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No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters (2017)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Other authors: Karen Joy Fowler (Introduction)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8134723,235 (4.07)55
"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 readers 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 ninety and believe I'm forty-five, 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" -- "From acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin, a collection of thoughts--always adroit, often acerbic--on aging, belief, the state of literature, and the state of the nation"--… (more)
  1. 11
    The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin (andomck)
  2. 01
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  3. 01
    Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck (andomck)
    andomck: Non fiction from these novelists where their pets play a large role. Also, UKL has an essay in her book about knowing Steinbeck in real life
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» See also 55 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Before I comment on these essays by Ursula LeGuin, I need to acknowledge the narrator, Barbara Caruso. I have no idea about Le Guin's actual voice, accent, inflections, intonations or the like, but Caruso has narrated with an immediacy that left me feeling I was sitting in the same room with the author as she shared her thoughts.

In these essays, or more accurately blog posts, LeGuin opines on aging, literature, politics and feminism, interspersed with observations on her tom cat, Pard. The cat commentary is more lighthearted than the rest of the pieces, and a nice break from her sometimes gloomy observations on the state of various aspects of the world.

The highlight of the book, for me, comes early, in LeGuin's reflections on aging; most specifically, about the place where "you're only as old as you feel" meets the reality of declining physical abilities. That may be because I'm thinking a lot about those very topics myself lately, or because those pieces come at the beginning of the book.

Which brings me back to the fact that I listened to this book, rather than reading it in print. Despite the intimate quality of Caruso's narration, I think listening may have diminished my experience on another level. These are pieces that deserve to be pondered slowly, perhaps pausing at the end of each one to reflect. When I listen, I tend to do so continuously, without taking breaks at the end of chapters or sections for contemplation. Not the best approach, I think, for this book.

Ah well, perhaps I will someday pick up a print copy and spend more time with it. In the meantime, I find myself wondering what LeGuin's thoughts would have been on the "me too" movement and the last four years of politics, when truth has become a somewhat arbitrary concept. ( )
  BarbKBooks | Aug 15, 2022 |
Selected blog posts. Amusing and sharp ideas from a very good writer at the end of her life. ( )
  Dokfintong | Jul 15, 2022 |
2.5 stars

DNF @ 48%
Some interesting essays, but most of it just did not work for me.
This one collection was a total miss. ( )
  QuirkyCat_13 | Jun 20, 2022 |
This is an eclectic collection of essays taken from Ursula Le Guin's blog posts, from 2010 - 2013. Some of the stories are humorous, some are mundane and there are a lot of entries about the escapades of a cat named Pard. I actually have never read any of the author's fictional novels but I did enjoy her insights into aging and writing books. ( )
  LowProfile | Jun 15, 2022 |
I had no idea going into this book what it might look like. It turns out to be a book of adapted blog posts, and a stirring and wonderful book at that. I love how it is organized, with Le Guin's uncompromising voice telling us what she thinks of the world leavened by stories about her darling cat. The cat stories almost universally made me laugh. Pard is quite the adventurer, and Le Guin could spin a story out of a piece of paper dropping to earth. Anyway, one of my favorite things about this book is that Le Guin is old when she wrote it and she's extremely honest about how much being old sucks. She doesn't hide her gradual decline, or her pain, or try to pretend to be anywhere other than where she is -- an elderly woman, sharp minded, gradually losing the battle of physical age, and looking, unflinching, at her mortality. We may all be so brave. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Prompted by an alumni survey from her alma mater, Radcliffe, that asks how she occupies her spare time, she takes issue with the idea that any time occupied by living—whether that means reading, writing, cooking, eating, cleaning, etc.—can be considered spare. Moreover, with her 81st birthday fast approaching, Le Guin declares, ”I have no time to spare.”
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fowler, Karen JoyIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wachs , Anne-MarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Vonda N. McIntyre, with love
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I've been inspired by Jose Saramago's extraordinary blogs, which he posted when he was eighty-five and eighty-six years old.
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Old age is for anybody who gets there.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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 readers 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 ninety and believe I'm forty-five, 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" -- "From acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin, a collection of thoughts--always adroit, often acerbic--on aging, belief, the state of literature, and the state of the nation"--

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