On the bottom rack of my bookshelf is a small tattered book I havent read in ages, but refuse to get rid of. That book is Catwings, a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin about a cat who gives birth to winged kittens and urges them to leave her behind and fly away from their bad neighborhood. As a 9-year-old, I remember feeling a sense of bleakness to the storys content that I couldnt quite place. Now I understand and marvel at Le Guins ability to use even the most innocent-seeming fiction as a powerful vehicle for social commentary. Ive enjoyed the critically-acclaimed novelist/essayist/ childrens authors different genres at different points of my life; Im currently partial to The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas in which she manages to negate the ideals of a utopian society through a story devoid of the usual literary devices like plot, characters, or dialogue. Having basked in Le Guins innovative and resonating prose for so long, its about damn time I get the opportunity to listen to her discuss her writing in person. At the University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 7 p.m. Fri., Oct. 19. and Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 7:30 p.m. Mon., Oct. 22.
Fri., Oct. 19, 7 p.m.; Mon., Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2007