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The official Worldsmyths book club!

  1. What's new in this club
  2. I would actually also suggest that we would discuss at least 1 arc of Worm (parahumans.wordpress.com) because the writing is just really great. I still haven't finished the complete story because it has like 32 arcs or something, and every arc is about the size of a novel, some are bigger or smaller than others. There's also the We've got Worm podcast which dissects the webserial as they're going through an arc week by week. By now they've gone on to be We've got Ward (cause Ward is the sequel). This is the kind of writing that I would really recommend others to read and study because Wildbow manages to convey so much with his writing, even when he wrote the story basically in real time, posting a new chapter every week I believe. There are just all these layers present that some writers never even manage to put in there when they have years to write a novel.
  3. Hello and welcome to the Worldsmyths Book Club! This is a very relaxed and laid-back Book Club that aims to provide reading opportunities to the wonderful members of Worldsmyths. It also gives us the chance to read the same book and share our thoughts on the book. How does the Book Club work? The Book Club gathers book recommendations from members and then a poll is put up to choose the book. The book with the most votes is selected as the next book for the Book Club. An introduction topic is posted for the book, and it'll include general information about the book as well as links to all of the discussion topics and any related topics (such as the favourite quotes topic, etc). We will aim to have at least two discussion threads for each book. Our first book had 10 chapters and was originally going to have discussion topics for Ch 1, Ch 1-4, Ch 1-7 and Ch 1-10. However, we realised this was a bit too much so we actually ended up having discussion topics for Ch 1, Ch 1-4 and Ch 1-10. For the future, we really want to know what members prefer in terms of the number and spacing of discussion topics so let us know in the comments below! You are free to join the Book Club at any time and you can pick any of the books that we have in our Book Club 'library' (i.e. the Book Club forum). All of our books are also listed below. You can read at your own pace and join the discussion topics whenever you're ready. The discussion topics will have optional questions to prompt discussion, but you can respond with whatever you want (avoid spoilers unless it's necessary in which case use spoiler tags). When is the next book coming? As of November 2018, I can't say exactly when. Perhaps when NaNoWriMo 2018 is done? Hopefully we'll have a few more people read our first book before we branch out to the next one, but don't worry, there will be a thread requesting book suggestions and then there'll be the vote so you won't miss it. Am I too late to read the first book/the previous book? No you're definitely not! You can read any of the books at any time! If you happen to be a quick reader, you might find that you read it faster than the person in charge of the book can post up the discussion topics, but hopefully you won't have to wait long. Also, if you're a slow reader or struggling for time, you shouldn't feel pressured at all! The discussion topics will not be going away and just because they're all up, doesn't mean you need to rush to finish the book. The important thing is that you read it at your own pace and in whatever time works for your time commitments! I want to post my own discussion thread to discuss something specific relating to one of the Book Club books - is that okay? Yes, that's absolutely fine! You're more than welcome to post your own topic. Please use the book title in the subject of your post and drop a comment in the introduction topic for that book so that we can add a link to your topic in the general thread to help others find your topic. Can I suggest a book? Yes, you can, however, it's best if you wait for when we're looking for suggestions for the next book. Because this is a slower paced Book Club (at least compared to most face-to-face and online Book Clubs), we won't be taking on loads of new books per year. Can I offer suggestions for the Book Club in general? Yes, please! You can post in this thread - we'd love to hear what you think about it and if you think there's anything we can do better. What books are available? A list of all our Book Club books is included below with a link to the introduction topic for that book. This will help you find some information about the book and links to all the related discussion topics. [*]A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin - Link [*][TBC - late 2018] We hope you enjoy our selection of books and we hope you find the discussion topics useful and fun! If you have any other questions, feel free to post in this topic!
