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My Antonia (Original Classics)
My Antonia (Original Classics) | Willa Cather
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My Antonia is a novel published in 1918 by American writer Willa Cather, considered one of her best works. The novel tells the stories of an orphaned boy from Virginia, Jim Burden, and the elder daughter in a family of Bohemian immigrants, Antonia Shimerda, who are each brought to be pioneers in Nebraska towards the end of the 19th century, as children. Both the pioneers who first break the prairie sod for farming, as well as of the harsh but fertile land itself, feature in this American novel. The first year in the very new place leaves strong impressions in both children, affecting them lifelong."
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My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather
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This was my second read, and I fell more in love... mostly. #audiobook #dw2020reads

Pros: The farm life and small town life routines will appeal to Little House fans. Many passages about the plains landscape touch my heart and bring up memories. As I get older, I sympathize with more and more characters.

Con: Part 2, Chapter 7! Slight spoiler as that chapter's all romanticized racism. Feel free to skip it as it doesn't affect anything crucial.

effani That racist chapter really took me by surprise and soured me on the whole book when I reread it recently. Your advice to skip it is wise! 2w
DWpalooza Right?! I was shocked that I hadn't remembered it from my first read though. 2w
5 likes2 comments
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10 years ago, I was embarking on a year-long reading project to mark the 100th anniversary of my employer, the Rochester (NY) Public Library. I read 100 books - 1 book from each year the library was in operation. I read some amazing books and some duds. The best and most beautiful was My Antonia by Willa Cather. Here is what I wrote about it - https://itsallaboutthebook.org/2011/03/04/100-years-100-books-6-1918/

mabell That‘s a cool idea! 4w
PatriciaU It was a lot of fun @mabell. I was surprised by the number of books that were best-sellers in their day that I had not heard of before. Some of the books stood the test of time, others did not. 4w
CarolynM Such a wonderful book. 4w
52 likes3 comments
My Antonia (Green) | Willa Cather
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These pretties have been at our local library's ongoing book sale the past few weeks. Every time I go in I feel tempted to bring a few home despite the fact that I don't collect books and try to gift my favorites as quickly as possible so I don't have to pack and unpack them next time we move. But a pretty copy of The Yearling or My Antonia could be happy on my bookshelves, maybe...

Clare-Dragonfly Ooh, those are lovely. It‘s worth having a pretty copy if you think you‘ll read it more than once! 2mo
ImperfectCJ @Clare-Dragonfly I like the way you think! 2mo
43 likes2 comments
My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather
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There was a basic harmony between Ántonia and her mistress. They had strong, independent natures, both of them. They knew what they liked, and were not always trying to imitate other people. They loved children and animals and music, and rough play and digging in the earth. They liked to prepare rich, hearty food and to see people eat it; to make up soft white beds and to see youngsters asleep in them.👇🏽

📷: Bantam classic cover of My Ántonia

Tanisha_A They ridiculed conceited people and were quick to help unfortunate ones. Deep down in each of them there was a kind of hearty joviality, a relish of life, not over-delicate, but very invigorating. 3mo
Tanisha_A It's amazing how Cather draws up characters, just so distinct - loving, funny, disliked, complicated. Savouring the last of Prairie trilogy. 3mo
Sace I adore Willa Cather. 3mo
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batsy Her ability to infuse her characters with so much life 💜 3mo
Tanisha_A @Sace Yesss, i love love love her. 3mo
Tanisha_A @batsy I will never get enough of her writing. She makes me so happy. ❤️ 3mo
readordierachel Lovely image 💙 3mo
Tanisha_A @readordierachel It's beautiful! 😍 3mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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?Spending this first ?fall feeling day on the couch in jammies, Lady Grey Tea ☕️and my day book of prayer!?Trying to finish up My Antonià.

