Wednesday, July 8, 2015

#WCW Woman Crush Wednesday: Ursula K. Le Guin

Photo Copyright © by Marian Wood Kolisch
When Rachel wrote her review of The Dispossessed this weekend, I was reminded of how much I love Ursula K Le Guin's writing, which made her an obvious pick for this week's #WCW

I'm not a native Dubuquer, and I attended high school in a small Wisconsin town where the public library was small enough that the entire building would've fit in Carnegie-Stout's children's department. As a teenager who loved fantasy novels, I would check out any book with a unicorn sticker on the spine, so it wasn't long before I stumbled across A Wizard of Earthsea. I liked Earthsea okay, but it was her stories of the Hainish Ekumen that I returned to again and again.

The attention and detail she put into the people and societies in her stories captured my imagination. Her writing was a significant influence in my decision to major in anthropology as an undergrad, and I was only a little surprised that the "K" in her name stands for Kroeber. Her parents, Alfred and Theodora Kroeber, were early anthropologists of some note. Alfred Kroeber was, fittingly enough, one of the topics for my senior research paper on the history of anthropological theories.

Le Guin remains the standard by which I judge science fiction to this day, even as my tastes have changed and grown over time. I suspect that I wouldn't have quite the same reaction to reading her books for the first time today as I did when I was a teen, but it's equally true that if I hadn't read her books as a teen, I would not have become the person that I am today.

~Sarah, Adult Services

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