  4. Hi all! I just wanted to say I've edited the first post in this topic just to clarify a few matters and to include all the links because finally all of the discussion topics have been put up! :D
  5. This discussion topic covers the whole book so, if you haven't finished the book and you don't want to get spoiled, don't read ahead! Welcome to the final discussion topic for A Wizard of Earthsea. This book can cover your thoughts on the whole book or you can use it to discuss parts that happened after Chapter 4. Originally we were thinking of having a discussion topic for everything up to Chapter 7. However, the book is not that long and we didn't want to have too many discussion topics so we thought it would be better to skip the discussion topic for Chapter 7 and go straight to the end of the book! As always, here are some optional questions to guide your thoughts and to encourage discussion on particular points, but feel free to post whatever you want! You can also include a full review of the book if you would like! What did you think of the book when you reached the end? Did your opinion of any of the characters change? Did you enjoy the plot? What was your favourite part? Why do you think Vetch comes along with Ged on his final journey to confront the Shadow? What is their relationship like (i.e. Ged's and Vetch's relationship)? What do you think of the evil in this book (the Shadow)? What did you think of the encounter with the dragon who was not the main evil in the book but clearly wasn't a paragon of selflessness? A Wizard of Earthsea is essentially a coming-of-age story (also called a Bildungsroman). A coming-of-age story "focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood". What do you think of coming-of-age stories in general? Have you read an other ones or have you written one? How does A Wizard of Earthsea compare? Le Guin's style is quite different from modern fantasy books. As was mentioned by some of the book club members, there's a lot of telling and less showing. How did this affect your reading experience? I've found two contrasting reviews of the book. In particular, both reviewers comment on Le Guin's style and have different opinions on this. Which review aligns more with your view? Having read both reviews, did either of the reviews make you think about something differently? I've included some short snippets (relating to their thoughts on style) in spoiler tags below in case you don't have the chance to read the full reviews (but I highly recommend reading the full reviews because it's very interesting to see what two different people have said about the book you've just read). You can find the full reviews here: Goodreads comment by J.G. Keely posted on 15 December 2007 and David Mitchell's review in The Guardian posted on 23 October 2015. [spoiler= J.G. Keely's review] As is often the case in her work, we get poignant asides on human nature, but overall, her depiction here is less novel than in, for example, the Hainish cycle. There is something flat in the plot progression, and as has been the case with every Le Guin book I have read, I found myself longing for her to take things a little further, to expand and do something risky. Often she seems just on the cusp, but rarely takes the step. Part of the flatness is the depiction of the characters, who fall victim to the 'show, don't tell' problem. Again and again, we are told of conversations characters had, of how they reacted, of whether they were clever or unsettling, but we never actually see these conversations take place. Many times, the conversations would not have taken any longer to read than the descriptions of them, so why Le Guin chose to leave so much of her story as an outline of action is puzzling and disappointing. Fundamentally, what characters do is not interesting. What they do does not differentiate them. What is most important is how they do it--their emotional response, their choice of words, the little pauses and moments of doubt. At the end of the day, the four musketeers are all men in the same uniform, with mustaches, dueling and warring and seducing women, but they each go about these things in such distinct ways that we could never mistake one for the other. [spoiler=David Mitchell's review] Style and voice are the Scylla and Charybdis of fantasy novels, where many authors of duller literary gifts than Le Guin’s come undone. Quality writing within genre is harder, not easier, because the ground is so mined with cliche. A cod-historic narratorial voice in a fantasy novel feels like being locked inside a medieval theme park; neologisms will jar – one use of “totally awesome” will puncture a fantasy world; but a studied neutrality of style tastes like clingfilm. What is needed is a high-wire balancing act, which Le Guin pulls off with deceptive effortlessness. Ged’s story is told with the calm authority of an age-old Icelandic saga, yet stitched here and there with passages of pure beauty for its own sake. Like this one, when Ged arrives at a School for Wizards (three decades before one H Potter) on the island of Roke and encounters the Archmage: {quote from book not included in snippet} Metaphors and similes are scarce enough to burn vividly when they do appear, and dialogue is sparing. Descriptions of people and places are rich enough to nourish the reader’s imagination, but frugal enough to allow it to collaborate in the act of creation. Earthsea’s accents and dialects are referred to but not reproduced on the page, and Le Guin eschews wide variations of tone or register. Dialogue contains warmth and humour, but no knowing wisecracks. There are moments of foreshadowing and authorial omniscience but no tricks. Consequently, A Wizard of Earthsea reads like the retelling of a tale first told centuries ago, and whose twists and turns have been handed down through generations of storytellers. It is timeless.