Hazel2019 Ooh where did you get the cool mug 😍 3mo
Latrelwhite @Hazel2019 Got it at Marshall‘s it‘s the Rae Dunn. collection.😊 3mo
Hazel2019 Love it! 💕 😁 3mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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An #OrangeCover still on my TBR. But who can resist this gorgeous volume for long? #FallisBooked

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks So pretty 🧡🧡🧡 4mo
25 likes1 comment
My Antonia (Green) | Willa Cather
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I went to a large book sale today run by a couple nonprofit groups in my area and this was my best find. A Penguin Drop Caps copy of My Antonia! For $2! I have gazed lovingly and longingly at the web page for the Drop Caps books and dreamed of owning the whole collection. This is my first one. I audibly gasped when I recognized the spine. 😍🧡🧡🧡

erzascarletbookgasm That‘s a super great find! 🧡 4mo
mabell In that case, it isn‘t dreaming over the website - it‘s research! So you can spot it out in the wild. 😄 4mo
23 likes2 comments
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His mind was full of her that day. He made me see her again, feel her presence, revived all my old affection for her.
Started today!

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My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather
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I think Cather reminds us to break from this myth of subservient rural wives, and admire the variation of female strength, independence and vitality. She also uses that prose of hers to create something of a childhood Garden of Eden. It‘s not a simple as you might think. (For more, feel free to click on my attempt at a review...links in the comments)

Loved reading with the #catherbuddyread

batsy Beautifully put. I loved reading your long review on GR! (though I think you've mistakenly tagged another buddy read book :) 5mo
Graywacke @batsy didn‘t notice that... exposes the state of my poor little confused 🧠 5mo
batsy @Graywacke Haha, I can relate! You can edit it to change the tagged book, though. I'm just concerned that people looking up My Antonia won't see your excellent review :) 5mo
Graywacke @batsy I didn‘t know I could do that! Awesome, and thank you! Done. 5mo
51 likes5 comments
My Antonia (Green) | Willa Cather
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I am trying REALLY hard not to order these today. But look how gorgeous they are! Wouldn't these make one heck of a #bookhaul?! #GodGrantMeStrength

batsy Gorgeous! 5mo
wanderinglynn Lovely covers! 5mo
15 likes2 comments
My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather
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This was the first Cather I read and I loved it immediately. Her writing is incredibly evocative - she conjures people and places so vividly with small, telling details that make me feel like I know them and remember the times she is writing about. I loved the book just as much on this reread and thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. Thank you @Graywacke and all the buddy readers.

Cathythoughts Great review! Beautiful book. It‘s the only one I‘ve read so far 5mo
Ruthiella Loved this one too! 😍 5mo
CarolynM @Ruthiella I'll have to comb through your reviews and see what else you've liked recently to see what I should add to my TBR😀 5mo
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SamAnne It is on my dresser in the TBR pile. I‘ve wanted to read Cather for awhile. 5mo
Ruthiella Ah, I review religiously on Goodreads but not on Litsy. 🙁 5mo
CarolynM @Ruthiella I've never worked out Goodreads - it feels vast and impenetrable. I'm much more comfortable here. 5mo
Ruthiella I started using Goodreads in 2009 but not as an app - just the website. I can‘t really recommend any other Cather any way. I read The Professor‘s House and only liked the middle of it and it‘s been too long since I read Death Comes to the Archbishop. I want to try maybe O Pioneers next. 😀 5mo
CarolynM @Ruthiella I've read O Pioneers twice now and I like it a lot. Apart from the Prairie Trilogy, the only book of hers I've read is A Lost Lady. I like that one too.🙂 5mo
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I really enjoyed this book on this second reading. It‘s about 12 years later, and I guess I needed more life experience to appreciate that life has twists and turns and isn‘t what we expect. I love Cather‘s descriptions.

My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Book V - Cuzak‘s Boys and the end of the book.

Jim waited 20 years! The rest of this sections is a kind of epilogue of what Antonia became. For most of the book I thought Jim was a device to see Antonia, someone we never really see. But now we finish and I‘m wondering more about him than Antonia. Share your thoughts on him, Antonia, the others, what Cather might have been doing and the book overall.

