Reading Guides, VOLUME 10

Ursula Le Guin – Introductory Reading Guide

This week marks the birthday of novelist Ursula Le Guin.  In honor of the occasion, we offer this introductory reading guide to her work.

We’ve ordered this list in the order that we think the books should be read, and we offer a brief explanation of why each book was included. We’ve included excerpts of most the books via Google Books.

7.  Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore – Book 1)

Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. Wondrous gifts: the ability–with a glance, a gesture, a word–to summon animals, bring forth fire, move the land. Fearsome gifts: They can twist a limb, chain a mind, inflict a wasting illness. The Uplanders live in constant fear that one family might unleash its gift against another. Two young people, friends since childhood, decide not to use their gifts. One, a girl, refuses to bring animals to their death in the hunt. The other, a boy, wears a blindfold lest his eyes and his anger kill.

In this beautifully crafted story, Ursula K. Le Guin writes of the proud cruelty of power, of how hard it is to grow up, and of how much harder still it is to find, in the world’s darkness, gifts of light.
 




 

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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