  6. That's a great idea, and that's what we're aiming for with this Book Club. All the books that we read will remain available for new members to pick up whenever they want and although we might retire some of the old ones at some point, I don't think we're in any rush to do that until they've been around for a year or more and nobody has responded in a while. We didn't have that much interest in A Wizard of Earthsea (and it was the one that won the poll which is why it was selected) so I think we should be a bit hesitant about introducing several books at the same time, particularly since the Book Club is still quite new and we're trying to drum up activity in general on the site but don't want to be too intimidating. People are quite busy on the site and I'm not sure we have enough members to warrant having two new books start at the same time. At least now in the beginning we should maybe start a bit slower - later we can have a a 'classic' and a 'modern' work starting at the same time. (Ironically A Wizard of Earthsea was the second shortest book that was suggested in the last poll so it definitely falls in the shorter category!). But don't worry - we can start thinking of the next book soon and you're very welcome to suggest some books! Last time I asked people to suggest books in a topic and then I pulled together the summaries and page numbers and then we did a poll and the book with the most votes got selected. If you have any further good suggestions for a better way to do this thing, we're definitely open to hearing them and I'll post a topic asking for process suggestions before we settle on the next book. :D
  7. Another suggestion, maybe we could have two books going at the same time? Like one more intense/classic like Earthsea and something a bit easier/shorter so people have an option to choose? That might get a bit cluttered in the forum but I think it could work, especially since there is no set schedule and people can participate as they have time.
  8. Penguinball[/member] - that's a great suggestion thank you! It's actually our goal to have the book club discussion topics up and existing so people can join at any time and post at any time. I've just been away for over a month so haven't had a chance to finish the last discussion topic for A Wizard of Earthsea, but will aim to get to it very soon! When I've got that final topic up and running, I'm going to edit this post to make it very clear that people can join at any time, can read at their own pace and can respond to the discussion topics as they want. And then maybe after we've given people a chance to read A Wizard of Earthsea, we could consider the next book? We don't want to overwhelm people - I really want this Book Club to be a very open and non-stressful event that encourages interesting discussion. I think for the next book for the Book Club, we'll need to have a quick discussion thread about how many discussion topics people want to (what we found with A Wizard of Earthsea is that four is a bit too much so we're going to skip the one that was planned for 3/4 of the way through the book and will go straight to the final discussion thread) and when people want to see those topics (i.e. all ready there at once so people who read fast can respond to everything or some time between them so people don't feel pressured that they're reading too slow). Aanyway, thanks for the reminder! I definitely need to finish up A Wizard of Earthsea and sort out this intro thread to make it clear that people can still join in at any time (even after we've picked book 2 in my opinion). I've got some great discussion ideas for the final topic, but just need to re-read bits to remind myself what on earth I was going to write about it. :D
  9. I just discovered this part of the site and want to say I would be down for another book club read through. Maybe we could set it up so all the chapter subforums are up from the get go, so people can read ahead and post their thoughts as they go without waiting for others to catch up, less upkeep required for the mods. Oh yes and speaking of Earthsea, would people be interested in doing a movie comparison with the books to the Studio Ghibli version? I'm told they are very different but it could still be fun.
  10. Yeah, I think you're right. :-\ I do really think this can still work, but I think we need to work some kinks out with the amount of time between books, possibly...but on the other hand, people are always going to be busy. Hm. We can make this work, I think, we'll just have to experiment.
  11. Jedi Knight Muse[/member] - You might be right that it's the book. I didn't vote for it because I had already read it, but when it won, I thought it perhaps could work because it was one of the shortest options. I think maybe timing was an issue too because the Million Challenge was just starting/had started so maybe people didn't have a chance. Ahryantah[/member] - I'm so glad to hear that you liked it! I really liked it too. I haven't been part of a book club in a long time and I love discussing books with people. Also, I'm sitting here chuckling to myself because I thought I was being really slow with posting the threads! I've been feeling bad for the past two weeks because I haven't had a chance to post chapters 7 and the last thread! So it's amusing to discover that readers felt rushed to read because I posted earlier! That definitely wasn't my intention. I thought I was clear about there not being a deadline (there still isn't a deadline - anyone can join at any time and take as long as they want), but next time I'll try to be even clearer that there's absolutely no deadline and everyone can read at their own pace. I'm glad you agree that two threads is probably easier. We'll try that next time! I think I was aiming too much for a traditional book club where you meet in person say once a week or once every two weeks, but I think having an early thoughts thread and then a final thoughts thread is probably easier for an online format. Also, I'm so happy to hear you found the questions useful, I tried to take time to think about things that would be interesting. So perhaps we should have another book vote in May? My only worry is that because people have such limited time, I'm worried we'll vote for a really long book, which will put a lot of people off. Well, we can see what books people nominate next time. (: In any case, I'm glad there's still some interest!
