Saturday, May 4, 2019

Book Blogger Hop May 3rd - May 9th: "305" Is a 2008 Movie About Five Spartans Assigned to Guard a Goat Path

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Which book do you wish you'd written?

A Wizard of Earthsea

I definitely would pick a book by Ursula K. Le Guin. I've made no secret of my love of Le Guin's writing, although Le Guin poses something of a problem for answering this question because there are so very many excellent books of hers to choose from. I would be completely satisfied with having written The Lathe of Heaven, or The Left Hand of Darkness, or The Word for World Is Forest, or any number of other books, but I am going to pick A Wizard of Earthsea because it is one of the books that formed my understanding of what fantasy fiction can be.

My foundational fantasy authors were J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and Ursula K. Le Guin. These three authors, for better or worse, shaped my view of what constitutes fantasy fiction. While I still adore Tolkien and Alexander, their fiction is more or less an outgrowth of previously existing British mythical roots. Tolkien's fantasy is heavily influence by Anglo-Saxon and Scandanavian myth, and Alexander's primary work of fiction is based in large part on Welsh myth. Le Guin's fiction, on the other hand, is more expansive, and breaking free of the Eurocentric rut that fantasy fiction so often falls into. She changed my view of what fantasy fiction could be with her Earthsea series, and the book that started that off was A Wizard of Earthsea. Le Guin showed me that fantasy fiction could move beyond Western-based tropes.

It also doesn't hurt that A Wizard of Earthsea is a brilliant story. It is simultaneously an excellent coming of age story, an example of superior world-building, and a fantasy quest that somehow hits all of the expected notes while being unpredictable at the same time. The book is beautifully written while remaining accessible to juvenile readers. It is, to put it bluntly, a masterful piece of fiction.

And those are the reasons why this is the book I wish I had written.

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