointed. The writing is nothing short of magical, just like we find in her novels; but in this collection of reflections, Ursula Le Guin invites us into her home. Here she shares her heart a little, her soul a little, how she lived and loved a little, what was important to her, what was not, and how it all fits together in her "golden years..." or should I say, "the sunset of her to it was her. Barbara read with the expression, intonation, delicacy and reflection of one who may have lived the words.

Thank you Ursula Le Guin for a life well-lived and sharing a precious glimpse of it with us. Thank you Barbara Caruso for reading with the love and care that Ursula poured into these stories.

I will share this with my mother. I hope she finds it as enjoyable as I did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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all over the place

worst book I have ever listened to, I could not get the jest of her at all

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Must Listen to!!

This book is a must listen to for all, no matter what your genre preference, political or religious persuasion!!!!

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Very enjoyable

It is very much like having a cup of coffee with the author. It's not about any single topic, more like just conversing.