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One of Ours (Annotated)
One of Ours (Annotated) | Willa Cather
Claude Wheeler craves excitement, far more than he can ever find as a farmer's son. He encounters more at university, where the modern world beyond farm life offers new thrills and challenges, only to lose them...
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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jillrhudy Underrated because female: Willa Cather. 2w
BookNAround Love Willa Cather. She‘s such a beautiful writer. (edited) 2w
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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The personal WWI book Cather researched and wrote and then was disappointed to see it called a WWI book. It‘s also about her Nebraska and her storytelling, here slowed down, masterfully. I really loved this one even if it‘s not her best and even if I can‘t fully capture why. #catherbuddyread

Artwork: Paul Nash, The Menin Road, 1919

Graywacke for those who want more, well, see our #catherbuddyread discussions. But also I have a review posted here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2964395296 and here https://www.librarything.com/topic/306026 (add #6931795 to the end of that). 1mo
Tanisha_A It's right out annoying when books are tagged as such! 1mo
batsy Lovely art and I'm not sure why, but it strikes me as Cather-esque! Perfect. Loved the longer review. It's been awhile since I've read Homer's Odyssey but I'm drawn to the fact that you pick up resonances ... and I think it's time I picked up the Iliad... 1mo
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Graywacke @Tanisha_A as war books? Yes. But this IS actually a WWI book. 😂 ... It‘s many other things to. So I understand Cather‘s reaction to that degree. 1mo
Graywacke @batsy Maybe the art is Cather-esque. Not exactly my thought, but obviously I thought it fit. I liked how it was beautiful and not at the same time, which parallels the mixed perspective Cather takes. And, I really like it 🙂 1mo
Graywacke @batsy Thanks so much for the nice comment on my review. Homer comes in again and again. It‘s interesting to me. I‘m planning to start The Divine Comedy this month. Never read it before. But, of course, Virgil is a guide. It‘s securely on the Homeric trend. (edited) 1mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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Home from 2 services, with 15 confirmations, and ready to discuss Cather. 😀 #catherbuddyread #brandyAlexander @Graywacke @CarolynM @batsy @jewright @catebutler @Crazeedi @Tamra @bromeliad

Tamra Looks delicious, whatever it is! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra It‘s a Brandy Alexander, inspired by yesterday‘s discussion. 2mo
Lcsmcat “Ruin and new birth; the shudder of ugly things in the past, the trembling image of beautiful ones on the horizon; finding and losing; that was life, he saw.” Another quote I highlighted but didn‘t share earlier. 2mo
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catebutler This looks delicious!! 2mo
Graywacke Yum! 😺 (beautiful quote too). I need a cocktail... 2mo
Aims42 Cheers! Sounds like a busy day 2mo
Lcsmcat @Aims42 Pretty much a normal Sunday for me, except for the confirmations. Which is why Sunday afternoons are so lazy for me. 😀 2mo
batsy Gorgeous quote ❤️ And cheers to that 🙂🥂 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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#cathetbuddyread Book 5 - finishing One of Ours

Ok, I actually shed a tear when I finished. I don‘t do that, but it finished and I just sat there thinking and getting carried away deeper. Alas, silly me. Cather does her own work with WWI, a somehow gentle yet straight-up take on the war experience. The news reporter she once was seems to have taken a part here, maybe. Or maybe just fiction. Thoughts? Does it work? Do NE and WWI tie?

