‘The Other Wind’ by Ursula K. Le Guin

It can’t be said enough: Le Guin’s writing is amazing. I just read The Other Wind, the last Earthsea novel. Le Guin pieces together nearly unremarkable clauses into unforgettable tapestries, writing with every bit of subtle power one would expect from the words of Hemingway. Observe: Tehanu was off her horse, had tossed the reins…

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Rachel Neumeier got me thinking with her blog entry about bringing out the best old books into the spotlight, because I love telling people about The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.
It’s from 1974, and it’s a real gem. The writing style has the mythic weightiness similar to Ursula K. Le Guin’s prose, with every sentence feeling like a fragment of a dark, ancient legend. The magic in the story is beautiful and fascinating. The scenes are as exciting as they are intimate.
Overall, it’s a very thoughtful book, and it features an unforgettable heroin. For a fantasy story, I really think it was ahead of its time in terms of writing style and character complexity. It’s hard to find a better book.
The best part is how well The Forgotten Beasts of Eld holds up over time. Whenever I pour myself into those old pages (my copy is older than I am and pretty well-traveled) I get sucked into the mystery and the magic all over again. Not a lot of books can keep giving like that.

A True Story About My Wedding

(There might be a few embellishments. My memory isn’t perfect.) As Christine and I prepared for our first dance, we took our place on the makeshift dance floor and waited. She in her wedding dress, and I in my rented tux. But the dramatic pause went on for too long–little did we know that something…

Roadtrips and Restrooms

The following things happened when I joined my friend Jared on a trip to Arkansas to help our friend Andrew move the last of his stuff to his new place in Texas.   –During a pit stop, Jared points and says, “Andrew just came out of the women’s bathroom!” Andrew blinked in response, but offered…

Father’s Day Grammer Check

I always do grammar quizzes when I see them for the same reason athletes pick up weights and put them back down: it’s the only way I’ll get better. Grammarly has, hands down, the most outstanding Father’s Day related grammar quiz ever. (Competition is probably not very steep for that particular hyperbole.) //cdn.playbuzz.com/widget/feed.js They have…

Anyone Else Sleep Better During Storms?

Thunder feels like home. I’m from the country, a little place that’s only marked by a single sign that you might see going in our out. (It says “Caviness.”) As a boy, one of my favorite things was watching the clouds outside my window during storms. And, let me tell you, we had some storms.…

The Little People I Discovered in Chattanooga, Tennessee

On my last trip, the wife and I visited Tennessee and everyone told me I was tall. Even though I’ve been getting that comment all of my life, It happened a lot more often during this trip.  Maybe in Texas people are expected to be huge, I don’t know, but I felt like a sideshow…

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and Why I’m Happy to be a Loser

I’m thirty-two years old. Last week, I got into a Totally Serious Conversation about whether or not Batman could beat Superman. (He can’t.) Yes, I know about Batman’s kryptonite ring.  I read about it in this comic. Go away. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy last Friday night with my wife. She’s not a loser,…

The Inquisition of Jonny ("Come and Knock on Our Door…")

When I met Jonny, it wasn’t because I wanted to get to know people or make friends. No. It was because he was dating my college friend, Jennifer, and it was time to sniff him out. The meet went down at IHOP. A few of us from Jennifer’s college days were there. We looked him…