Book Review: John Plotz on Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle reviews John Plotz’s personal reading of a fantasy classic by Ursula K. Le Guin

The American author Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) is widely regarded as one of the finest authors of what is broadly termed ‘speculative fiction’. During the course of her long writing career, she wrote novels and short stories in both the fantasy and science-fiction genres. She has also long been praised as one of the greatest stylists within these genres, with an ability to pick up, as Chesterton said of Robert Louis Stevenson, the right word on the end of her pen.

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Book Review: Rooms of Their Own

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle enjoys a book about the rooms in which great writers worked

‘Writers stamp themselves upon their possessions more indelibly than other people, making the table, the chair, the curtain, the carpet into their own image.’

So wrote Virginia Woolf in Great Men’s Houses (1911), several years before she would transform the humble room into a space of daydreaming, reverie, and imagination in her famous short story, ‘The Mark on the Wall’, and almost two decades before she would give the series of Cambridge lectures which inspired the title of both her best-known work of non-fiction and, with a slight change, the title of Alex Johnson’s Rooms of Their Own.

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