Category Archives: 2020 Book Reviews

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 65: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Sometimes you can listen to an author explain what made them write a novel and it changes your mind about reading that book.  This was the case for A Wizard of Earthsea, the first book of Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Leguin. I recently watched the documentary called The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin on Amazon Prime. It covered Le Guin’s career and she explained how the Earthsea Cycle came together.  I found it interesting that she wanted to have a person of color as her protagonist and at that time in 1968, there was no fantasy novels with that kind of person as the main character.

I decided to try A Wizard of Earthsea for a second time.  It was the story of a young wizard named Ged and his journey in a world of archipelagos.  Ged was also known as the Sparrowhawk has the power to become the greatest sorcerer in this world.  However, he had to reconcile with the darkness inside of him along a with a rival sorcerer and a powerful dragon as he moved towards his destiny.

This is a beloved novel by many readers of fantasy literature and has earned its place in the canon of the genre.  I don’t have much to add that anyone else has written before.  However, I will state that I appreciate Le Guin adding a diverse cast in a high fantasy at the time the publisher could have demanded she have a white male protagonist instead. Also, the world building is stellar and the main reason I kept reading the novel.  Le Guin is a master world builder and she understands that’s the foundation for imaginative fiction.

I know this is the first book of the series, but I could not connect with Ged on any level in the story. I was able to read the story without any attachment to him as a protagonist.  I don’t need to relate to him in a manner that he could be someone I know in real life.  However, I wanted some kind of connection to him as a human being and it did not happen for me in this novel.

I liked that the power of magic came from naming instead of some talisman or other supernatural feature.  I can tell that was different for the genre in the late 1960s when the novel was published.  Also, I enjoyed the fact the story was not about war and the overthrowing of a kingdom. That has been done repeatedly in fantasy and has never been the reason why I read the genre.

There are some books you get reader enjoyment from and will become your favorites on that level. There are other books you can appreciate for its artistry and the influence it has on a genre.  A Wizard of Earthsea is the latter case for me. I will never consider it as a favorite book on a reading enjoyment level. However, as a fantasy reader (and writer) it’s essential for me to read and dissect why it has connected with some many readers in the half century since it has been published. I’m going to read the entire series and see how Ged grows throughout the books. Thank you Ursula Le Guin for writing a series of books that helped change my favorite genre for the better.

 

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 63: The Practice by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is becoming one of my favorite public thinkers. I read his blog daily and listen to his podcast, Akimbo, as often I can.  Also, I have read several of his books like Tribes, Permission Marketing, and This Is Marketing.  He’s had a pulse on the business world for over three decades. His latest… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 62: The Ancient Child by N. Scott Momaday

I have shared many times on this blog I read for story, characters, setting, and what an author is trying to say about life. Story is my reading language.  I don’t put down many books once I read them.  However, if there’s no story, I’m out as a reader.  I will admit that I don’t… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 60: Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

What if your family tried to keep their connection to a powerful magic away from you? What happens when you find out that your family is connected to that magic for years? Sierra Santiago learns about her family’s connection to a powerful magic in Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, the first book of the Shadowshaper… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 59: How To Be An Artist by Jerry Saltz

Podcasts have become my other favorite platform for content alongside books.  I can listen to a podcast on various subjects and the long form interview from 30 minutes up to 2 hours is an excellent way to go deep on a topic. The Dave Chang Show is one of my favorite podcasts and a regular… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 58: Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya

One of the great joys of reading fiction is when you get a novel that makes want to read on after you finished it.  There are a lot of novels I have enjoyed reading, but once I close the book or eBook (these days) then I’m done with it.  Well, Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya is… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 57: Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

Signs Preceding The End of The World by Yuri Herrera is the first novel about the US-Mexico Border I can remember reading.  I read Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy years ago but it did not deal directly with the current issues about the border. This book came to my attention during the controversy surrounding the novel… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 56: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to not do everything just right. It’s okay to be who you are….imperfections included. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown brings the importance of imperfection home in this book.  I read Brown’s Daring Greatly last month and it was recommend that I read The Gifts of Imperfection… Continue Reading