Graywacke (NE is the postal code for Nebraska) 2mo
Tamra I think it ties together in the sense how the war impacted the “every man” that Claude was and their families, even in the expanse of the Great Plains that gets glossed over between coasts. How apt was the ending!? I very much appreciated it and it drove home the cost of war and its lasting damage. Nonetheless, it did feel like two different stories for me, disconnected to a degree. (edited) 2mo
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Tamra I won‘t forget those lonely suicides. 😑 2mo
batsy It's funny to me how distant I felt from Mrs Wheeler in terms of her beliefs and perspectives, but how close I felt to her emotionally. The ending was so moving. Besides Claude of course she's one of the characters I keep thinking about the most. 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra does tie, does disconnect? I kind of feel the same - they go together but have dramatically different feel, tied/divided by a Virgilian/Dante-like odyssey to the underworld in the transport ship. I‘ll challenge the “every man” only a little. Claude came from a well-to-do family. I suspect most volunteers were partially driven by need...?? But Claude is generalized as it turns out, I think. 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra @batsy The ending. His mother, his ghostly presence, the dissolution, the suicides, the list of names, David, etc - She wove in and tied off with a lot of emotional charge, weighted emotional charge. My emotional ocd was fired off - all this just keeps spinning... 2mo
Graywacke @batsy - the repulsion/embrace of his mother - I had that feeling too; in those last paragraphs I felt them both in a really meaningful emotionally charged way. She meant more to then, well now, then ever before that. 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke I‘m thinking “every man” in terms of him being midwestern from a farming family. The underworld odyssey is an interesting reference I‘d hadn‘t thought about! I need to ponder over it. (edited) 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke I agree, she really seems to be the emotional thread that binds up the story. Haunting end. 2mo
Tamra @batsy me too, I didn‘t relate to her until the farewell. Her character seemed mono-dimensional up until then and I was more connected to Mahailey in terms of development. 2mo
Lcsmcat I think the ending would have been particularly powerful when it was written because novelists didn‘t kill off their protagonists so much then. I mean, there is Little Nell, but most of the time no matter what horrific things went on around him, the hero lived. To me, that was a powerful anti war statement. A Brandy Alexander moment. 😀 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I like your point about the voyage over as Odyssey. Very apt. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra @batsy I too felt closer to Mrs. Wheeler at the end. I was angry with her for not standing up for Claude at the beginning, but by the end I felt like she understood how he “needed” the war in order to become his full self. 2mo
Lcsmcat I kept wanting to hear, at the end, what happened with Enid. I know Cather wanted us to feel how completely Claude had freed himself from her, but I would have liked to have heard how she felt about his going to war/dying etc. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I agree, she seemed to understand that and I so empathized with her gratitude that he didn‘t come home to suffer (PTSD) & the disconnect he had previously felt. Even if that hadn‘t been the case, you can understand the need for her feeling so. 2mo
Lcsmcat About the war, one quote I highlighted but hadn‘t shared yet is: “That was one of the things about this war; it took a little fellow from a little town, gave him an air and a swagger, a life like a movie-film,—and then a death like the rebel angels.” I think it supports @Tamra ‘s point about “every man.” 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I have to admit I gave her no thought after she left! It‘s interesting to question how Cather intended for readers to react to Enid. Obviously she wasn‘t happy either and left for what she hoped would be broader horizons, but I got the impression she was judged harshly. Is that because she was a woman and her place was with her husband? I disliked her character, but I have to evaluate whether it‘s fair since neither were in love w/e/o. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat adding to my reply: Though Claude wanted to be happy and give it go. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra Yes! She was so keen to send him to war, she would have to have some feelings of guilt/responsibility and acknowledging the problems the survivors faced could alleviate that. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I too read the novel as an anti-war statement. I haven‘t done any research about her to confirm that however. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat thanks for pointing that passage out, I didn‘t recall it. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra I agree that Enid was judged harshly. I don‘t think she‘d have agreed to the marriage in a different time period. But, having agreed to it, she should have tried. And it just made me so sad for Claude, that what he thought would be his great happiness ended up being his worst pain. 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat it is sad - he was willing to try. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Tamra I thought about Enid a lot, constantly. Her religious obsession annoyed me to no end. But she was fascinating, a clash with her times. But, I mean, she liked Claude. I would have liked to know how she took the news...or if she cared, etc. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat odyssey - I had in mind Aeneas‘s trip to the underworld between Dido and pre-Rome. Odysseus had his own underworld trip. Haven‘t read Dante yet (next month!)...but maybe an odyssey applies more universally to the whole 2nd part of the book. 2mo
CarolynM War disrupts people's lives. In so far as the book is disjointed I think it is reflecting that simple fact. Claude was a real person with a series of life experiences culminating in his going to war. His war experiences (and I think this would be true for every combatant) were unrelated to his old life. But because Cather does such a good job of showing he is the same person he always was I think the book works as a whole. 2mo
CarolynM I agree with @Lcsmcat and @Tamra that the book is anti war. I particularly liked the way she showed what had happened to the ordinary people who were unlucky enough to live on or near the battlefields. Being required to house and feed the officers of whichever army was on their territory while their lands and villages were destroyed. Horrible! And the little girl saying the baby was not her brother "He's a Bosch". Ugh! (edited) 2mo
CarolynM I found David an interesting character too. And I began to wonder about Cather's intentions. Yet another "glamorous" figure Claude became attached to. Was she hinting at some sort of homoeroticism? It may just be my obsession with Sassoon and Owen - I hadn't considered it until the war context. I certainly think it was suggested with the German officer's locket and I can't think why she would have included that for any other reason. 2mo
Tamra @CarolynM oh yes, that was an emotional punch! (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM David was gay. She couldn‘t say it outright, but she had at least three neon signs, the locket being one. Claude - I don‘t think he was, but then Enid... don‘t know 2mo
Graywacke I mean Claude‘s interest in Enid may have had a homosexual element 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I'm glad it wasn't just my imagination. I don't think Claude was gay necessarily but he certainly seemed happiest around men with attributes that were outside his own experience. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM I think Cather was doing something with Claude she wasn‘t telling us about. He dies doing a routine thing, directing men to hold their ground and coordinate. But for him it was higher order event, an ecstasy of sorts. Homosexuality is an explanation. But I suspect she saw this war as boys playing power games, and here Claude, who was never really able to see beyond what was there, even if he saw through falsehoods and fakes, was all in. 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I think you've got to the heart of it there. He could never make his own way, he was always tagged on to others. In some ways war was perfect for him because it provided the framework for how he was to be, then he could be in command in his immediate circumstances. 2mo
batsy @CarolynM I was wondering about that element of possible erotic attraction between Claude and David. Not least because Cather's own life played out that way; she was never "out" in the way we use the term now but you know, the energies present in Claude and his unease with fitting in back home could have several layers. I could be overreaching in trying to read an element of Cather in all of her protagonists, though :) 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat @Tamra Yes, so true. I was heartbroken, that maybe she finally understood, but she couldn't convey that understanding to her son because he's gone. I also found it so bittersweet in Part 8 of Book 5 when Claude, despite all that they had endured on the journey on the ship to France, felt that "He was enjoying himself all the while and didn't want to be safe anywhere". That driving force in him to be anywhere else but safe at home. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I thought about Enid a lot, too. She aggravated me as well but I found her so compelling. Their sexual relationship or lack of it aside, she seemed to like and respect him to a degree. Possibly loved him in her own way. I want a book from her perspective! 2mo
Graywacke @batsy that book from Enid‘s perspectives - you would need to write it. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Haha, oh dear! #catherbuddyread holds an emergency meeting: "This book is simply unreadable and we cannot continue" ? 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM “in some ways war was perfect for him” - yes! And see Batsy‘s ( @Batsy ) quote four messages up. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @batsy it has potential 2mo
Graywacke 🙂 2mo
Tamra @batsy I would definitely read her perspective - so intriguing from this era. 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke @CarolynM Unfortunately I didn‘t note the chapter, but my mind keeps coming back to the narrator‘s commentary about how in years to come soldiers would reminisce about the war experience, good & bad, but would especially miss the comradeship. It seemed to sum up Claude; how the voids he felt at home were filled with singularity of purpose, common experience, and collective identity. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @CarolynM @batsy I agree that Claude was “all in” as Dan puts it. Another quote I highlighted , from Book 5 “He saw that he must be a plane tree for somebody else.” It was when he was lost after taking Fanning to the hospital and he kind of gives up and leans against a plane tree, then spots his men who were also lost and realizes he has to take responsibility. Finally, he‘s in charge of his life, he thinks. The Cather turns around 👇🏻 2mo
Lcsmcat and shows us that, in war, no one is in control of what happens to them. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy If you write it, I‘ll read it! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra @Graywacke @batsy @carolynm Any thought about the title? For a character who so didn‘t fit in, One of Ours can‘t be an accident. 2mo
CarolynM @Lcsmcat Very good points. Control was something he never had and had no idea how to achieve. I think the title might come from that idea, he was always defined by those around him, he couldn't or wouldn't define himself and become his own person. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM I had misunderstood the title in the beginning. I assumed this was a book about a soldier coming home and clashing with the small town life. Hence, the title as a reminder to the town. That being way way out there and sounding silly now means I‘ve had to rethink it all... 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM So my 2nd thought is along @Tamra ‘s “every man” theme. I think she‘s highlighting _all_ these kids were our kids (now (great?) grandparents) who went over there, which was not ours. We sent ours, so to speak. In this theme all Claude‘s personal oddities are no different from every other soldier‘s oddities. One individual with a full life of personal conflict, adversity, potential, life, for each number. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM all of which sounds really us-centric. And it is, but it can be applied universally. 2mo
