Something That Was Mine

Something That Was Mine

Reading is an inherently independent activity so if there's anything unusual about my reading The Lord of the Rings every year, it's limited to the fact that I read The Lord of the Rings every year and not that I do so alone. Most years, after I finish that reading, I watch Peter Jackson's trilogy [...]

Ritual Reality: Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Tombs of Atuan

Ritual Reality: Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Tombs of Atuan

Worldbuilding is exhausting. It requires a massive amount of mental energy to imagine and then codify an entirely new world with all its nooks and crannies, its politics and customs. To expedite this process, many works of fantasy rely on familiar tropes as a shortcut, allowing vast institutions to be explained away by a few [...]

Hunting: Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea

Hunting: Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea

Having loosed a monster that he does not understand and which threatens to destroy him, Ged spends much of A Wizard of Earthsea running. The titular wizard's constant flight eventually leaves him wholly exhausted and on the brink of annihilation, at which point he returns to the mage who was his first master, Ogion. Under [...]

2014: What I Read

Following up on Monday's musical retrospective, it's time to award some superlatives to the books that I read in 2014. Straying even farther from release dates than with my musical entry, this list reflects books that I read in 2014, not necessarily books that were released this year. Most Hyped Book (That I Didn't Really Like) - [...]

Powers

Powers

Let's get this out of the way upfront: Ursula Le Guin is a master of the bildungsroman. A Wizard of Earthea, The Farthest Shore, Malafrena, and several of her other books are among the finest coming of age novels in American literature. There are few authors capable of elucidating the challenges of personal discovery the [...]

The Ocean and the Word

The Ocean and the Word

Spells and enchantments are enticing to writers because they suggest that words - the writer's most beloved commodity - have power and value beyond what simply appears on the page. And in 1968 Ursula LeGuin incorporated the similarities between writing and magic into her masterful bildungsroman A Wizard of Earthsea. Long before Harry Potter, A Wizard of Earthsea is the [...]