30 Day book meme, 3: the best book you've read in the last 12 months

Day 3 of the 30 day book meme: the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months.

I got into Ursula Le Guin’s writing non-Earthsea writing rather late, but now it’s like always coming home, for me. (Yes, haha, I have not in fact read it. I don’t actually seek them out, because I think her work deserves to be read over many years.) This year’s gem is The Birthday of the World, which is a collection of stories. The thematic draw of this book for me was the stories about various forms of introversion, of relationships unfolding slowly, of societies that have been the same way for a long time and who find meaning in returning and returning again. Thus, my favourite stories in the collection were: Unchosen Love (fear and helplessness in the face of passion) and Solitude (committed adult relationships and all interpersonal manipulation as evil sorcery). I liked Paradises Lost too (and the others!) but for a slightly different reason: I’ve always liked Le Guin’s marriages, indeed they form a really key part of the way I view marriage (as a word for intending life partnership rather than a legal system) and Hsing and Hiroshi have a distinct kind of me: marriage as a secondary part of life’s work.