I’m currently knee deep in supply teaching work and trying to work on the Earth Balm Music material, learning much about the limitless possibilities of music software and my limited abilities on the piano keyboard on the way. I have a day’s break today and just as well because I feel compelled to post about the passing of the great Ursula K Le Guin. The news has finally made up my mind for me – she is my favourite author of all that I have read (and she is in some high calibre company with Rosemary Sutcliff, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Philippa Pearce etc.). Her characters are so well developed, her books explore ideas about social systems and politics so subtly and she handles big plot moments so delicately. I’m about to radically thin out my book collection and I’m keeping all of my UKLG books as I know I’ll only regret losing them if I pass them on. Please, let her be known as more than just a science fiction / fantasy author because she was so much more.

Photograph of author Ursula K Le Guin. Source Wikipedia, credit Gorthian.

Here is a quote from Ursula’s Wikipedia page:

Le Guin exploits the creative flexibility of the science fiction and fantasy genres to undertake thorough explorations of dimensions of both social and psychological identity and of broader cultural and social structures. In doing so, she draws on sociology, anthropology, and psychology leading some critics to categorize her work as soft science fiction. She objected to this classification of her writing, arguing the term is divisive and implies a narrow view of what constitutes valid science fiction. Underlying ideas of anarchism and environmentalism also make repeated appearances throughout Le Guin’s work



I thought that I might start taking my time and make a proper effort with the blog. Perhaps re-organise and give all posts a structure and may be even rename – take out the ‘Music’ from the title as it’s as much about books (and children’s in particular) as is it about Music.



Photograph of meself on the North Yorkshire Moors.
‘Tis I, on the North Yorkshire Moors.

The Snow Spider

I’m currently reading Jenny Nimmo’s “Snow Spider Trilogy” and I’m part way through “Emlyn’s Moon“.  A change from Joan Aiken and “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” sequence.  It’s a very enjoyable piece of fantasy and well told. It’s very “Welsh” in character as are many of Jenny’s books. More of a children’s novel than the Joan Aiken and Ursula K LeGuin novels I have grown to love so much. It’s more linear in plot and less ‘themed’ than those novels. I’d be more likely to use the trilogy as class readers than the ‘chronicles’  of Dido and Sparrowhawk. Indeed I have used Jenny Nimmo’s “Griffin’s Castle” as a class reader and topic theme for school work.

I’m looking forward to reading how Gwyn’s story pans out and getting back to some Dido Twite.

A recommended set of novels for children and parents alike.



Croopus! Limbo Lodge.

I finally finished Joan Aiken’s “Limbo Lodge” last night.  It’s a great adventure with Dido Twite at the ‘helm’.

So many ideas again, this time about respecting cultures and ways of life. About making decisions as individuals and living in harmony with the environment.

And again, Joan Aiken does not shy away from killing off a character that we have grown to like during the narrative. This time, a character who had the potential to make changes that would have benefitted others.

I have to take a break from Joan Aiken for a while but will be back to read “The Cuckoo Tree” and “Dido and Pa” when I have located copies.

Essential reading. You owe it to yourself to give the books in the “Wolves of Willoughby Chase” sequence time if you haven’t already read them.