  12. Aw. :( I really liked participating in the book club. I do kind of want to try again, maybe this time with a book that's a little easier to get hooked into? A Wizard of Earthsea is a classic and also fairly short, but it's a bit antiquated and the dry narration can be off-putting. I think the story really picks up around chapter four, but the chapters before that can be a chore to get through, at least in my opinion. It might also help to have a longer reading period, as we all have multiple demands on our time and having just a month to read a book can be daunting, even if you're already a regular reader. I average about ten books a month, but that's just incidental; I never give myself a deadline (well, if they're library books they do have a deadline). Even with the amount I read I still found having only a month for this book club daunting, because I also still want to read other stuff, and I have to balance that with work, my own writing, my other hobbies, etc. I'm pretty sure I only finished because this particular book is so short. So maybe we could do one book every two or three months, to give people more time to read and gather their thoughts? I did feel like having a separate thread for just chapter one, then another for 2-4, was a little excessive. I can see the rationale behind it: get people's initial impressions after the first chapter, then get into the meat of the story, but there was something about it that didn't quite work for me (but I loved the discussion questions! They helped focus my thoughts, even when I ended up not really answering them in my replies). For me, personally, it felt a little overwhelming, because the chapters 2-4 post went up before I had finished chapter one, and I got that weird feeling of despair that I was already falling behind. I know that's not true, but my brain freaks out at things like that. I almost think it would be better to post all the discussion threads at once, and people can reply to the appropriate ones at their leisure. Or at the very least I can, without feeling like I'm being rushed along before I've really started. But that's just something I think would work for me. I'd like to know what other people think. And also that might make it more difficult to come up with discussion questions, unless the person writing the questions has already read the whole book. So, in that case, maybe it would work to do as you said, have an early discussion post, then a later one for the finished book? It's something to try.
  13. For what it's worth, I don't think it's the idea of a book club itself that's not working- I think there's still a chance at it working out- but I think that maybe the book choice was, kinda surprisingly, not the best choice? Like...I have had 0 interest, personally, in wanting to read more of Earthsea, and it sucks because it's such a short book and I really shouldn't have had any issues with getting into and actually finishing it. But I also haven't been reading for pleasure lately, period, so maybe it's not just the book itself, either. I think we can still try to do this, if there's still an interest...just maybe with a different book? Maybe keep it as an 'open' book, like still do the discussion posts for it or whatever, but just move on to a different book that may have a bigger chance of discussion and interest than this one did.
  14. Hi all! Thank you so much to everyone who posted so far and congrats to Ahryantah for posting the most (and finishing the book)! I think this experiment has shown us that maybe this isn't the right time for a Book Club? I think it'll be easiest if I skip the chapter 7 check-in and just post the final "I've read the whole book" thread. I've got some good ideas for discussion topics for the final thread (and I've found two contrasting reviews and I think it would be interesting to hear people's comments on them!) so we can still continue the good discussions. We can leave up the chapter 1 thread and the chapters 1-4 thread so if and when people pick up this book they're able to comment, but I won't post a chapters 1-7 thread. I'm very sorry for the delays with posting things! I thought it might help to give people some time (plus I've been very busy), but it seems like it's probably not going to work out, at least with this format. If there's any feedback that people want to give, feel free to share it here! In particular, Ahryantah[/member] how have you found it? Were the optional questions helpful? Do you agree that having four threads is perhaps a bit too much? Would it be best to have something that's early on in the book for early impressions and then a thread for finishing the book? I'll aim to post the discussion thread for the full book this week (latest this weekend) so look out for that! Don't forget, these threads are always open so even if you've only started reading now, feel free to join in and share your thoughts in the threads!
  15. Having finished the book now, I feel like I understand Vetch a bit better as a person, though I still don't quite get his motivation for becoming friends with Ged (I think you're on to something describing him as a "fixer" type, though). I also found it interesting that (spoilers for later chapters) I have read this book before, but I didn't remember much from it, as it turns out (I think I was confusing it with later books in the series), so it was almost like reading it new! I didn't touch on the no women thing, though I definitely noticed it. That was actually what drove me away from finishing the series several years ago when I first started reading them. It seems strange, given that Le Guin is known for some more progressive stuff, but this book in particular was written early in her career. I've read some interviews and essays written by Le Guin, and I know she was aware of the sexism, and that it was an awareness that came with time, and also something that she tried to fix in later books. That knowledge still wasn't enough to get me past the third book of the Earthsea Cycle, sadly. Maybe someday.
  16. Those are both great quotes! I've already returned my copy of the book to the library, and I didn't make note of quotes I liked. I'll be sure to do that next time.