Graywacke Speaking of US-centric: did anyone else buy into the American idealism of these soldiers - going to fight for against bad Germany in the propaganda, the marines being professional around the French girls, the men being heroes in the same French village where the Germans were vile enemies, the cleanliness, purity of intent and so on? No power trips, rapes, rampant life-is-short destructive behavior and so on? Was Cather accurate or...? 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I was thinking along the same lines, that the title reflected Claude finding himself & place among his comrades in arms. But I also like @Graywacke ‘s idea re: one of our sons. That is fitting with the end too. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @CarolynM @Tamra I had a similar misconception about the title in the beginning as Dan (like I said earlier, you don‘t expect MC to die in works of this era) but I like Carolyn‘s take. He wasn‘t “his” He was “ours.” But I also like Tamra‘s reading that the “ours” were his fellow soldiers. I wonder if Cather ever explained her title? 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I did not buy into the American idealism and I‘m not sure Cather did either. It would take another closer reading to be sure, but I wonder if there are clues, like the clues to David‘s sexuality. Like that subject, she couldn‘t have spoken directly on the subject without ruining her career. (Pacifism was persecuted. There was an Episcopal bishop who lost his job because he was a pacifist during WWI) 2mo
Lcsmcat If clergy can‘t be against war and keep their jobs, writers would have a very difficult time! 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat I didn‘t know that! 😐 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ( @Tamra ) Do you think that still applied in 1922? As for Cather‘s clues - begin with the German-Americans in the courtroom. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat This is how I thought of the title, too. She would have been largely writing to an American audience & it might have been a "one of ours goes to war & this is what happens to them". 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I didn't buy into the American idealism/exceptionalism that was there in the war section. In my review when I mentioned having issues with the book that I still haven't quite sorted out, that was the main thing. And I was wondering if it's written that way because it's coming from Claude's romanticised perspective, and thus maybe can't be attributed to the novel as a whole, but to the character? If that makes sense. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat 😁 @Tamra Enid is certainly memorable and complex and if I do have some regrets about how the book ended, its that we didn't see her again. (And Bayliss didn't get put in his place!) 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy I wanted updates on Enid and Bayliss too. And not necessarily happy ones. 😈 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m not sure how long it went on, nor how long it was between submittal to a publisher and publication of the book. I‘m just suggesting she might have felt the need to tread lightly. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ( @batsy ) 😂 unhappy wishes. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat : @batsy called it a gloss in her review, like a gloss of romanticism over the war experience. There are two aspects I‘m thinking of. One is censorship. Admittedly, I‘m not sure how a big a deal that was for an author who published a pro-German work during the war. (Song of the Lark). The other is Cather vs character perspectives. The character can justify the author doing a lot. But which is which? Or, is it really a positive gloss? (edited) 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat Australia has a similar mythology about our presence in France in WWI (supported, I have to say, by some of the monuments in France) but of course it can't be the whole story. It would have been brave to the point of foolhardiness to directly challenge the myth so soon after the war. I think there were a few oblique challenges - the priest's niece, for example. 2mo
Tamra @batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM re: batsy‘s comment about Claude‘s perspective. This was why I felt the powerful ending overshadowed any romanticism/exceptionalism/idealism about war. I didn‘t sense any pride at the close, just loss & loneliness, maybe futility and hopelessness. (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra I agree totally that the ending overshadowed any romanticism about the war. It‘s why I think the “glory” aspect was Claude‘s perspective. 2mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM I think we all have that mythology. Survivors try so hard to believe the sacrifices were glorious and necessary. It‘s hard to live with yourself otherwise. Different war, but I had a German exchange student when I taught in UT and we took the kids to hear a holocaust survivor, and he was a teary eyed mess at the end. A 17 year old boy. The losers of a war feel differently. (edited) 2mo
batsy @Tamra @Lcsmcat Yes, that the final word belongs to Mrs Wheeler, as such, is significant. And it does work as a poignant and astute counter to the "gloss" I mentioned earlier. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Cather is definitely doing a lot & I feel I sometimes don't give her enough credit for how she works with form and structure. She's playing around a lot with narrative and perspective in subtle ways. Re: censorship and having to uphold or bolster national mythology, or not to go against it so overtly at a critical time in the nation's history, are all very interesting points to consider. 2mo
CarolynM @Tamra Yes, absolutely. @Lcsmcat I take your point. I wonder how much our feelings about Vietnam and the way we have treated its veterans stem from the lack of a victory? @batsy Good reminder. Because she's so easy to read I think we can forget that she is such a great literary technician. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Have you chosen the next book? Not that we need to start right away, I‘m just allowing time to order if it‘s not one I already own. 2mo
Tamra Thank you for hosting @Graywacke ! 2mo
Tamra @CarolynM isn‘t that the truth re: ease of reading! 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra 🙂 Really enjoyed this whole conversation. We might have stretched the limits of a Litsy thread... 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes, just waiting for the thread to wind down. Still waiting. Maybe I‘ll create a new post to check interest. I‘d like to go chronologically. In 1923 she published 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Excellent- I own that one and have been eager to read it. I don‘t know that this thread will wind down anytime soon. There‘s so much to talk about! 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat terrific conversation !! Really enjoyed all this, and it‘s a nice reward - reading a book and getting of this afterwards. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat @Tamra @CarolynM - thanks all for a wonderful conversation. Really enjoyed this. I‘ll get a feeler out on A Lost Lady this weekend - see what kind of interest there is. (I have a 3-week schedule in mind. I think it‘s roughly half the size of this one...but not sure.) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Thank you for shepherding us through this . I‘ve liked Cather for years but only read the “famous” ones before this. And I‘m getting more out of the famous ones too. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM @batsy @Tamra Highly recommended you read the “composition” section here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_of_Ours 2mo
Lcsmcat Wow! That‘s really interesting! Thanks for sharing. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Going back three messages, I meant to say thank you - but got waylaid by Wikipedia. 😊 Thanks! This is all new to me, so I‘m getting a ton out of it. ... regarding the Wikipedia article itself, I agree and you‘re welcome. 🙂 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @batsy @Tamra Thank you all for the stimulating discussion. Looking forward to A Lost Lady. I think it's the other Cather novel I've read but I can't remember for sure. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM @Tamra Thank you all for always stimulating discussions. We have some of the most involved discussion threads I've seen :) Dan, thanks for that link! I'd love to join in for A Lost Lady & reading chronologically sounds 👌🏽 I'm trying to get physical copies of her books & local bookshops rarely stock her. I'll order online but is everyone OK with a short breather? International mail can take up to 2-3 weeks 😬 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy @Graywacke @CarolynM @Tamra I‘m fine with that. It‘ll give me time to finish The Testaments. 😀 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat @Tamra I'll fit in with whatever you decide. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy No problem. I‘ll set the start date to later October or early Nov (have to check a calendar) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i‘ll be listening to The Testaments soon, probably start next week. 🙂 2mo
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM OK, cool! Thank you. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat This is the part where I confess I've yet to read The Handmaid's Tale. I've been "meaning to" ... for years ? 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy You‘ll read it when the time is right. It‘s earned its place in the canon, so it‘s not going anywhere. 2mo
Tamra @batsy I haven‘t either. 😏 even my husband has and that‘s saying something! 2mo
Tamra @batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM I won‘t be able to join. 🙁 I‘ll be in the midst of another class and my recreational reading slows. I hope Lost Lady is as rich as this one. I recall loving Death Comes for the Archbishop. 💜 2mo
CarolynM @batsy Me neither and I don't really want to. I'm sure it's good but it doesn't have much appeal for me. Sorry you won't be part of the next one @Tamra We'll miss you. 2mo
batsy @Tamra @CarolynM Oh, I'm glad I'm not alone! 😆 I find Atwood an enormously interesting writer but the subject matter of this one is extremely distressing which is probably why I've been avoiding it. (And we'll definitely miss you during the next round of Cather, Tamra.) 2mo
Tamra @batsy I very much enjoyed Alias Grace & Bljnd Assassin. I don‘t know why I haven‘t gotten around to Handmaid‘s Tale. I think the hype has a lot to do with it. My husband enjoyed the television adaptation too and I‘m tempted to watch it instead of read. I know that‘s sacrilegious. 😮 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra @batsy @CarolynM @Lcsmcat I‘m reading The Handmaid‘s Tale right now. 😂 It‘s a reread for me. I have this idea of doing the Booker list in Audio and The Testaments will be next, so I‘m refreshing my (apparently very lost) memory. 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra wish you well in your class. I‘ll nudge you a little on the next one, see if that works better and had interest. I‘ve read Death Comes for the Archbishop. It was the book off my shelf that led to this buddy read. Hoping to reread it with the group. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Tamra I hope your class goes well, and that you‘ll check in when you have time. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy @CarolynM Atwood is an amazing and prolific writer, so there‘s something for everyone in her work. If the hype puts you off, don‘t read Handmaid right now. But do read something by her. Poetry, short stories, nonfiction, graphic novels and novels - she has written in all of these genres. 2mo
batsy @Tamra @Lcsmcat I loved Blind Assassin and Alias Grace, too! Cat's Eye is probably my favourite of hers and also enjoyed The Robber Bride. @Graywacke Contemplating picking up Hag Seed after our Tempest group read 🙂 2mo
Graywacke @batsy I‘m hesitant to read the Shakespeare novelizations - at least the straight-up ones like that. If you do read it, I‘ll be curious of your thoughts. 2mo
43 likes107 comments
One of Ours | Willa Cather
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Cather's descriptive powers are extraordinary but what I love most are the living, breathing characters she creates. This book is a character study of a restless, unfulfilled young man from rural Nebraska who finds some kind of purpose as a WWI soldier. The shift in mood from life on the land in the first half of the book to soldiering in the second seemed like a natural progression. Thanks @Graywacke & buddy readers. Look forward to discussing.

