Lucia Berlin/Ursula K. Le Guin (Books acquired, 12.11.2015)


Went to the bookstore this afternoon to pick up the much-acclaimed collection of stories by Lucia Berlin, A Manual for Cleaning Women (typing out the title, I suddenly hear its ambiguities). My trusty local used bookshop didn’t have a copy, but they did have Homesick, and I love Black Sparrow editions, so hey, cool.


I’ve been tearing through Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish novels lately after picking up Rocannon’s World at sorta-random. I’m in the middle of City of Illusion right now, having finished (a third read of) The Dispossessed (fantastic), The Word for World Is Forest (a bit too on-the-nose critique of the Vietnam War; also, James Cameron should send Le Guin some Avatar bucks), and Planet of Exile, which was great. (And oh: George R.R. Martin should send Le Guin some Game of Thrones bucks for that one: Planet of Exile has barbarian invaders from the north, seasons that last for decades, a constant fear that “winter is coming,” and its own white walkers (snow ghouls)).

So well and anyway: I already have a copy of The Left Hand of Darkness, which is the next title in the sequence in which I’m reading the Hainish books. My pilfered copy isfrom years back, and I’ve read it a few times—but I just couldn’t pass up this first edition copy with its lovely Klimtesque cover art by Leo and Diane Dillon.

10 thoughts on “Lucia Berlin/Ursula K. Le Guin (Books acquired, 12.11.2015)”

  1. Beautiful cover on the LeGuin book. Part of the charm of second hand books, ya know? Those old paperbacks, like the Ace edition you’re showing here…harder and harder to find. But it’ll always be fun to look.


  2. I just found a nice copy of the Rocannon’s World trio, one of Le Guin’s only works I have not read. Great read.

    About three chapters into Planet of Exile and, being an avid Game of Thrones viewer, had to do a Google search to find out if anyone else was as shocked as I am that Le Guin was such an obvious source of original material for Mr. R. R. Martin.

    Online especially, it seems the norm for many prolific readers to notice such heavy-handed “borrowings” in popular literature and films, only to get shut down (read: trolls) by the majority of internet denizens, or worse- fans.

    The facts of the matters tend to get argued to death, unfortunately, and after being subjected to so many absurd and obtuse defenses of clearly “borrowed” stories, we readers all too often shrink from the weblight, or whatnot, back into the safe dusty arms of our libraries and tomes.

    I don’t revall the Avatat-esque Le Guin story, but most of Avatar brought to mind Call Me Joe, by Poul Anderson maybe. After stealing Terminator from Ellison, what did we expect from Jes Cameron? It took years for Ellison to finally sue him- his name is in the the film credits now, ha.

    And of course Harry Potter and Co. was like Earthsea for kids, if Earthsea wasn’t already intended for kids. Chasing and being Hunted by his twin-dark-soul wizard because he was too powerful, facial scars and a large hairy Beast keeper friend and all, original, what a hoot.

    If you ever have the misfortune to read the first Thomas Covenant book, you should be absolutely stunned that someone plagerized Tolkien’s LotR trilogy, published it, made a living doing so, and what may be worse- wrote it so poorly and boring.

    While it is a very difficult read (he was not quite ‘writerly’), and many of the roots are obscure at first, James Blish wrote a collection called Cites in the Sky, or something to that effect. The totallity of those stories cover every major character and many of the plots and setting details of the ‘original’ Star Trek tv series. Blish also wrote about Star Trek itself, oddly.

    Lastly, unrelated to “borrowing”, the final story in Le Guin’s ‘The Winds Twelve Quarters’ is a short prequel-like tale of Odo, the founder anarchist leader from The Dispossesed, called ‘The Day Before The Revolution’. It is almost my favorite short story and you may enjoy it too.

    Happy reading.


  3. Hello!
    Would I ever be able to purchase that beautiful Left Hand of Darkness from you? I adore the Leo and Diane Dillon artwork. I would treasure it.

    Thank you,



Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.