Graywacke My favorite quote from this section: I did not want to find her aged and broken; I really dreaded it. In the course of twenty crowded years one parts with many illusions. I did not wish to lose the early ones. Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again. 5mo
Cathythoughts Love this quote ♥️💔 5mo
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Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts Me too! @Graywacke Like you, this section made me wonder about who the story is really about - Jim or Antonia. Perhaps the title is a clue? “My” Antonia, as Jim amended his manuscript. Authors show themselves through their work. Perhaps Cather is using this as a literary device to show us Jim? 5mo
Lcsmcat And I can‘t believe Jim waited 20 YEARS! 5mo
jewright I thought the last lines of the book tie Jim and Antonia together. “For Antonia and for me, this has been the Road to Destiny; had taken us to those early accidents of fortune which predetermined for us all that we can ever be. Now I understood that the same road was to bring us together again. Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incomunicable past.” 5mo
jewright Jim does just seem like a literary device. His life seems kind of empty compared to Antonia‘s here, especially at the end. The first time I read this I was disappointed they don‘t end up together, but it‘s really better this way. I‘m annoyed it took him so long, but I‘m glad he goes to see her, and she‘s happy. 5mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat - the lines strike home, no? I felt them. 5mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes, he adds “My” as a last thing, flipping the weight of the book from her to him. And once we start thinking about the whole book, and rethink the narrator, a lot of ideas come up. Was Jim Willa, at least in part, or not? Was he too soft for Antonia? Was he an educated cipher compared to her embrace of land and labor? And so on... He was damn passive, for sure. 5mo
Graywacke @jewright thanks for highlighting those last lines. They‘re beautiful and embrace everything, and life itself in all its flaws. Also, I agree with you about Jim being empty (see my previous comment to Linda). No kids, adrift of his foundation, an orphan and so on... 5mo
Graywacke @jewright and I‘m really with you on it being better they don‘t end up together, at least for Antonia. I think she would have been very frustrated with him. As soon as I saw the lines he waited 20 years, it was clear to me she knew him better than I did and she made the right decision. My thinking is ( @Lcsmcat ) regardless of their relationship, that 20 years adrift was the possibly the mistake of his life. 5mo
Lcsmcat @jewright I do love those lines. Cather‘s prose again! And it shows a bit of growth on his part, because he states earlier that he waited so long to go back because he was sure her life was awful and he didn‘t want to see her that way. But she was actually thriving- more so than Tiny for all her wealth- and happy. 5mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Was Jim Willa? Interesting question. I think he at least represents a bit of her. That part that Thomas Wolfe identified - you can‘t go home again. He was too passive for her and, I think, too soft for the land. I agree that they would not have made each other happy. And think of the years of misery he could have saved himself, thinking Antonia was miserable, if he‘d just gone to see her sooner. ⬇️ (edited) 5mo
Lcsmcat Like his surprise at how she dealt with her first child as a joy instead of a shame, it shows that he didn‘t know her as well as he thought he did. 5mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes, good pickup. I overlooked his response to the baby, which you mentioned last week. 5mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I love that quote and I completely understand the sentiment. The bond between Jim and Antonia was their childhood proximity, not really anything to do with who they were as people. I think Antonia understood this all along while Jim only got it at the end. Was Jim Willa? I'm sure he was, at least in part. 5mo
batsy I love that quote too! And @CarolynM I think you've summed it up beautifully. For me it feels like the book was Jim's path to realisation and I was mulling over what you said last week about my question about why Jim never made an effort for Antonia, as it were. I understand what you mean: Antonia always understood what kind of connection they had. 5mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM Yes! You said what I was feeling but hadn‘t articulated. Antonia was worth more to Jim as nostalgia than individual for most of the book. And contrast that with Anton, who was a city man by his own admission, but was happy on the farm because he loved Antonia and knew that she needed to be on the land to be truly happy. 5mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @jewright @batsy @CarolynM Taking in these last comments - and the connection to the time and place (and “Jim‘s path to realization”) Thanks all for the discussion here. Enjoyed the book and the trilogy. 5mo
Graywacke @catebutler @crazeedi @Lcsmcat @Tanisha_A @CarolynM @batsy @Caterina @squirrelbrain @Hooked_on_books @jewright @Amiable @jmofo @saresmoore - just a note to everyone. I‘m going to keep going through Cather‘s works. Next is One of Ours, which won the Pulitzer in 1923. If you‘d like to join, let me know. Not sure if there‘s interest, or how much, and if there is enough, not sure whether to continue to do it this way or have a less formal structure. 5mo
Graywacke @Tamra - see previous comment 5mo
Lcsmcat I‘m in. I‘ve really been enjoying these discussions! One of Ours is also available as a free download for those with eBook apps or readers, through Project Gutenberg or Amazon. 5mo
Hooked_on_books I won‘t be joining as Cather is not for me, but thank you for doing this! I like buddy reads and I‘m glad I finally read My Ántonia, even though I didn‘t enjoy it much. ??‍♀️ 5mo
CarolynM Thanks again for hosting these buddy reads. The discussions are great - very stimulating. I haven't read One of Ours. I'd love to read it with you and all the other tagees🙂 5mo
jewright @Graywacke I‘m in. I‘ve read it before, but I love discussing with the group. 5mo
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books Thanks. Glad you at least enjoyed the group and checked off a box, so to speak. 🙂 5mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @CarolynM @jewright four works. I wasn‘t sure what to expect, so happy for the interest. (We could still add more as others read the message) I‘ll come up with a September-ish schedule. 5mo
Lcsmcat 👍🏻 5mo
batsy I'd love to join in for more Cather! I'm in for One of Ours 🙂 I love her writing so I'm collecting physical copies; I just placed my order at Book Depo so here's hoping it doesn't take a month to arrive 😅🤞🏽 5mo
Graywacke @batsy i was hoping but didn‘t want to presume. 🙂 Five works 5mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i saw Project Gutenberg had a Kindle option and one click put it in Kindle. Easy. But it didn‘t have a table of contents or page numbers. So I spent $1 on amazon just for those extras. 5mo
BarbaraBB Great discussion! I love your Cather reading. I only read (and enjoyed) 5mo
47 likes32 comments
My ntonia | Willa Cather
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My Ántonia Book IV: The Pioneer Woman‘s Story - August 4 #catherbuddyread