Lcsmcat This may be the only cover that catches both parts of the book. Looking forward to today‘s discussion too. 2mo
Graywacke Great summary. It does feel like a natural progression. And, I have to add, strange that. 2mo
jewright I love this cover! 2mo
Tamra Perfect cover! 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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Cather‘s descriptive writing is is glorious! But I equally appreciated her unflinching, unsentimental portrayal of war; none of the nauseating personal or national vainglory that is always a desperate attempt to mask the pain of tragedies large and small. #catherbuddyread

Graywacke I‘m thinking about her take on war as I read through. It‘s a bit different then the usual, for sure. Lovely passage. Sometimes I forget to slow down and relish these lines a bit. 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke I‘m thinking most specifically about some characters at the end, but I don‘t want give anything away. 🤐 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I feel the same sometimes. Though I've underlined so many beautiful sentences so it does seem like I'm paying close attention to her use of language, but I still feel like it's not enough 🙂 2mo
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Lcsmcat Can‘t you just put yourself there, with that cat in the sun? Cather‘s descriptions are glorious. Who would have thought earthworms wriggling in wet sand would add so much to a peaceful scene. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy @Graywacke I have so many sentences highlighted in my copy! Something I don‘t usually do, but Cather seems to call me to. If I posted them all I‘d blow up Litsy. 😀 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat wriggling earthworms getting snapped up! 😂 And yet still, you‘re spot on, it‘s soul-relaxing peaceful. (Maybe especially for a 🐈) 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra just finished 😢 2mo
Tamra @batsy yes, me too! 2mo
Tamra @Lcsmcat you can totally “be there.” 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke indeed. She doesn‘t pamper the reader. 2mo
Tamra @batsy I appreciated the love of WY landscape description by a homesick soldier. That doesn‘t happen often. 💜 2mo
66 likes11 comments
One of Ours | Willa Cather
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Cather's sensitivity & acuteness in portraying individuals at war with the norms of society are as complex & heartbreaking as ever. What draws me to her is the exquisite grace & effortlessness of her prose coupled with that sense of empathy. The first half was a 5-star read. The war section was interesting for how Claude retreated into the background—which I think was a way of showing how he needed that sense of melting into a greater whole. ⬇️

batsy I have some reservations about the war section that I haven't fully figured out. It's less, I think, about the writing of it, but the sensibility. The strange gloss of romance & idealisation of war & the American soldiers felt a bit like propaganda, but is it because it's from Claude's naive perspective? Despite those issues, the beauty & meaning of this book are complex & compelling as it always is with her writing. #catherbuddyread @Graywacke 2mo
Lcsmcat It did feel like two different books, didn‘t it. I had different issues with the last part, but didn‘t find it pro-war. I felt it was Claude‘s idealistic perspective. She kind of spells it out at the very end when his mother is thinking that she‘s almost glad he died in battle rather than coming home, realizing that it wasn‘t a glorious cause, and killing himself like so many others did. I‘m looking forward to the discussion this weekend! 2mo
TheAromaofBooks I love that cover! 2mo
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Cathythoughts Lovely review & yes, beautiful cover 2mo
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Oh wow - Willa Cather, WWI - I need this! Stacked! 2mo
Graywacke Always love your reviews. Will be thinking about these as I finish up, especially the “gloss”. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat Yes! It did feel like two different halves & that to me was interesting. How inward & unhappy Claude was before he joined the war effort & the communal sense of the narrative, in a way, after he did. You make a great point about Mrs Wheeler's observation at the end. I think the text does show a lot of tension between various positions on the war & the various ways of memorialising. 2mo
batsy @TheAromaofBooks @Cathythoughts Thank you & yes, the Vintage editions of Cather's books are very pretty ❤️ 2mo
batsy @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I'm slowly making my way through her books thanks to the buddy reads & appreciating her writing more & more 🙂💜 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Thank you! I look forward to your thoughts once you're done & to the discussion with the group. 2mo
readordierachel Fabulous review, as always 💕 Once again you've made me wonder why I haven't read her yet. 2mo
CarolynM I'm still catching up, but enjoying the read🙂 Excellent review, as always. (edited) 2mo
batsy @readordierachel Thank you! ❤️ She's been a wonderful discovery for me :) 2mo
batsy @CarolynM Thank you :) I look forward to our discussion! 2mo
Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat ( @CarolynM ) These comments mean a lot more coming back to them after finishing. First - Basty - your comments are really elegant. Second, Linda - I totally agree about the end. Third - idealization of war, have thoughts on them. I‘ll come back to that. Need time to work them out. 2mo
Suet624 I‘m so glad you‘re enjoying her work so much. 2mo
batsy @Suet624 So glad I'm reading her, thanks to Litsy! ❤️ 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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ReadingDownUnder Can I stop working now and read??? Working from home so maybe! 2mo
Tashreads I‘m done ✅ but may add on another hour just to be sure 😏 2mo
Sue Great spot! And it‘s beautiful weather for it! 2mo
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AntoinetteBuchanan That looks lovely. I‘m sick in bed so little reading today 2mo
Texreader Have a wonderful reading hour! I think reading should be a global holiday! 2mo
CarolynM @AntoinetteBuchanan That's no good! Hope you're feeling better soon💐 2mo
CarolynM @sue😘 2mo
CarolynM @Texreader Thanks! Maybe we should form a world literacy group and start agitating for World Reading Hour🙂 2mo
Cathythoughts Lovely pic 🌻🌞 2mo
CarolynM Thank you @Cathythoughts 😘 2mo
LeeRHarry That‘s a nice reading spot 😊 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Awww thank you!!! I‘m about to start!! 💗😘💗😘 2mo
Rissreads What a beautiful reading spot! Enjoy! 💚 2mo
Jeg Looks perfect. I got in an hour this morning. It‘s 2* degrees outside here in Helsinki. ⛄️⛄️. 2mo
CarolynM @Jeg Well done👏 Keep warm😘 2mo
keepingupwiththepenguins YES! I got my hour in, and maybe tonight I'll double up 😅 😂 🤓 2mo
AceOnRoam You can tag this little Aussie next time too 😊 2mo
CarolynM @AceOnRoam Sorry I didn't think of you. Are you still on your travels? 2mo
AceOnRoam @CarolynM no worries, I was geared up for the Hour, but I forgot LOL. Yes we are in Fiji, heading to Brisbane soon! 2mo
CarolynM @AceOnRoam That sounds lovely. Hope the winds are fair for your journey🙂 2mo
AceOnRoam Thanks heaps 💕 2mo
Graywacke Looks lovely too (embarrassed - but just realizing here you‘re in Australia 🤦🏻‍♂️ - had placed you in the UK. Sorry...) 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke No worries - it's hard to keep track of where everyone is. At least now you know why I'm always late to the discussion🙂 2mo
Abailliekaras Oh how fabulous! I have been reading Ducks, Newburyport so I‘m only just surfacing (no pun intended ha!). 😉🦆 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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My eBook has a boring cover, so I searched for a cover that worked for both parts of this book. It was difficult to find one. I can‘t wait to discuss with the #catherbuddyread so I won‘t say too much. But, starting this one I didn‘t think I would like it as much as the other Cather works I‘ve read. Then it grabbed me. WWI gets short-shrift in fiction, but it made a powerful setting in Cather‘s capable hands. @Graywacke

