by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Deepening Stream, by Dorothy Canfield (1931). Canfield was a best seller in her day, but has been forgotten. This book deserves not to be forgotten. It seems quite conventional -- a girl growing up in the Midwest and moving East and getting married -- I kept thinking I knew how it would develop and what was going to happen. I was dead wrong every time. It just keeps turning corners you didn't even know were there. A very good read. And a terrific, first-hand take on WWI as lived through in Paris, by women.
English Creek, by Ivan Doig. I don't know why I hadn't read any Doig! This is the one to read, I think. Doig knows his Montana ground, and his sheep ranchers, and what hard work is. The story is completely unpretentious and satisfying. And the young narrator's voice is just pitch-perfect Western. I don't think he ever quite found that voice again.
And a merry Solstice to all --
Ursula K. Le Guin has written many books and won many awards and at 81 makes awesomeness look wonderfully easy. Aqueduct Press published her collection of essays, Cheek by Jowl, in 2009 and 80! Memories and Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin, a collection honoring her 80th birthday, edited by Karen Joy Fowler and Debbie Notkin. Her most recent publication is the\ two-volume story collection The Unreal and the Real, just released by Small Beer Press. She blogs at Book View Cafe.