Who set up this group read? ☺️ Sorry all, another really short section this week. But another good one, I hope. Odd titled section as it captures the very different stories of three women. Sad and sweet for Jim and Ántonia. What were your thoughts? Should Jim have done something different? Any thoughts on these three women?

Lcsmcat Cather certainly showed three very different ways a woman of that time could be independent or non-conforming. Tiny actually made me the saddest because she doesn‘t seem to have gotten happiness out of her choices. Tony, for all that she is seen as disgraced, seems to have made her peace with her situation and have hope for the future for her daughter. 6mo
jewright This section reminded me why I wasn‘t super fond of this book. I hate that often the only fact that matters for women is their virginity. Once Antonia is soiled, she‘s only good for hard labor and burying herself on the farm. I‘m also traumatized that she‘s outside doing farm labor in the summer while pregnant. I was wondering if anyone knew she was pregnant or if she hid it. I want Jim to take her away and marry her. 6mo
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jewright @Lcsmcat I hadn‘t thought of that, but I completely agree. 6mo
Lcsmcat @jewright I assumed she hid it. It wouldn‘t be too hard to do given the clothing of the time. My mom hid her pregnancy with me (in the early 60s) with just a girdle, so she could keep working, and didn‘t get caught and fired until her 6th month. And only then because someone ratted her out. And pregnant women weren‘t coddled then unless they were wealthy, so she would have worked anyway. (edited) 6mo
Lcsmcat I was more upset by Jim‘s reaction to the photograph of the baby, saying that she should be ashamed of her instead of proud. Even if you blame Tony, the baby is innocent. And frankly, I blame the man, not her, because the power was in his hands and he got off scott free. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Tiny impresses, but doesn‘t find happiness. That‘s Cather, no? I‘m not as convinced about Antonia‘s peace. She seems to have given up on other people. She‘s still so young. (Isn‘t she tragically lonely, like Alexandra in Pioneers). 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Maybe peace is the wrong word. But I don‘t see her giving up on other people. They gave up on her, but the hope she has for a better future for her daughter indicates to me that she hasn‘t given up on them. 6mo
Graywacke @jewright yeah, a sh!t era for independent women, and this is an American cultural foundation (trumper dream). Very frustrating to read that. Like you I wanted them together, but I wanted Jim to get a local farm and bring Antonia and let them work it together with the baby. But then I thought about it. Jim never worked a farm... 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ( @jewright ) good call on her hiding the pregnancy. See the illustration, she‘s hiding it there. Also, interesting and frustrating about your mom. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat that guy was obviously no good. Interesting, your take on Jim‘s reaction. I think I was more forgiving of his judgment. Do you think he came around? 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke And she was married. An unmarried woman would have lost more than her job. Sometimes I think younger women (and men) don‘t realize how recent that kind of discrimination was. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I like your optimism. And also your respect and admiration of Antonia. I think like Jim I‘m disappointed she wasn‘t happier...and like Jim I‘m judging!! 😐🤨 If anything, Cather is asking us not to judge... 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat we see the world through our generation, no? 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Good thought. I do think Cather is asking us not to judge. Maybe that‘s why she chose a male narrator? It might keep readers from dismissing the idea out of hand? And yes, we see through our generation unless we consciously try. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat two constant thoughts I have when thinking about this is how does this fit into American mythology and why a male voice. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat would we (readers) judge a female voice more? (Or harsher?) 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think some readers, particularly in her day, wouldn‘t listen to a female narrator justifying a female character with the same receptiveness. If a male, even a fictional one, recognized the unfairness, it would be easier for the typical reader to agree. 6mo
batsy I felt bad for Tiny, too. It shows how a woman can make decisions to be autonomous & be unhappy or seen as unhappy for not having what women are "supposed" to have, if that makes sense? Society vs individual freedom. Cather's themes. I liked Jim a lot more when he described Larry. I felt so sad about the beautifully-written melancholic last part of the section, but also wondered why Jim couldn't give Antonia the happiness he thinks she deserves. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat it‘s true today too, and frustrating. 6mo
Graywacke @batsy ( @jewright ) I wonder about Jim there too. Very frustrating to read and see it and yet Cather holds him off without a real explanation. 6mo
CarolynM @batsy @Graywacke I am a dedicated romantic, but I really like the fact that Antonia and Jim love each other without being romantically involved. If Jim had offered to marry her I am sure she would have refused. She never had any romantic feelings for him, it would be dishonest for her to marry him, and she would feel that she was holding him back from the life he should have. 6mo
Graywacke @CarolynM huh. Yeah, I‘m thinking you‘re right. (See who she did fall for. Jim may not be her type, too boring, regular... ) 6mo
48 likes23 comments
My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Book III - July 28 #catherbuddyread