Graywacke Yay! I‘m just starting book 5. Will see how it goes. Anxious... 2mo
CrowCAH The guy on the cover reminds me of a coworker! 2mo
Lcsmcat @CrowCAH Does he have a secret life as a book cover model? 😀 2mo
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CrowCAH @Lcsmcat not that I‘m aware of. Though, he is a painter. Perhaps he painted his own portrait?! 2mo
Tamra I just started V! I hope it lives up to the preceding books. 🤞🏾 2mo
CarolynM There are some good WWI novels around. Have you read 2mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM I haven‘t. I know there are some good ones, just not like WWII. I loved 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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I have to agree with her here. #catherbuddyread @Graywacke

batsy I was thinking the same. 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy Am I alone in hoping Bayliss faces some slight humiliation before this is over? Maybe losing Gladys, publicly? 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat haha! He‘s...oye... I kept waiting for him to come around and pick himself up before we left NE. He just go worse 2mo
batsy You're not alone 😂 I'm almost towards the end and sadly I think Bayliss is spared. 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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Welcome to adulting Claude. #catherbuddyread

Ruthiella It was a challenge even 100 years ago!😂 It‘s not this generation, it‘s every new generation! 2mo
Tamra @Ruthiella the decay of youthful idealism is so painful. 😌 2mo
batsy Right? I felt for poor Claude. 2mo
Graywacke Who knew? 🤦🏻‍♂️ 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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One of Ours - Books 2-4. #catherbuddyread

Enid, enlistment and transport - what an experience onboard! Wondering what everyone thinks of Enid and of what Claude witnesses and of Claude himself, the kid in a hell who would rather be there than anywhere else.

The lower image is part of an aerial photo of Hogg Island Shipyard, Philadelphia 1919. The lower a shipyard recruitment poster by Jonas Lie (what better name for a propaganda artist?)

Lcsmcat Oh my God, Enid! Why did either of those two think marrying each other was a good idea?!?!?! 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat Sums up my thoughts 😂😭 2mo
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batsy Claude is a beautifully-drawn character, & I wasn't sure if his sense of emptiness about his life & marriage & the suddenness with which he enlists alarming or admirable. Maybe both. In this book Cather continues to be deeply skeptical about marriage, I think? The way she depicts how stifling, almost soul-destroying, it can be for the sensitive person who enters into it with minimal knowledge about who their spouse actually is breaks my heart. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @batsy so true - what hell made this match? Wondering what was up with Enid. Religious self-suppression of lesbian leanings? Claude missed a lot of signs, regardless of the cause 2mo
Graywacke @batsy I have to withhold judgment on Claude. He‘s a child of circumstance, does what we can see to do - and he‘s a crappy chess player so maybe not so good a working all the moves out. But, I like how you put it - beautifully draw character. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @batsy I‘m glad you mentioned Cather‘s feelings on marriage. So much to think about on this - great discussion topic! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy I can‘t think of a Cather that portrays marriage in a good light. But this one seems to have been predictable. I‘m not sure that Enid was lesbian so much as asexual. There was a quote about Enid wondering why a ceremony could turn something (I.e. sex) that was the worst thing into the best. I‘ll try to find it when I get home. But I think she had no interest in any kind of intimacy, physical or emotional. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke You‘re right about the chess playing and Claude. He never seems to have been able to take control of his own life. If Enid‘s father had been more frank, I‘m not sure he would have believed him. It was like he finally decided to get his own way and couldn‘t see that it was a disaster. So then going into the army was a do-over. His decision, but one he didn‘t have to fight for because local sentiment was behind him. 2mo
CarolynM I've fallen behind with my reading this week. I'll try to catch up and check in then to see what you've all had to say. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM curious on your thoughts too once you catch up (I might have asked too much this week for a group read) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat you‘re right, he never is in control. Just gets prodded along. Arguably getting worked over by his father was another chess/life strategy fail. He never saw it coming. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Good point about Enid not being keen for intimacy of any kind. A spiritual malaise of sorts. Devoted to the ideals of religion but quite indifferent to actual people. 2mo
Tamra I‘m behind, sorry buddy readers! 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra we can forgive! (Considering my moronic schedule, it‘s only reasonable). 2mo
Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat I know that‘s what we‘re presented with, but yet, personally, I keep looking for more comprehensible explanations. Maybe I‘m over-complicating 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Not at all! Looking for more explanations is what makes us readers 😁 2mo
CarolynM Finally finished Book 4! I'm not sure Cather is skeptic all about marriage as such @batsy - there are plenty of examples of happy marriages in her stories. But she is very critical of the social conventions around relationships between the sexes and particularly the expectations placed on women. I'm going to quote from chapter X of book 3 👇 2mo
CarolynM "Perhaps if older people were a little more honest, and a boy were not taught to idealise in women the very qualities which can make him utterly unhappy" I would add that girls were also taught that these qualities were what they should aspire to. So it must have been very difficult to "flick the switch", as it were, upon marriage. I think Enid probably should have followed her sister into missionary life straight away - it would have suited her. 2mo
CarolynM I find Claude fascinating. I think he is yearning for intellectual and emotional stimulation which is why his friends in Lincoln and then Victor Morse are so appealing to him. His tragedy is that it took a war to make him break away from his family's expectations to do something that would bring him any kind of fulfilment. 2mo
batsy @CarolynM Yes, well put. Character limitations make it hard to say all I want to say sometimes, but she definitely zeroes in on the social conventions and expectations that govern heterosexual relations and marriage. I agree also about that assessment of Enid; clearly marriage was not for her. As a reader it was painful to have a bit of insight into a character and see them fall headlong into a bad decision. 2mo
CarolynM @batsy Those character limits can be really frustrating! Yes to the pain of Claude and Enid's "courtship". I was also pained by Gladys's inability to show her potential romantic interest in Claude - another example of the expectations on women. I also liked the details of the voyage to France - it is staggering how careless the authorities were with the lives of those young men even before they faced the enemy. 2mo
batsy @CarolynM The voyage to France was so vivid! I almost felt faint myself from the nausea and the cold the boys and men were suffering from. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM @batsy @Lcsmcat The transport section really got to me too, the idea of being reduced to something tossed in that cold lonely sea - it‘s really horrifying. And, of course, she lets us know some of these kids (if kids can be in their mid-twenties) before it happens. The scene where he keeps his friends pictures and has the stuff from guys he didn‘t know tossed unexamined hung around a long time. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM @batsy @Lcsmcat skepticism on marriage : This has me wondering about Cather‘s long haul themes (as if all these books were one book). She has a sensitive hand on her criticism of social convention and she doesn‘t apply it universally, but she is aware that these conventions are insufficient. Everyone is in tension with these conventions, and it‘s almost unique in each case - and Cather goes there. Her women are great examples. 👇 (edited) 2mo
Graywacke She‘s not feminist exactly, she doesn‘t do categories. She plays with race/national identity etc, but she has a strong sense that all people are just people. Her women almost always outside convention in some way. Claude‘s mother stultified by marriage, his wife asexual, and then there is the woman fighter pilot shot down by his friend, and suffering an agonizing prolonged death. She‘s a hero in this book, and her theme, on individuality... 👇 2mo
Graywacke On making ways that are outside conventional design. If convention is a series of winding road to follow, to many of her characters these are only rough guidelines. They have some options and they can stumble around off these roads altogether. What‘s central, almost always, is the strength from their rural demanding strengthening foundation. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke (Got a little carried away... ) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy @CarolynM No, don‘t apologize! This is my favorite buddy read group because we DO get carried away! Re: the journey to France, It was horrible because they were so young and idealistic (and yes, I think 20somethings are kids) and they were dying suddenly, painfully, without their loved ones around them, and for what? They all expected, live or die, the “glory” of war. And they got the flu, and not even a marked grave. 2mo
Lcsmcat Cather shows us in all her books (at least the ones I‘ve read) the dangers of believing the cultural myths and trying to shoehorn ourselves into them. So, yes, she‘s a feminist, because that means believing that women are fully human, and men are so much more than machismo. We all of us are capable of a wide range of being. I‘ve been trying to come up with happy marriage examples from her work. I know there are some. 👇🏻 2mo
Lcsmcat But most of her characters, male & female, main or secondary, are struggling with how they “fit” in some way or another. Whether in their relationships with other people, or the land, or cultural expectations. 2mo
Lcsmcat I do think, however, that Cather does some of her own myth making on the idea of “prairie strength” and the midwestern ethos of individuality. But it just proves she‘s human. 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I think you're absolutely right about the individuality of her characters, particularly the women. For me this is one of her greatest strengths. @Lcsmcat I agree with you about her myth making and also about her characters struggling to fit. The happy marriages that come to mind are the music teacher in SotL, Jim's grandparents and ultimately Antonia in MA, Leonard and Susie here. 2mo
CarolynM And I second @Lcsmcat I love that we all have plenty to say about these books and the issues they raise. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM A little irony is that Cather is part of the American myth. She along with a few other prairie writers largely define the conservative resourceful strong American fly-over mythic character. In Cather it‘s really unfair because she is actively undermining it (the myth, not the people) But also she is documenting - this is a huge part of what makes her special, her fleshed record of this time and place (Nebraska around 1900)👇 (edited) 2mo
Graywacke The thing with Cather is she really believes she‘s telling the truth, the whole truth. And that means she reports her generalizations. And her generalizations become her mythologies, they‘re over-simplified truths. So, yes, she is absolutely creating mythology, despite herself. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke She is indeed part of the mythology- like Laura Ingalls Wilder. But unlike Wilder she faces ugly truths head on. I‘m reading Thomas Wolfe now too, and he puts a lot of focus on the author as truth teller. It‘s fascinating to see how her gentler style sometimes allows her to tell more searing truths than his in your face style. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat haven‘t read Wolfe, but sounds like he‘s attacking, that he has an agenda, or a more blatant agenda. Cather maybe tries to not have a critical agenda. She‘s critical only as it applies to constructing her world. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat As @batsy noted, she comes across as not critical of war or American soldiers. Same applies, she‘s telling the story and the criticism (the carnage and suicides) is merely part of the scene. It‘s not there for itself, but only part of the truth of capturing the war experience. But now I‘ve slid into book 5... 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Wolfe writes as a young man (he died at 37 and was a young 37, if you know what I mean) so he lacks Cather‘s maturity. She is better able to show us the Truth because she doesn‘t have to smack the reader in the face with it. 😀 Her prose goes down smoothly like a Brandy Alexander, but packs just as much punch as another writer‘s moonshine. 😀🥃 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat a brandy Alexander? I don‘t know what that is. Sounds good though. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Brandy, cream, and crème de cacao. It‘s very smooth. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Sounds wonderful. Ok, it kind of sounds like I drop a scoop of chocolate ice cream into a glass of brandy. Crème de cacao is obviously not chocolate... time to google. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat oh... yum 😋 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I agree with @Lcsmcat and @CarolynM - no apologising! The "getting carried away" is the best part ? I love all the points here about the particularities of her characters & how a certain image of her work has come to be constructed. Co-opted, in a way, (for lack of a better word) for a particular form of traditional or conservative national mythology when her work is alive with so many contradictions & tensions & is not polemical. 2mo
batsy I'm OK with calling her a feminist writer if we take feminism to mean not a negation of men but the ability to see & depict women as fully human, with all of the contradictions that entails. Our group reads of Shakespeare have made me appreciate that aspect, too. Social constructs are reflected in the plots & in the way women are categorised as shrews or sweet virgins or harpies or whatever, but his women characters are also complex & interesting. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat That sounds delicious. It's morning over here and I'm craving one for breakfast 😆 2mo
Lcsmcat @batsy 🤣 2mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I love the way you have explained the myth making? In regards to her attitude to war, I think we have to remember that there was a very different understanding of wars and the reasons for fighting them in the first half of the 20th century than there has been subsequently. @batsy I would characterise her as feminist for the reasons you have given, and also because she challenges the notions of female submissiveness and "virtue". 2mo
CarolynM @Lcsmcat It's been many years since I drank a Brandy Alexander but you've got me thinking about it now😋 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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“He could go back to any house in Pinedale or Du Bois and be welcomed like a son.” I love Pinedale, and spent happy vacations and anniversaries there, summer and winter. I can‘t say that I‘ve ever seen it referenced in literature before. #catherbuddyread @Graywacke

