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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
Favorite book by Ursula Le Guin?
Poll: Favorite book by Ursula Le Guin?
A Wizard of Earthsea/The Tombs of Atuan/The Farthest Shore
Tehanu/Tales from Earthsea/The Other Wind
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Lathe of Heaven
The Dispossessed
Rocannan's World/Planet of Exile/City of Illusions
Always Coming Home
Changing Planes
her collections of short stories
her poetry
her nonfiction essays
her young adult books
never read her
View Results (25 votes)


Jan 24 2018, 8:03pm

Post #1 of 14 (4254 views)
Favorite book by Ursula Le Guin? Can't Post

in honor . . .

If you like a specific book or essay from a series or her collections best, do tell us which one.


Jan 25 2018, 1:05am

Post #2 of 14 (4199 views)
Left Hand of Darkness [In reply to] Can't Post

Light is the left hand of darkness,
and darkness the right hand of light.
Two are one, life and death, lying
together like lovers in kemmer,
like hands joined together,
like the end and the way.

Just wow...

Really messed with this poor dumb country boy's sixteen year old mind, but I'm glad it did.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Jan 25 2018, 4:45pm

Post #3 of 14 (4178 views)
Catwings. [In reply to] Can't Post

Evil I've got a soft spot for that one...


Jan 29 2018, 4:36pm

Post #4 of 14 (4135 views)
you who have not read her [In reply to] Can't Post

you have such a huge treat in store for you . . .

Aunt Dora Baggins

Feb 1 2018, 6:34am

Post #5 of 14 (3984 views)
From Elfland to Poughkeepsie [In reply to] Can't Post

It's her essay about the voice an author uses in writing fantasy. There's a lot about Tolkien in it (she approves) and some other authors she is less approving of. It's snarky and funny and true.

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Feb 1 2018, 2:25pm

Post #6 of 14 (3967 views)
Embarrassed to admit I have not read her ... yet [In reply to] Can't Post

The more Iíve read of the many tributes sheís received, the more Iíve realized Iíve been missing out. Hoping the results of this poll give me some idea where I might start with her books.


Feb 1 2018, 3:22pm

Post #7 of 14 (3961 views)
I've read that. [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a collection of essays on fantasy, Fantasists on Fantasy (1984; Avon Books), that includes that piece; it also includes two entries by Tolkien: "Fantasy" and "To W. H. Auden". Other contributors include: George MacDonald; G. K. Chesterton; H.P. Lovecraft; Sir Herbert Read; James Thurber; August Derleth; C. S. Lewis; Felix Marti-Ibanez; Peter S. Beagle; Lloyd Alexander; Andre Norton; Jane Langton; Mollie Hunter; Michael Moorcock; and, Susan Cooper.

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Feb 1 2018, 3:24pm)


Feb 1 2018, 5:37pm

Post #8 of 14 (3946 views)
starting out [In reply to] Can't Post

The Earthsea series is a great place to start: A Wizard of Earthsea is the first. She evolves in her thinking over the 30 or so years she took to write them all, however. The first three are young adult hero quest stories in which she makes certain statements about magic that seem sexist. She started to rethink these ideas in Tehanu, which is for adults, and refined her new thinking later in Tales from Earthsea and The Other Wind. Yet she makes it all hang together and work by very cleverly making the assumptions of her first books INTO the problem that everyone must come together and solve in the last one. And you still love all her protagonists. (There's no truly evil villains in her works.)

The Left Hand of Darkness is my favorite of her "Hainish" novels, her sci-fi works set in a future 'verse where it turns out Terrans as well as most other humanoid races on other planets were seeded millennia ago by the Hainish, a benevolent and curious race. In this particular novel, they seeded one planet with humanoids who are hermaphrodites--neuter most of the time, male or female during their fertile periods (and can go either way). Her sci-fi is true speculative fiction, where she asks "what if life were like this? How would human beings behave?" She wants to get at the essence of what it means to be a person.

And she does it all in the most beautiful prose.


Feb 1 2018, 5:39pm

Post #9 of 14 (3943 views)
You might like [In reply to] Can't Post

The Language of the Night. I do love her essays on writing. I was in a writing group once that worked through her book Steering the Craft and found it most useful.


Feb 1 2018, 11:03pm

Post #10 of 14 (3916 views)
The Tombs of Atuan... [In reply to] Can't Post

...is my very favorite. I also adore the short story "The Ones Who Walk away From Omelas". As I have previously stated, I do not find The Left Hand of Darkness my dipper of Oolong. Evil

Aunt Dora Baggins

Feb 2 2018, 1:19am

Post #11 of 14 (3901 views)
Yes, that's the book I have. [In reply to] Can't Post

There's a lot of good stuff in there. But I like LeGuin's essay the best.

Aunt Dora Baggins

Feb 2 2018, 1:21am

Post #12 of 14 (3903 views)
Thanks! I love her essays. [In reply to] Can't Post

I just recently (since her death) discovered that her website has links to several shorter ones that are available online. http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Index-Work.html

(This post was edited by Aunt Dora Baggins on Feb 2 2018, 1:27am)

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Feb 2 2018, 9:42pm

Post #13 of 14 (3835 views)
Thanks for the tips, Annael :-) [In reply to] Can't Post


N.E. Brigand

Feb 8 2018, 11:41pm

Post #14 of 14 (3623 views)
Guy Gavriel Kay prefers "The Language of the Night". [In reply to] Can't Post

You can read why Christopher Tolkien's collaborator on The Silmarillion chose that book here, along with the choices of four other Canadian writers.


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