I just heard the news that Ursula K. LeGuin died, and I am saddened beyond belief. I think, like with Elie Wiesel, that I will need a while to gather my thoughts. Right now, all I can think of is the books she wrote that I would recommend someone read, and it turns out that it’s all of them. But she meant so much more to me than her literature, and to express that I will need time.
If you can get a copy, though, the one that sticks with me hardest today is her fake Ethnography of the Kesh people in post-nuclear California: Always Coming Home. It’s a beautiful, odd, and terrifying thing that doesn’t read dystopic at all. And of course you already know of the Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness.
I have been trying to figure out a way to keep myself from going insane with boredom with nothing to do all day but hold a small boy, and I’ve been reading odd fantasy books: Maggie Stiefvater’s All The Crooked Saints (I cannot tell if I like this book or not because it was a hard one to love and yet it was so BEAUTIFULLY written…); Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor (where she does everything they tell you not to do in a novel and it still ended up claiming me completely); and Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin (the best thing I’ve read since Uprooted last year, and the first thing I’ve been head over heels for since Robin McKinley’s latest). It feels good to contemplate other worlds, and I think I’ll continue.
I have been reading the books out loud to the baby when he’s awake, and I’m sure he’s thoroughly confused now since he gets only snippets of whatever passage I’m on when he happens to have his eyes open. I’ll warrant that he’s getting a pretty good vocabulary, though. And a knowledge of his people, since his big eyes and pointed chin have me half-convinced he’s a Fairy himself. Or maybe just a changeling.
It might just be a coincidence in timing (or his elfin heritage), but Fantasy books seem to have him sleeping better at night. He’s been letting us sleep a solid 4 hours at a time most evenings, and even a 6 hour stretch every once in a while. I never thought 4 hours of sleep would sound luxurious, but it does.
I have also stopped doing strange things in my sleep now that he’s sleeping longer. So far I have woken Brian up twice to ask him to take the baby when the baby had already been sleeping in his bassinet for at least an hour. And then there was the evening where I tried to convince Brian that I was feeding the baby right now, when the kid was actually in Brian’s arms and yelling at me about not being quick enough with the midnight snack. Parenthood is mostly a comedy of errors, I’m finding. But at least it’s a comedy…
Next on the reading list is probably Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer. But maybe I’ll get out some of my old LeGuin instead. It’s been ages since I’ve read The Tombs of Atuan, or Voices – two I have read countless times in the past because they’re my favorites.