megnews Isn‘t it neat when you come across references to places you know when reading? I love that. 2mo
Graywacke How cool! 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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The comment above, as soldiers head out watching the Statue of Liberty, comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s pre-Civil War poem The Building of the Ship, a patriotic plea for unity and looking forward.

Some links:



Graywacke From the 2nd link (will split into 2 or more comment: “Fanny Kemble performed this poem in dramatic readings, bringing herself and audiences to tears in the memorable emotional crescendo of the last stanza with its invocation to an imperiled country that is nonetheless the best hope for the world: “Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! / Sail on, O UNION, strong and great!” 2mo
Graywacke “President Abraham Lincoln, hearing these lines recited in the midst of the Civil War, is reported to have wept before remarking, “It is a wonderful gift to be able to stir men like that.” “ 2mo
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jewright This is such a sad, but true, description. 2mo
Lcsmcat This part is stirring, but it made me wonder if Cather had ever been on a ship. No matter how powerful the preacher‘s voice was (and she describes it as quavering) I doubt you could hear on another ship. But it makes a good scene. 😀 2mo
Graywacke @jewright yeah 😐 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat it does. And she was actually on many ships. There are photos. She was well traveled. (I don‘t think Cather meant anyone could here except those standing right next to the speaker.) 2mo
Graywacke *hear ☺️ 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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🙀 Nooooo, not TWO cups of stimulant! 😆

#catherbuddyread @Graywacke

jillrhudy Three please, with sugar. 2mo
Smrloomis Yessss! It‘s one of the best stimulants you can get 😂 2mo
Graywacke Bayliss - what a mess. (Which I type while drinking ☕️ - my second serving!) 2mo
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Lcsmcat Bayliss is a piece of work, isn‘t he? 2mo
jewright Since his personality or convictions or whatever won‘t allow him to have any fun or enjoy himself, he feels the need to ruin enjoyment for everyone! He‘s a killjoy! 2mo
Tamra @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @jewright he definitely is! I don‘t know whether to be irritated or pity him. 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra I‘m irritated 🙂 @jewright yes, he is a killjoy. 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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I‘m not sure it rises to the level of treason, but after 35 years married to a trombonist, I can see the annoyance. 🤣 #catherbuddyread @Graywacke

CarolynM I've just read in Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem about Joan Baez's neighbours in the Carmel Valley in the 60's complaining about her sitting under trees on her property on weekends. There's no pleasing some people! 2mo
Graywacke 🤣 🤣 2mo
jillrhudy If you‘re gonna be an annoying neighbor, ‘bone up and go all out. 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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(1973 US postage stamp)

“...and he is terribly afraid of being fooled”

“It wasn‘t American to explain yourself.”

I adore Claude Wheeler. Is he a rebel, a misfit in his world, a independent spirit at home with the challenges of the land? His clash and compromise with his world fascinates. How would you feel in this family? What did you all think? Is this what you were expecting?