  17. Feel free to share any of your favourite quotes from our first Book Club book below! Some of my favourites so far are: [spoiler=Chapter 1] "He grew wild, a thriving weed, a tall, quick boy, loud and proud and full of temper." Chapter 1 - Warriors in the Mist [spoiler=Chapter 4] "Once in that court he had felt himself to be a word spoken by the sunlight. Now the darkness also had spoken: a word that could not be unsaid." Chapter 4 - The Loosing of the Shadow
  18. I like your comments Ahryantah[/member] ! I've shared some thoughts in my answers to the prompt questions below and then I've responded to a couple of your comments directly. What do you think about the theme of education/learning that we've seen so far? How does Ged's time with Ogion compare to what he learns at the school? How do the teaching styles differ? How does this school compare to other schools you've read in fantasy books (e.g. in Harry Potter, Patrick Rothfuss's Name of the Wind, Trudi Canavan's The Magician's Guild, Garth Nix's Sabriel, etc)? Have you written about a school in any of your works - how does your school compare to Ged's school? Why are there no women? This is my first question. I know it's a different world, etc, but that fact just felt like a bit of a slap in the face. So the only women we've seen/heard about with power are his aunt and Lord Ogion's wife who is an enchantress and her daughter who is "half a witch already". In any case, that aside, I like the different disciplines that they teach. I also really like the Master Namer who lives far away and doesn't say very much. What do you think about the people that Ged meets at the school? How do Vetch and Jasper affect Ged? Do you think Jasper is actually annoying or is it more about how Ged perceives him? Now that I re-read it, I felt like Ged's first meeting with Jasper went wrong partly because of how Ged perceived him. We're told that Jasper "greeted him very courteously, bowing his head". Yes, his manners must seem outlandish to Ged, but what he says is actually just very politely. To me it felt like it was part of Ged's arrogance that made him think that Jasper was scoffing at him. Perhaps if he'd been more timid or humble, his reaction to this kind of strange behaviour would have been embarrassment. I feel like Jasper only turns disdainful because Ged is being rude to him. I think it's only when Jasper challenges him first on Roke Knoll that I see that he's someone who likes to provoke. How does Ged change over the course of the first four chapters? Do you find it believable? Has your opinion of him changed/have you now formed a clearer opinion? I like the hunger in him. He's barely whet is appetite with Ogion and clearly wants more and more. Part of it must be a natural drive, but I think part of it is his need to constantly be better, and not just better, but be the best. I think these four chapters show part of his progress really well. He starts off as a boy who is disliked and keeps to himself, but clearly has power. Then he's Ogion's impatient apprentice. Then he's learning so much, but still thinks there's something more out there. He's so talented and develops so fast, but clearly isn't developing the emotional maturity that he needs to balance this power. I really like the tension building up to the moment the shadow is summoned - all the snide remarks, the bitterness that grows in Ged as he watches Jasper amaze their guests with his powers. I think the contrast between the night of revelry and the way he is after it (like a beaten dog?) is a bit like a punch in the stomach. Instead of becoming a great wizard, he's just grateful that he can go somewhere far away to hide. Now that we've seen more of the magic, do you have any further thoughts about it? What do you think about the shadow? I think the fact that the Master Namer's lessons are so different from the other lessons really shows that mastery in this type of magic is achieved only through tedious and difficult work. It's basically just memorising names and words. Then there's also the beautiful lesson with the rock and the jewel - "To light a candle is to cast a shadow". Finally, what do you think about the book so far? If you weren't hooked from the start, are you now hooked or are you still waiting to be impressed? I think this is where it's really started to pick up for me and I found that I was halfway through chapter 5 before I remembered that this discussion thread is for chapters 1 - 5. Ahryantah[/member] - thank you for bringing up the point about Vetch. I hadn't thought about him at all in that way. I think I just took him as a given fixture of the story and didn't think of him as a separate character. I definitely agree that it seems strange that Vetch spent time with Ged and Jasper. Although he does seem like the "kind-hearted best friend", I think there's also an element of a fixer in him. You know those people who just naturally gravitate to people who are trouble because they want to fix them. I don't know if Jasper and Vetch arrived at the same time, but perhaps they work a lot together? That's a bit more of a mystery. But I think Vetch and Ged gravitated towards each other because they're both from a smaller rural place although Vetch does seem to love his home more than Ged loves Gont, but they're both from a more humble background and it's noted that Vetch's "manners were not polished". He's also a bit of a police character as he tries to stop Ged from challenging Jasper so perhaps he sees the friction between them and feels like it's his place to try to diffuse the situation (again - one of those fixer people who gravitate towards people with troubles). However, I agree with you that Vetch is a bit of a mystery. Jasper we understand and his purpose his clear, but I feel like there should've been some detail that gives Vetch a reason to be friends with Jasper and Ged. Why doesn't he just get fed up with their ridiculous rivalry? Why doesn't he just focus on his studies, become a sorcerer and go off back to his home that he loves and misses?
