"I have decided that the trouble with print is, it never changes its mind," writes Ursula Le Guin in her introduction to Dancing at the Edge of the World. But she has, and here is the record of that change in the decade since the publication of her last nonfiction collection, The Language of the Night. And what a mind - strong, supple, disciplined, playful, ranging over the whole field of its concerns, from modern literature to menopause, from utopian thought to rodeos, with an eloquence, wit, and precision that makes for exhilarating reading.
And now, after reading Dancing at the Edge of the World, I think I would like to know Ursula K. Le Guin. This is a fine collection of her essays and speaking engagements. As any full collection will be, it is uneven. However, there is a feel to them, a sense that this is an individual who cares, a sense that this is person is “human” (I have no better word.) In these essays, Le Guin comes off as someone you want to sit down with and talk about things, for a long time – personal things, important things, whatever things come up. The essays focus on feminism, social responsibility, literature, and travel, but (as with any good essay) they bring up ideas that will resonate within your personal issues and concerns. (And the things I learned – I never knew her mother wrote Ishi – a book all anthropology majors know). It’s been a while since I dog-eared a copy of a book to remember ideas – and I did so a number of times with this one – and, just imagine, part of the reason was because I saw an application in my business life as an internal auditor. A collection that is well worth the reading, and a nice introduction to, what appears to be, a wonderful human being.