#catherbuddyread One of Ours - Book I

Graywacke Also, share your favorite quotes? (I have so many highlighted in my Kindle book) 2mo
batsy I wasn't sure what to expect because I didn't know much about it before starting, but I too love Claude. The blurb on my edition calls this a "beautifully modulated" novel and it really is. Her writing is so assured & takes its time. So many good lines. I loved this one too: "Sometimes he thought security was what was the matter with everybody; that only perfect safety was required to kill all the best qualities in people & develop the mean ones." 2mo
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batsy 👆🏽 It'll be interesting to see how that idea of security and meanness or smallness of character continues to develop in the novel when the war happens. 2mo
Lcsmcat I agree with @batsy ! Claude makes me sad because his life seems to be ruled by someone else‘s wishes. I‘m hoping the war which we know is coming will affect this. 2mo
jewright I love Claude. His father annoys me. The part with the cherry tree just breaks my heart. I hate when people do things out of spite. 2mo
Lcsmcat @jewright Exactly! Poor Claude is surrounded by selfish men and a weak woman. 2mo
Tanisha_A You are so sweet for tagging me. Haven't been reading this yet. ☺️ 2mo
Graywacke @batsy appreciate your comments on her writing. Your comments make me think of my current read 2mo
Graywacke @batsy also that quote seems so apropos today 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat true about him being rules. Personally I don‘t mind his family having influence, but they really use him, squashing who he wants to be (maybe or maybe not without realizing it). That bothers me. 2mo
Graywacke @jewright his dad is such a cruel match for him. Seems everyone likes his dad, but he sees right through to the dark aspects. I thought he was alone being the only one who sees through his dad, which, if I got that right, is really isolating. His silly mother is no help. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes that ( @jewright ). Selfish dad, brother, (field helper?), weak mom... 2mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A of course. I forgot. Should I take you off the list for this one? 2mo
catebutler I really appreciate how clever Cather is with her characters and I think Claude is one of my favorite Cather characters. This first part of the novel really captures the dynamics of a farming family in the early 1900‘s. It would be very difficult to be talented, sharp minded and a dreamer but be expected to let that go, in order to better the family. And I agree, so many passages are marked and flagged in my edition so far. 2mo
CarolynM I highlighted that quote too @batsy ? Another one I liked "Evidently it took more intelligence to spend money than to make it." I agree his father is awful and the cherry tree incident is the perfect example @jewright His parent's views about his education are so frustrating but not that different from some people's modern attitudes - if it's church based is must be good and we don't want you thinking you know better than us. (edited) 2mo
jewright @Lcsmcat I feel like the mom tries, but she‘s stuck and can‘t fight against the father. She tries to offer the coat, for example, when his dad stops him from taking the car. She tries to comfort Claude about the tree, but she feels trapped between the two. She has no escape from the father and tries to play peacemaker as best she can. 2mo
jewright @CarolynM I hate when parents don‘t their children‘s opinions on education. If a child can offer a reason, it is something the kid has to live with, not the parents. It‘s not like he wanted to drop out. 2mo
Lcsmcat @catebutler Yes, Claude has to give up his dreams to run the farm for his family. 2mo
Lcsmcat @jewright She does try. That‘s why I called her weak. She‘s not evil or selfish, but she isn‘t strong enough to do anything to help Claude follow his dreams. 2mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM That‘s a great quote! 2mo
Graywacke @catebutler great points, especially on capturing the dynamics. Cather documents her time and place wonderfully. She‘s a special record. And I love Claude too. Not sure he‘s my favorite, but he has a lot to love in his open questioning mind and his outer stoic work ethic. 2mo
batsy @CarolynM That's a great quote! 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM great quote and apt today (and then with the robber barons). This quote got me on his mother: “According to her conception of education, one should learn, not think; and above all, one must not enquire. The history of the human race, as it lay behind one, was already explained; and so was its destiny, which lay before. The mind should remain obediently within the theological concept of history.” 2mo
batsy @catebutler Very good point about how a person of Claude's temperament would fare in a farming family. @Graywacke The dad instantly rubbed me the wrong way and I can't help but be #TeamClaude on this one. I like how Cather points out how a sensitive child and the all-purpose jocular dad is a mismatch from the start. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM and this one got my attention too, on his mother again. I hear it in my neighborhood today: “she had told him once or twice that nothing could happen in the world which would give her so much pleasure as to see him reconciled to Christ.” 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat The mother is one of those Cather characters I find so intriguing. I'm also frustrated with her and her inability to stand up for her son, but that scene where Cather depicts how she *feels* the pain on her son's behalf (when he's told by his father that he is to run the farm) really got to me, as well. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy yes. His dad. Complicated character there. Acts happy and joyful, but is actually controlling and stifling (and sharp). He‘s not kind at all, it‘s just show. 😐 2mo
Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat @jewright his mother is intriguing. She isn‘t a bad person, she‘s just so closed minded. She simply blocks things out and so can‘t see a lot... but she means well. I think her weakness comes from her unwillingness to go outside her comfort zone. The tension when he tries to find comfort in her and can‘t because she can‘t see what‘s important to him, and so they can‘t connect... that was moving to me. 2mo
Graywacke Does anyone else see John Grady Cole parallels with Claude? Maybe I‘m just being silly. But the outward stoicism strikes me. John Grady Cole is the main character in (edited) 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Yes, about the mother—nicely put. The father: I know people like that and they've always made me reflexively uncomfortable, so I think I relate just a little too much to Claude! Haven't read All the Pretty Horses. Cormac McCarthy is a writer I want to read but I feel I need to be prepared 🙂 2mo
Graywacke @batsy McCarthy is unnecessary but excellent. A terrific wordsmith who likes it dark and gory. I loved reading through his work. All the Pretty Horses is his easiest book to read, to get into and connect with, because, despite everything else, JGC is really beautiful. I‘ll let my advertisement sleep there. 🙂 2mo
CarolynM @batsy @Graywacke I agree about the mother. She loves Claude, but she's unable to see anything from any perspective other than her own. Those quotes are excellent. And it is sad for both of them. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @carolynm @jewright Re the mother and the “learn not think” quote - perhaps her narrow view developed as a kind of protection against the father‘s controlling abuse. If she could admit to herself that life could be different from the preordained path, then she would bear some level of responsibility for the way her husband treated her son. Either because she chose him in the 1st place, or stayed without standing up to him. A kind of ⬇️ (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat “this life doesn‘t matter, only the next one does” mentality? Just a thought that occurred to me with the juxtaposition of these quotes. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat it‘s an interesting question. Was she like this before they met and married, or did she become like this after they married? 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM yes, it‘s really sad. I feel the same. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM @batsy @jewright @catebutler @crazeedi @Tanisha_A @Tamra @bromeliad A note to let everyone know there‘s a lot to read for next week. Books 2-4 are only 70 pages in my kindle edition, but it turns out that‘s like 200 pages in a normal edition. (Apologies for the poor planning) 2mo
Tanisha_A @Graywacke Hahaha! You can! I'd join another buddy read you host later. 🥰 2mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A sure. Will do. 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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This book published in 1922 has some of the most relevant lines I've read in 2019.

