It's another Whimsical Book of Settings. You know the type: "twenty travel guide stories from fantastical lands/cities/worlds/planes/whojobbies." How many people have to write these things before we just stop buying them? Get another conceit for a book! Preferably, get a damn plot, some characters, something in addition to a setting! Enough! There was nothing wrong with the individual vignettes themselves, but there's only so much of that kind of book one can read before all the whimsical settings start to gnaw on one's last nerve.
Or at least on my last nerve.
I sat through An Earthly Knight earlier in the day, a totally undistinguished book with YATLSS. (Yet Another Tam Lin Story Syndrome -- and I'm afflicted with this disease myself, in spades, but this was a straight-up telling of the ballad, set in medieval Scotland. Who cares about that? I can sing the ballad myself if I want to hear the straight-up medieval-Scotland version, and it doesn't take me 250 pages to sing it.) (Well, if I could sing anything, I could sing it. I want my voice back! But never mind that for the moment.)
And I sat through The Velvet Room, a children's book set on a California fruit farm during the Depression. Doesn't that prove my readerly fortitude?
Oh, probably not. Probably I'm unnecessarily cranky due to all the stupid coughing. Anyway, there's nothing to make me finish the LeGuin, so I'm going to read an Iain Pears mystery, which guarantees me a plot of some kind, and I'm going to eat some ice cream, possibly with cloudberries for angelsuppa if I'm feeling really decadent and sick. So there.
(Minneapolitans: have you had cloudberries? Molte? Hjorton? Lakka or suomuurain? Multebaer? All synonyms for the same stuff. If not, let me know, and you can have them at my house. But not tonight.)