Cheek by Jowl - Ursula K. Le Guin Cheek by Jowl is another collection of UKL's thoughts on the importance of fantasy for both children and adults as a bridge spanning the gulf between modern human life and the life of the world, a gap she fears is widening and driving us insane (a not implausible argument, IMO).

I give the collection three stars not because I disagree with her (she's preaching to the choir in my case) but because she revisits themes she's written about before and the essays in this collection didn't have the same impact on me as when I first encountered her opinions in collections like The Language of the Night.

The essays are the usual brilliant defense of fantasy, highly readable, and recommended for your side of the argument next time someone disses you for cracking the covers of The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1).

PS - UKL quotes one of my other favorite authors, Sylvia Townsend Warner, in the essay "Wilderness Within" on fantasy's role in subverting the expected:

The Sleeping Beauty woke:
The spit began to turn,
The woodmen cleared the brake,
The gardener mowed the lawn.
Woe's me! And must one kiss
Revoke the silent house, the birdsong wilderness?"
(p. 13)

PPS - It also makes me more anxious than ever to get a copy of Warner's New Collected Poems: Sylvia Townsend Warner.

PPPS - Actually, I'm revising my rating to four stars: The essays may not have had the same impact on me because of their familiarity but they're still very good and I enjoyed reading them.

PPPPS - Final thought (I promise): While I enjoyed UKL's discussions about particular authors and their works (esp. on why Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass fails), I wish she had opined about Harlan Ellison's "A Boy and His Dog."