Gifts

I have long been a great fan of the writings of Ursula Le Guin – since yesterday, I am basically glued to a recent book of hers – The Gifts (German: Die wilde Gabe) – it’s a real page turner while at the same time keeping the pace of a legend or an epic poem (no rhyming here though). It is beyond me why Le Guin, who is the daughter of an anthropologist and a writer, is not better known.

In this book, she once again covers a similar issue as in another classic of hers, “Planet of the Dispossessed” (a much harder read than “The Gifts”, which is OK for teenagers, too) – the divide between a poor and a rich culture under the same sky. Its essentially an anthropological study except not based on scientific field research. The highlands and the lowlands – the culture of storytellers, magicians and witches on one hand, and of merchants, scientists and priests on the other. In our modern times, this is the same old story between the West and the East, the North and the South … even between the City and the Country.

I think it’s going to be a fantastic year, 2008, for all of you, and I wish you a merry and wonderful time! Celebrate with wine, wo/men and song – begin with Cohen’s Hallelujah (from YouTube – the anonymous singer, “shuber” – supposedly hailing from New England, is a true talent and I have enjoyed seeing her get better over the past year). And if you’re in a somewhat reckless mood, try Nickelback’s “I wanna be a rock star” … I’d even cut my hair and change my name (if I had hair, and if I hadn’t changed my name already, that is ;-)).

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