  19. Thank you to everyone who has shared some thoughts on chapter 1! Ahryantah[/member] - I'm very glad you brought up the "show don't tell" rule. I think it's quite interesting that chapter 1 is almost completely narrative exposition, which just wouldn't fly with any publishers today. Yet, this book is widely thought of as a great example of fantasy. Clearly it could put some people off, but the way I tried to think about it was how were stories told before? This has the feel of one of those ancient tales that were told when everyone was gathered around a fire. I can imagine someone starting this story by talking about Gont and how it's known for its wizards. Of course, you then mention the hero of this particular tale. You know right from the start that you're going to to hear about someone who became "Dragonlord" and "Archmage", who said was the "greatest" and at least was the "Greatest voyager", and now you're about to hear "a tale of the time before his fame, before the songs were made". I think this conflict between "show don't tell" and trying to achieve a particular style (as if though retelling an epic?) is quite interesting and is definitely something to keep an eye on as we read on in the book. I'm sure people will have some thoughts about this by the time they get to the end of the story and it's a point we can bring up (I've dug up some reviews that take very different views on this point so we'll see what people have to say). tkz[/member] - I like how you said that the beginning was 'kind of there for me'. I had a similar feeling. I felt like, okay, we know what we're getting so let's sit down and see what happens. I agree that it could have done more to pull us in. Personally, I think I would have liked to see a little bit more action and feeling in the sections that discuss his life as he starts learning magic from his aunt. Also, it's interesting how he is willing to learn, and I'm keen to see whether this willingness changes in any way. Jedi Knight Muse[/member] - it definitely is a lot of info dumping in the start. If you do read more, feel free to join in some of the later threads. The first chapter is quite limiting and there's not that much you can get into yet.
  20. Okay! The heavy narrative style continues, so it wasn't just for the introductory chapter, though in these next few chapters we get some more dialogue and direct action. And wow, the relationships among Ged, Vetch, and Jasper kind of fascinate me, so I'm going to mostly talk about that. Ged irritated me greatly throughout these chapters, though he does get smacked down pretty quickly. He's arrogant and prideful, and of course can't stand to do the sensible or reasonable thing when someone has pushed his buttons. He's so easily manipulated that I just cringe and feel pity for him. This is a bit of a character type that I really don't like--I have no interest in reading about hot-tempered teenage boys who constantly do stupid things because they just can't walk away when someone is obviously goading them. It's an exhausting personality type in real life, and almost as tiring to read about in fiction. But he does get humbled pretty definitively by chapter four, so we'll see if any of that sticks now that he's a real sorceror out in the world. I'm not sure what to think about Jasper. I sort of took him at face value to begin with, and thought that Ged's assertion the guy was constantly mocking him to be the product of envy and Ged's own pride and arrogance. But by the time Jasper goads Ged into making his big mistake, there was definitely a maliciousness behind it (and Jasper has "graduated" by this point, too, and is a sorceror, so this has gone beyond schoolboy pranks). Was he malicious from the beginning, as Ged believed, or was it Ged's obvious envy and hatred of him that eventually made Jasper behave in kind? (Not saying Ged is responsible for Jasper being an ass, but if someone you're legitimately trying to be kind to just keeps treating you with suspicion and anger, after awhile you might just give up and start being crappy right back.) I think Jasper may have been lording it over Ged a bit at first (teasing the new kid, that kind of thing), but how far would it have gone if Ged's pride wasn't so easily wounded? It interested me, while reading, that Ged kept thinking of his "rivalry" with Jasper. How much of this was true, and how much was just in Ged's head? Jasper was an older student on the verge of finishing his studies while Ged was a beginner. How much of a rival could he be? Even as hard as Ged worked and how quickly he advanced, there was never a point where the two were on any kind of equal footing enough to be rivals. Did Jasper even realize how deep Ged's hatred of him went? Because I just can't see Jasper thinking of Ged as a rival, given the vast gap in knowledge and education between them when Ged started. Why would Jasper pay any attention to this arrogant little kid? So we come to Vetch, mutual friend to both Jasper and Ged, and maybe the reason those two even stayed within each other's orbit? I really have to wonder what Vetch saw in either character, to be honest. He seems too kind and humble to surround himself with people like Jasper--who certainly does look down on others--and, like with Jasper, I don't know why he paid any attention to the new apprentice beyond welcoming him to the school. What did he see in Ged that wanted him to make and remain friends with him? The book says Ged had no other friends because he spent all of his time studying and practicing, which says to me that Vetch probably put in most of the work to keep the friendship going. It sort of feels to me that Vetch is there just to fulfill the "kind-hearted best friend" trope instead of there being an organic reason why those two characters would have anything to do with each other. I can't say I'm hooked, though these chapters were more interesting than the first. It's a style of fantasy writing that feels too old hat, which I know is unfair because this is an old book and it can hardly be held responsible for how it comes across decades after it was written. But I am a little more invested in the world now, and interested in seeing where Ged goes and how he'll come across the shadow again.
