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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1: Rocannon's World / Planet of Exile / City of Illusions / The Left Hand of Darkness / The Dispossessed / Stories (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 62/1100 pages
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated
Charles Darwin
Progress: 190/346 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 3/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics)
Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad
Progress: 224/272 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 108/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 76/448 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
Tales From Earthsea  - Ursula K. Le Guin This followed Tehanu after another long break and so I've only read it twice and don't have the same relationship to it as I do with the older Earthsea books.

Somehow this book is more than the sum of its parts; the individual stories are good but not excellent. The essay on Earthsea is interesting but because it is a set of working notes instead of a story it lacks lustre. Yet at the end of the book I felt that I knew Earthsea much better than at the start. It is a place of magic and epic adventure but also a place where people have ordinary problems. It is a place where history has been re-written, power has been fought over, usurped, stolen. A place where the truth of events is often unknown and myth and legend take its place. It's a lot like here, really, because it's populated by humans. Then again, it is very different because the humans have magic and there are dragons...

It was delightful to encounter Ged again, though in a story not really his. The history of Roke was startling and an excellent way to weave some constructive Feminism into Earthsea, after the unremitting negativity of Tehanu. The story of Irian has an annoying protagonist switch but otherwise serves well to link Tehanu back into the main theme of the Earthsea novels, a bridge to the final book, The Other Wind, as LeGuin says.

It was fun to learn the full story behind the legends and ballads, about Morred, his Enemy and Elfarren and also the complete story of Erreth-Akbe, the Ring and Orm.

This book seems best when seen as part of the whole, the fifth of six volumes, rather than standing alone.