Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wise Man's Ear

I'm not a big reader of fantasies, but when I do commit to that genre, I go big. That's how I find myself over 900 pages into the second book in Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicle, The Wise Man's Fear.

I read the similarly-sized opener, The Name of the Wind, a couple of years back, taking a series break thereafter. On occasion, I would check the local library's holdings for book #2, yet it always proved to be borrowed. I resisted placing a hold as I prefer to let serendipitous discovery govern most of my reading life. I waited patiently, not unlike the series' main character, an innkeeper with more backstories than I can count.

June found me in a second-hand bookstore where the book and I intersected. I made my purchase even as I knew I wasn't ready to start it at that moment. (Readers always make plans!) It sat on my shelf for two months of prime summer-reading time.

In August, a chance encounter on a street corner with a long-lost grade school classmate unexpectedly led to chatting about the series. "The second book is better than the first," my friend wrote. "The series is a deep contemplation on the nature of stories and storytelling." Not a hook I could resist for long...

I'm happy to report: The novel is delivering on his promise. It also turns out to be a deep contemplation on teaching and learning, which brings me to another crossroads, where the book, a follow-up conversation with my friend, and my professional life intersect. If we are the stories we tell and coining new stories has inherent power to change us, I would do well to listen better to what my students narrate -- both to the world and themselves. "Only that which bends can teach," says Vashet, one of many literal teachers in The Wise Man's Fear, reminding me to bend my ears when school resumes next week.


  1. I love literary encounters of the serendipitous kind. I am going to look into that series.

  2. Mmm... I love this series (so far - anxiously & patiently awaiting the third). I'd forgotten Vashet's words, but I love how you link the novel to your professional life. If the stories we tell matter then the stories my students tell matter - which means I need to keep listening.

  3. If we are the stories we tell... so much to think about there. Here's to bending close so we don't miss a word. sk

  4. You waited??? two months??

    It is so hard for me to wait to read a book.

    Yes both books are enjoyable reads. Like you, I am waiting for the next in series.




    1. Not like I was waiting around, reading *nothing.* My reading attentions just lay elsewhere for a while :) I haven't gotten to _Slow Regard of Silent Things_ yet so I've got that going for me!