  21. So I'm going to wait to answer all of the questions, but I just wanted to reply to something: Okay, so when I read the chapter, I was just like...does this count as "telling" and not "showing"? 'Cause if so, there's...A LOT of it. An entire chapter's worth. So I'm glad you brought this up. It was basically a ginormous info dump chapter. :-\ I'm thinking that if Le Guin had published the book now, there's no way it would have been published with it written as-is, because of the "rule" about "show, don't tell." I...admittedly haven't read any of it since finishing chapter one (and I think maybe a few pages into chapter two? I don't even know). I think the info dumping is what's made it hard for me to get into the story and want to keep reading it. :-\ I mean, I will, but it's taking a bit for me to want to do so. Though I also haven't been great at reading in general anyway (there are books I got for my birthday last year and still haven't read/finished reading...and my birthday is in a few days!). I really thought that because it's such a short book I would have read it at a quicker pace, but apparently not. XD I'll come back and reply to the rest of the questions at some point this week (hopefully).
  22. This discussion topic covers everything from the beginning of the book the end of chapter 4 ("The Loosing of the Shadow") Welcome back to the Book Club! Hope you've enjoyed the book so far and hopefully we can have a bit of a deeper chat because we've got more material to cover. Again, grab something to drink, grab some snacks and sit back into your favourite armchair. This discussion is for chapters 2 to chapters 4, but feel free to also discuss any observations from the first chapter that tie into what we're talking about. This can be an open-ended discussion so go ahead and bring up any points that you want to share with the group. If you're not quite sure where to start, you could use these questions as prompts: What do you think about the theme of education/learning that we've seen so far? How does Ged's time with Ogion compare to what he learns at the school? How do the teaching styles differ? How does this school compare to other schools you've read in fantasy books (e.g. in Harry Potter, Patrick Rothfuss's Name of the Wind, Trudi Canavan's The Magician's Guild, Garth Nix's Sabriel, etc)? Have you written about a school in any of your works - how does your school compare to Ged's school? Sub-question: why do you think Ged had to give his name to enter into the school? Sub-question: why do you think Gensher doesn't accept Ged's fealty? What do you think about the people that Ged meets at the school? How do Vetch and Jasper affect Ged? Do you think Jasper is actually annoying or is it more about how Ged perceives him? How does Ged change over the course of the first four chapters? Do you find it believable? Has your opinion of him changed/have you now formed a clearer opinion? Now that we've seen more of the magic, do you have any further thoughts about it? What do you think about the shadow? Finally, what do you think about the book so far? If you weren't hooked from the start, are you now hooked or are you still waiting to be impressed?
