Reflection: Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences

26Jun09

So I mentioned earlier that I write and share (elsewhere) stuff about the books I’ve read.  I’m going to start posting them here now, and might do some retro-reposting of some I wrote earlier.  I’ll start with the book I *just* finished reading:

Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Le Guin is one of my favorite authors–actually, probably my very favorite author ever.  This book is a novella plus short stories, poems, and a poem translation.  Here’s my reflection:

I don’t usually stick with a book of short stories–I’ll read a few, get bored, look for more variety elsewhere–but this one I read front to back relatively quickly. This is partly due to the way that it’s arranged–in movements, sort of, consisting of stories with somewhat related themes or topics–and partly due to the accessibility of the stories and their neat little lengths. My favorites are “Schroedinger’s Cat,” which I immediately reread, and “‘The Author of the Acacia Seeds’ and Other Extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics,” which I prefer to read as nonfiction because it’s so much more beautiful that way. Of course, the best title award goes to “Vaster Than Empires and More Slow”–Ha! Vegetable Love! Although I found a couple of the earlier stories a little didactic, Le Guin does a profound job, cumulatively, of revealing the limitations of human perception, especially of non-human life (which is, you know, most life) and the arrogance and stupidity of imposing our ways of understanding and acting/reacting in the world onto everything we observe.

PS I’m probably going to use one of those two favorites I mentioned in the BRAND NEW science fiction class I get to teach next year!

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