The Big Read Blog (Archive)

A Wizard of Earthsea

When I was young, most of the books I read were fantasy novels, as I was easily whisked away by wizards, talking animals, and castles in imaginary lands. I’m not sure when I started favoring more realistic fiction, but when I saw that Ursula Le Guin’s novel, A Wizard of Earthsea was on our Big Read...
Caricature of Ursula K. Le Guin by John Sherffius In Ursula K. Le Guin's trailblazing fantasy novel, A Wizard of Earthsea , many lessons are imparted on the acolyte, Ged, about how to live in a world marked by light and dark, good and evil. At one point, the sage Ogion the Silent tells Ged: "But...
Ursula K. Le Guin. Image by Marian Wood Kolisch Ursula K. Le Guin radically transformed the power and integrity of fantasy fiction when she flipped the idea of race on its head in her landmark work, A Wizard of Earthsea . As writer Walter Mosley observes in our Big Read audio documentary about...
The map of Earthsea, used courtesy of Ursula Le Guin The map of Earthsea is used courtesy of its designer, the incomparable Ursula K. Le Guin. Ursula K. Le Guin wasn?t the first writer to send a wizard to school, but she was the first to describe the experience. A Wizard of Earthsea provided a...
Washington, DC Book cover image used courtesy of Random House. A Wizard of Earthsea has been read by adoring fans for 40 years. Writers Walter Mosley, Pico Iyer, Michael Dirda, and Michael Chabon weigh in on why A Wizard of Earthsea will stand the test of time. [audio: http://bigreadblog.arts.gov//...
Washington, DC "The Teacher" by Kevin Dooley via Flickr While you may not be able to judge a book by its cover, sometimes you can tell an awful lot about a book from its first line. Or can you? Here are the first lines from five of the titles in The Big Read library. Can you guess which novels...
Park University was recently lucky enough to have book critic Michael Dirda kick-off its Big Read with tips on reading and appreciating Marilynne Robinson?s Housekeeping . In the excerpts from an interview with the NEA below, Michael Dirda provides the reader some tips for understanding the writing...
Washington, DC "Woman reading under wisteria" by Simon Blackley via Flickr ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/sblackley/ / CC BY-ND 2.0 ) I'm sure I'm not the only one who has heard people say they don't read fiction because they'd rather read about "real" life. But it seems to me that even the most...
Washington, DC Ursula K. Le Guin visited Timberland Regional Library as part of their community's Big Read of her fantasy classic A Wizard of Earthsea . Photo courtesy of the library. Happy 80th Birthday to Ursula K. Le Guin! Here's Le Guin---whose rendering of a student-wizard in A Wizard of...