An aunt gave me this when I was fifteen, seeing how I was getting into SF. That was kind of her but I don’t know what she was thinking, I couldn't possibly get into this book at that age. In fact I gave up after about 50 pages. However, this is one of those books that won’t go away. I keep getting recommendations to read it from web sites, forums and “all time best sf books” listings. So I eventually got around to it.
Skipping the synopsis completely as I don’t like to write them, this is a difficult book for me to read as it is very intelligent and require considerable intelligence from the reader, possibly a bit more than I possess! Some paragraphs where Le Guin is exploring political or philosophical ideas are barely readable because they go right over my head. Also, though the book is not that long it is not a quick read. I tried to read it fast to be done with it had to put the brakes on and rewind, otherwise there would be no point in reading it at all. The book demands patience and concentration.
At the end of the day this is a worthwhile read because it gave me something to think about, anarchism, our society, the way we live, tolerance, complacency, self righteousness etc. However, IMO this is not a book to read for enjoyment. Le Guin's "Left Hand of Darkness" is much more enjoyable as sf, while being equally serious. If you want to read Le Guin for entertainment her Earthsea Trilogy would work best. If you want cool tech and aliens this novel is also not for you. However, if you want something that makes you feel all contemplative this fits the bill very well.