No Time to Spare

Hearing the name Ursula Le Guin may conjure other worlds of fantasy or, if you are like me, her wonderful writing book Steering the Craft. Her new book, No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters doesn’t fit either category. In her introduction, she mentions her aversion to the word “blog,” then turns around and writes pieces that fit the form perfectly.

In true Le Guin form, she covers a multitude of topics, inviting the reader to agree, disagree, or simply to consider the point she is making, frequently in a humorous fashion. I knew I was in for some fun in the first one when she pokes fun of those trying to think themselves younger than they are, “If I’m ninety and believe I’m forty-five, I’m headed for a very bad time getting out of the bathtub.”

In one fascinating comparison, the idea of belief gets mingled with artichokes and in an entirely different kind of piece, she paints a touching portrait of her longtime friend and aide named Dolores. If you need to know how to eat a soft-boiled egg properly, you can find out here. There are more cats than I need, but I have several cat-loving friends who could really get into several blogs starring her pets. I won’t even spoil the story of the rattlesnake, thinking you need to experience it all on your own.

Note the date of each entry as you read since the time sometimes is important to the essay (or “blog” if you want to call it that behind her back). I would recommend keeping the book handy in a place where you stir the soup or anticipate some waiting time, reading and considering one topic at a time just for the pleasure of it. She is by turns argumentative, funny, thoughtful, and compassionate but never dull.