In August I was in the process of testing, interviewing, and starting a new position, so my reading has dropped off a bit. I am pushing to get back into gear this month with a bunch of periodicals. Yet I still had a few good reads.
The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. LeGuin
Best to just start this post with the positive recommendation. I love Ursula K. LeGuin's fiction, and so should you. At first I thought this work was new, but discovered it is an oldie (but a goodie). The story is about a clash of cultures and a few brave souls who seek to bridge the gap. As such, I could not help but notice the similarity to the Pocahontas/Dances With Wolves/Avatar trope. However, The Word for World is Forest predates these, and has a much less Hollywood (read: better) take on the theme.
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
A friend and I agreed to tackle Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series now that Brandon Sanderson has completed his work on the final novel. We're going to take it easy, starting each novel at great intervals. It should take us quite a while to get through.
The first novel has definitely got me interested in continuing. The seeds of epic adventure are well planted and cultivated in this work. I must admit at first I was a bit perplexed by some similarities to the Lord of the Rings (e.g. "Mountains of Mist" \~= "Misty Mountains"; "Mountains of Dhoom" \~= "Mount Doom"; a rider cloaked in black). They seemed a bit obtuse to be an homage, but too obvious to be a credibly labeled a rip-off. But never fear, Jordan takes the story in his own direction, and I can already see what subsequent fantasy owes to his work. Recommended for a start, but always start 14-novel series with caution.
Harper's August 2012 - Benjamin Hale's "The last distinction? Talking to the animals" was a real delight. It explores the short history of ape language acquisition and the ethical and scientific struggles surrounding it .Anyone interested in linguistics will be fascinated by this piece.