WWWednesday: Run My Life

You can win the entire Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Leguin.

The only thing more annoying than Christmas commercials earlier than Halloween is the inevitable Hobbitization of everything, including things that shouldn’t be Hobbitized.

There are only two links today because I’m trying something new. And these links are my way of foreshadowing.

I’m going to ‘fess up, here.

I hate Earthsea. Hahahahaa, I said it. I read the first book and I thought it was boring and stupid.

Second confession, I have never read Lord of the Rings. I started reading it and I couldn’t get past Tom Bombadil. I thought he was crazy and stupid.

Both of these experiences were in my teens. In an attempt to see if my reading tastes have matured, and so the other reviewers will stop picking on me for not liking LeGuin, and my shame at never having read the most important fantasy trilogy of all time, I am going to read one of these books.

And here’s the fun part, I’m going to let you decide! Vote in the comments below, and I’ll read the book you choose. If I like it, I may read the other one. If I don’t, I won’t.

Depending on how this goes, I may let you all make other decisions for me in the future. Crowdsourcing, it’s a thing.

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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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  1. BatGirl /

    OMG, you ripped the thoughts from my head. I try and try and try to like both of these and I just can’t. I cant stay awake for the movie versions either. Always makes me feel like a fantasy poser.

    However you are braver than I, I dont crowdsource my reading, not enough time in the day to red what I want, why waste it on what I dont like?

  2. Go Wizard. Sparse, character-driven, thoughtful, good pay-off, less time, easier to get into I’d say.

  3. Tolkien. It’s more essential. But, of course, I think you must read both. Le Guin can do in one sentence what it takes lesser authors ten pages to do, and still she does it better.

  4. I never could get into Earthsea either, I didn’t like the main character enough to care about what happens next so I got bored and moved on.

    As far as LOTR, Tom Bombadil is the largest piece of whimsy in the whole series and not even terribly indicative of the rest of the story, if he is what made you stop I’d suggest going back and ignoring him altogether. He’s also only a very small part of the story, if that helps any. I haven’t re-read it since I was a teenager though back then I’d re-read it every year.

  5. Lord of the Rings. Probably my favorite series of all time and what turned me on to the fantasy genre.

  6. I have it on good authority that many English majors have never really read Beowulf. That said, I vote for Lord of the Rings. Left Hand of Darkness might be a good LeGuin book to start with.

  7. Tolkien. Read it.

  8. Tom Bombadil? Skipped it along with *all* the poetry and songs. Has to be LOTR.

  9. sandyg265 /

    I could never get into Earthsea either. Read LOTR

  10. Ohboy. That’s a hard choice. I have to admit I did like Lord of the Rings more than Earthsea. But I didn’t dislike Earthsea. I didn’t love it either. So I guess I’m voting Rings. It’s okay if you skim too. It’s a big long-winded.

  11. While I love Earthsea, I guess I’ll have to vote LOTR, but I could easily vote either way.

  12. Is it bad to admit that I actually liked Tom Bombadil? And his wife Goldberry? Of course I was about 12 at the time, and may have been influenced by Peter Beagle’s review in which he praised the character. Still, upon reflection I may have to split my vote and suggest that you go back and re-read both, if you have time. Which, if your life is like mine, you probably don’t…

  13. Kieran /

    Earthsea. Le Guin is a better writer, her world more accessible and yet more alien. Her methaphors are more subtle and stick with you. Her writing is consistent while Tolkien’s is all over the place.


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