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photo 2018-02-10 02:10
I'd say, "Can we talk about this paperback cover from '73?"* except I have no idea what I'd say!
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin

This, for the record, is the cover of Nenya's edition, which I grabbed off the shelf to check the spelling of something. And then started at in silent amazement for some time.

Me: ...
Nenya: Yeaaaaah. There's a reason I haven't read that series yet.



*I know it's '73 because that's when the inbound ad for Kent menthol ciggies is dated. Also we are GOING to get that new collected edition of Earthsea when it comes out in the fall!

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text 2018-02-01 16:26
January Reading
Jane, Unlimited - Kristin Cashore
My Conversations with Canadians - Lee Maracle
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story - Martin Luther King Jr.
Swallowing Mercury - Wioletta Greg,Wioletta Grzegorzewska,Eliza Marciniak
 Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder - A Journey into the Wild World of Nuclear Science - James Mahaffey,Keith Sellon-Wright
Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner - Daniel Ellsberg
Winter Rose - Patricia A. McKillip
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin

Eleven books read:

Jane, Unlimited - Kristin Cashore

My Conversations with Canadians - Lee Maracle  

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story - Martin Luther King Jr.  

Swallowing Mercury - Wioletta Greg, Eliza Marciniak  

Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder - James Mahaffey

Someone To Love - Mary Balogh (DNF)

Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner  

The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden 

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner - Daniel Ellsberg  

Winter Rose - Patricia A. McKillip  

A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin  

 

Women Writers Bingo: 3/25

(Personal take: Finish 25 books by new-to-me female authors in 2018*)

Finished in January: Wioletta Greg, Rose Lerner, Katherine Arden

 

Gender Balance:

Fiction: 7 by women, 0 by men, 0 by non-binary

Non fiction: 1 by women, 3 by men, 0 by non-binary

 

Format:

Paper books that I own: 0

Paper books from library: 5

E-books that I own: 1

E-books from library: 1

Audiobooks that I own: 4

 

February Goals:

1. Finish reading for Hugo Award nominations (Jade City, Prey of the Gods, Winter Tide).

2. Read at least one book for black history month

3. Stop ordering fucking library books.

 

 

*Women Writers Bingo Bonus Points:

5 of those books in translation: 1/5 (Swallowing Mercury)

5 of those books are non-fiction: 0/5

 

Bingo Companion Round:

5 books by non-binary authors: 0/5

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review 2018-01-29 17:04
An old friend.
A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle, #1) - Rob Inglis,Ursula K. Le Guin

My dad read the first four to us when we were tiny smol, and then I reread the trilogy as a teen, so it's very hard to separate this book from my memories of this book, which are vague but wondrous.

 

Le Guin herself said that the lack of positive, powerful women was a mistake made by a young author who wasn't yet secure in her writing, and thought that joining the fantasy authors boys' club meant writing about boys. Which shows, and I'm not going to tell anyone that the first book is not sexist and exclusive. I'm putting that mostly first in order to then set it aside for the rest of the review. (I will say that my father's open adoration of books written by a woman did something for my own confidence as a writer.)

 

What the book is about is a young man who isn't yet secure in his power, and thinks that joining the wizard's boys' club means being a dick. The rest of the book shows him learning from other wiser, kinder and more gentle men, and learning from himself, and learning to love. The quest is not to slay anything (though some dragons bite the dust along the way), but to understand and be better. Better explicitly means more compassionate.

 

It also deals with trauma recovery, in a way that I immediately identified with. Early in, our hero over reaches, and is hurt very badly, and with potentially world-ending consequences, and the memory of that hurt echoes through everything he does for the rest of his life. It's more obvious at first, where he basically curls in a ball and doesn't talk to anyone, and refuses to use magic, but even towards the end, he holds this hesitation in his heart. It could hurt again; he could screw up again; would it be better if he just... stopped. (It also deals with depression.) The depth of feeling is incredible.

 

Everyone talks about Le Guin's use of language, and I remembered it being very beautiful, but I hadn't remembered how completely in control of it she was, at a sentence level, even this young. The prose is very high fantasy, but unlike a lot of Tolkien imitators, Le Guin knew how to use the "Why Yes, I have read Beowulf more than once" sort of old English turns of phrase and restrained emotion to wonderful effect. It plays along and under and through our hero's own hesitation, and snarkily comments on his previous arrogance. When we see him break, it's all the more powerful because of his previous restraint. (At one point, he says something mildly disappointed, and I immediately wanted to hug him, because he was clearly heartbroken.)

 

Finally, I love Vetch, and want to read a whole series about him being the Wizard of Iffish, and what his family is doing, and possibly hanging out with Sparrowhawk when he blows through.

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review 2017-04-15 00:00
A Wizard of Earthsea
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin It is almost always fun to revisit books you have not read in a longish time and this one was no exception. The only issue I might have with this quick read is now I want to reread the rest of the series (if that can really be called an issue).

4 Stars for entertainment as expected.
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review 2017-04-15 00:00
A Wizard of Earthsea
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin It is almost always fun to revisit books you have not read in a longish time and this one was no exception. The only issue I might have with this quick read is now I want to reread the rest of the series (if that can really be called an issue).

4 Stars for entertainment as expected.
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