#catherbuddyread @Graywacke

Ruthiella That‘s one of the things I love about reading Classics! They show us that sometimes our ideas aren‘t as “modern”as we think! 2mo
batsy @Ruthiella Absolutely! 2mo
Graywacke Wonderful. I kept highlighting and highlighting. 2mo
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Louise I‘m on a bit of a Willa Cather kick these days, ever since picking up a book of her letters and essays on the writing process. Her work definitely still speaks to us today! (edited) 2mo
batsy @Graywacke Yes! I can't seem to stop underlining. 2mo
batsy @Louise I'm on that kick too, thanks to the group reads 🙂 Thanks for the rec, this looks good! 2mo
Louise Have there been “group reads” on Litsy for Cather‘s novels? Sounds good! I just finished Death Comes for the Archbishop and was amazed by it. So exquisitely written! 2mo
CarolynM Love those quotes. I'm enjoying this one as much as the others.🙂 2mo
batsy @Louise Yes! I joined a bit late so not sure if I've missed any books, but so far we've covered the Great Plains trilogy and have moved on to this. Our host is @Graywacke :) 2mo
batsy @CarolynM Me too 💜 2mo
Lcsmcat I highlighted those same quotes. Cather was very perceptive. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy i don‘t think you missed any. First was O Pioneers! @Louise see #catherbuddyread if interested and thanks for that note in her letters and essays. 2mo
Louise @Graywacke Thanks for the info. I‘ll check out that Cather convo thread! 2mo
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I'm not even a huge Willa Cather fan, but I want each and every one of these beautiful editions. #Flowers #SelfImprovementSept
@Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @OriginalCyn620

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks These are pretty 🌼🌷🌺🌸 2mo
OriginalCyn620 Pretty! 🌸🌼 2mo
Tamra Very pretty! 2mo
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Louise They are lovely! I‘m currently reading Cather‘s 2mo
Andrea313 @Louise I haven't read that one yet! Thank you for the recommendation! 2mo
Louise The story centers around a French missionary who brings Catholicism to the Mexicans and Indians in Santa Fe, Taos, and elsewhere in the Southwest in the early days. One really gets a feel for what life was like back then. Great writing. 2mo
Hoopiefoot These are beautiful!! 2mo
Andrea313 @Louise Thanks for the info, you have definitely piqued my interest! 2mo
Lcsmcat Those are beautiful editions! 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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Cather turns philosophical. #catherbuddyread I don‘t think it‘s a spoiler, but just in case. 😀 @Graywacke

Graywacke I like to imagine she always had a little social justice warrior in her 🙂 (think her last book complicates that fantasy a bit...of course, I haven't read it) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Do you mean Sapphira and the Slave Girl? I haven‘t read it yet either. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes, that one. It came up in something I read, a book I can't remember the book anymore. The issue was, iirc, the unintended racism. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke We‘ll have to remember that when we get to that one and see if it holds up. Sometimes I think those kinds of charges against older authors are valid, but sometimes they show a lack of subtlety on the part of the person making the argument. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat if I could only remember the context. But yeah, it's something I wonder about, (and will continue to until we read it!!) 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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A reminder and a tone setter of sorts for One of Ours (well, a guess at a possible undertone) #catherbuddyread

@Lcsmcat @CarolynM @batsy @jewright @catebutler @crazeedi @Tanisha_A @Tamra @bromeliad

Tamra Thank you - keep the reminders coming! 😄 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra 😂 This is your only one! From now on you‘ll have to live dangerously. 2mo
Lcsmcat I‘ve started - can‘t wait to discuss it with y‘all! 2mo
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Tamra @Graywacke living on the edge! 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat 👍 I‘ll start in a couple days. I‘m ready, though. 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra 😂 😂 2mo
Crazeedi I have to look for this 2mo
Tanisha_A Hello! Looks like it'll be difficult for me to join! :( 2mo
CarolynM I've downloaded the book. Looking forward to getting started 🙂 2mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi good luck C 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM 👍 me too! 2mo
batsy Just had a closer look at the schedule 😁 To confirm, we're doing books 2, 3, and 4 in one week to discuss on Sep 15? 2mo
Graywacke @batsy yes... I think. Is it too much? (A little less than twice book 1) 2mo
Graywacke @batsy a little of my thought process. In my Kindle edition books 2, 3 and 4 are 70 pages, which seemed like a slightly long but reasonable week for our pace. But...the 43 pages of book 1 took me 3.5 hours this read! (5 min/page) So, now I known the Kindle page is like two or three regular pages and books 2-4 are more like 175 pages... so, my prediction sucked. 😐 2mo
batsy Haha! 😆 It's hard to predict the estimated reading time with Kindle pagination! I love my Kindle but it's one of the things that drives me a bit batty. No worries, I'm sure we'll be able to get through it in a week 💪🏽😁 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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1. Tagged, plus Thirteen Moons;
2. Relax and read - and maybe antiquing;
3. Cherry Garcia;
4. Oboe was my major, but I also play recorder, guitar, piano, and all the band/orchestra instruments well enough to teach beginners;
5. 👍🏻
#friyayintro @howjessreads

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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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Library haul! I am likely going to have a LOOOT of reading time over the next two weeks, so I stocked up. 😊 #catherbuddyread #1001books #pulitzerbio #readaroundtheworld #argentina #israel #nigeria #libya

One of Ours | Willa Cather
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#catherbuddyread will read One of Ours in September. Just a handful of us on this are planning on reading Cather‘s take on the consequences (?) of World War I, her 1923 Pulitzer Prize winner that I had never heard of before this sequence of group reads. But we‘re open to more readers. If you‘re interested, feel free to jump in.

Crazeedi I need to see if I can find this! 3mo
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Graywacke One more note to say that, if you have noticed my being very quiet lately, there‘s a reason. Some distraction, good ones. So, crazy weekend over, time to get back into Litsy life. I miss it. 3mo
CarolynM 👍 3mo
Crazeedi @Graywacke I've been rather absent too, life kinda did me in this week, 😏 3mo
Lcsmcat We missed you, but life gets in the way sometimes. Glad you‘re back. 3mo
batsy Can't wait! 3mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi wishing you better week. This book is free on Project Gutenberg and available on Amazon ($1?) 3mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat thanks. Will catch up with your posts at some point ... get my poetry fix. 3mo
Graywacke @batsy 👍 3mo
Crazeedi @Graywacke thanks! And that's where I was going to look!! 3mo
Tanisha_A Hello hello! I haven't got much reading time these days, will try to join in. 3mo
Tamra I can join in this round! I‘ve read it in the past, but it was so long ago I don‘t recall much of anything about it. 🙃 3mo
catebutler I‘d love to be included in this! 3mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A @Tamra @catebutler adding you to the list. 3mo
bromeliad Add me, too, if you don't mind. :) 2mo
Graywacke @bromeliad you‘re on the list. 👍 2mo
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One of Ours | Willa Cather

Been trying to get more into classic literature, this book for me was a good read, had its ups and downs but all the whole and moving works.

One of Ours | Willa Cather
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Midway thru this book.

RaimeyGallant Welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon
Eggs Welcome 🌸👋🏻 1y
Chelleo Welcome to Litsy! Here are direct links to #Litsytips: http://bit.ly/litsytips and #LitsyHowTo videos: goo.gl/UrCpoU. There‘s lots of fun things to do: book exchanges, buddy reads, photo challenges and more! Check out @LitsyHappenings for details. 1y
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StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💙 1y
julesG Welcome to the Litsy family! 1y
CarolynM Welcome to Litsy 👋🙂 1y
Wife Welcome to Litsy!🌹 1y
rather_be_reading welcome to litsy!! 📚🎉📚 1y
Bookspirit 👋☺ Welcome to Litsy and Congrats on becoming a Litten 👏☺ 1y
Jess7 Welcome!! 🤗📚📖 1y
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One of Ours | Willa Cather


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One of Ours | Willa Cather
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#junebookbugs day 23: #classicstbr
There are so many classics out there I haven't read. And that's partly why I joined the Back to the Classics challenge. But I suck at year-long challenges and have barely made a dent. You can see my reading list here https://reallifereading.com/2016/12/14/back-to-the-classics-2017/

Today I was browsing at the library by myself (a rare thing this past year) and found some classics I've been wanting to read

readinginthedark I love Willa Cather! 2y
Crystallinegirl Oh, that's a fascinating reading challenge! I might have to try that one! I would like to read more classics, but urban fantasy is so tempting I usually wind up reading that instead, lol. 2y
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