  23. Good idea Ally! Though if there's an existing thread that covers the section of the book where the spoiler is from, then if people can, I would encourage them to go post about it in that thread so everyone can discuss it without the threads descending into everything being hidden behind spoilers. I just wanted to say thank you to the two responses we've already got! I think it's great that you've shared your thoughts and I'm sorry for being slow with getting the next thread up! Work has just been a bit crazy, and I appreciate that by the time I get to posting the topic for everything up to the end of chapter 4 you may have read beyond it!! I will aim to get the chapter 4 topic up tomorrow, but it may have to wait until Friday. In the meantime, we'd love to have more people join the book club as and when they reach the end of chapter 1! You don't even have to share loads if you feel like you don't have that many thoughts on the book yet. :)
  24. I've read a bit further than the first chapter but I will try to limit my answers to it. How do you feel about chapter 1? Have you already been swept up in the story? Are you keen to read more? Or are you a bit more reserved? Or perhaps you're disappointed and only grudgingly turning the page to chapter 2? While I wasn't exactly put off by it I wasn't all that drawn into the story either to be honest. It was just kind of there for me. I kind of liked the old school feel with the heavy exposition. It was a nice change of pace from the style you usually see these days. Also I didn’t mind learning about Ged’s accomplishments right away, but I did find his different nicknames a bit confusing and had to read the first few paragraphs again before I figured out what was going on. Anyway there wasn’t anything in it that turned me off. It just could have done more to pull me in. What do you think about the world that's been introduced so far? We've seen a map, and some territories have been mentioned. Does it sound interesting? I don't know how I feel about the world yet. The map in the ebook version I have is very small and the fact that it’s divided into two separate images on separate pages isn't helping. That said I like the fact that the story takes place in an archipelago, partially because I grew up in one, but I want to know more than what was presented in the first chapter. What do you think of the magic system so far? Is it unique? Have you read a book with a magic system like this before? Do any of your novels have a magic system like this? I won't say much about the magic system since not only am I a few chapters in, but I actually started reading the wrong novel (Tales from Earthsea). So I’ve read a bit more about how magic in the world works. That said I've always liked the concept of true names. I’ve never actually used it myself but I’ve seen it used a few times. I know a friend of mine from college used something similar in one of his novel, though in his world only certain things had a true name. Anyway I’m looking forward to reading more about how the magic system works and what can be accomplished with it. What do you think of Duny/Sparrowhawk/Ged so far? What have you learned about him? Do you like him? Does he annoy you? Personally I try not to make up my mind about characters until I’ve read a decent amount about them, and I haven’t seen enough of him yet. I did like his arrogance though, as well his willingness to learn from his aunt. He also clearly is talented for his age, but given what we know about his eventual accomplishments that’s somewhat to be expected. I’ll wait until I see more of him before I form an opinion.
  25. Disclaimer: I have read this book before, but it was 10+ years ago so though I know the general direction of the story and what happens, I've forgotten a lot of details. So it's kind of like reading it for the first time! How do you feel about chapter 1? Have you already been swept up in the story? Are you keen to read more? Or are you a bit more reserved? Or perhaps you're disappointed and only grudgingly turning the page to chapter 2? It's quite a bit different from modern fantasy--I'm not sure something quite so heavy on expositional narrative with very little dialogue would be easy to publish these days. The "rule" now is "show, don't tell," and this chapter is pretty much all tell. It gives the story so far an old-fashioned storytelling feel, which is appropriate as we are being told about the adventures of a great wizard before he became a great wizard (from the very first paragraph). As for my personal feelings (leaving aside that I've read the book before and already have that investment in this world), I wouldn't say I'm swept up in the story--it's still a bit distant for me--but I'm intrigued enough to read more. I want to know what happens now that Ged is off to receive more advanced training from a proper wizard. Will moving away from his small village give him culture shock? How will he do under a teacher who presumably is far more powerful and knowledgeable than his aunt? Is he going to appreciate the opportunity, or will he be upset that he's no longer a big fish in a small pond? What do you think about the world that's been introduced so far? We've seen a map, and some territories have been mentioned. Does it sound interesting? What strikes me most about the map is how claustrophobic it feels. The map in the first chapter is just the archipelago, and if you look at the scale it's actually not a very large area. Yet there's already been hints at a great number of people and sovereign nations. Are they all crammed into that archipelago? Does anything lie beyond the islands? What do you think of the magic system so far? Is it unique? Have you read a book with a magic system like this before? Do any of your novels have a magic system like this? I very much like the concept of true names, which is an idea I've seen in a lot of fantasy. I've always wanted to use it myself, but haven't come up with a story yet where it feels right. Right now I know very little about how magic works, but I'm interested in finding out more as the book progresses. What do you think of Duny/Sparrowhawk/Ged so far? What have you learned about him? Do you like him? Does he annoy you? Well, he's a cocky teenager, so I can't really fault him for that. We'll see if he grows up a bit later on. If not, I'll call him annoying. But right now he's a bit Special with a capital S because of his magical talent, but that's only in his small village, and I can't wait to see how he reacts to a wider world. I think his cockiness seems natural, as he's been a bit stomped on most of his life. His father seems to despair of him, and he doesn't seem to have much if any relationship with his siblings, who are all much older than him and off living their adult lives. He's been mostly left to his own devices, so he's always just kind of done whatever he wants. I get the sense that he was already a bit different from the other kids because of his wilder tendencies, and that gap only widens when he discovers his magical talent. So I can see him thinking of himself as maybe being a bit above the other kids in the village, and that coming off as arrogance.
  26. Still getting through chapter one. I haven't had too much time to read yet. :)