Jim and Lena Lingard in Lincoln, Nebraska. A short section this week, with a touch of Virgil, performances and romance. Lena seems to accept that men all fall in love with her, even our good Jim. She blames herself. Thoughts? Does the book still live for you without the landscape? Do we miss Antonia...or do we want more Lena?

Graywacke No Benda illustration for this section, so I‘m using a photograph from 1880 of Lincoln. (Cather lived there 1883-1894) (edited) 6mo
Cathythoughts Great picture ♥️👍🏻loved this book. Need to reread .... someday 6mo
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Lcsmcat I didn‘t miss the land because her descriptions are just as vivid when describing the urban landscape. I loved hearing about Lena and how independent she had become. 6mo
batsy Whenever I don't hear about Antonia I do miss her, but Lena is a fascinating character in her own right. Something I loved about this section is how grounded in the real world she is, but yet Jim's narration has a hazy, dreamlike quality because of his romantic temperament and infatuation. It was an interesting study in contrasts. Probably because of how much Lena interests me, I didn't quite miss the focus on the landscape. 6mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts thanks! Found the picture on a historical society site. I think Cather has won a lot of us over. Really happy to be reading this - first time for me. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat It is really nice to see her Lincoln. I‘ve been wondering about it since we started this buddy read (well group). And here we finally get a window...a snapshot and then it‘s gone. 😐 6mo
Graywacke @batsy @Lcsmcat Lena - hmm. I like reading your responses. I don‘t, myself, know how I feel about her. I‘m happy she has some toughness underneath. 6mo
Graywacke @batsy the dreamlike quality is a really nice way of describing this section. I felt here I finally had a sense of Jim as a person, as a flawed scholar his professor could appreciate and be frustrated with. And that makes his little romance a little more ... hmmm ... distinct maybe. 6mo
Graywacke Side note: here we‘re reading about Jim studying Virgil‘s Georgics (better than Aeneid, imo and other opinions too). I‘m also reading Ali Smith on Rilke on Orpheus and Eurydice - original preserved version from the Georgics... (the Book I‘m reading is Spring) 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @batsy That‘s a great way to describe it! I felt that too. 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘ve not read Georgics. Do you have a particular translation to recommend? (I don‘t read Latin. 🤷🏻‍♀️) 6mo
jewright I‘m so happy Lena has found success and happiness. She‘s such a strong character. I can‘t blame her for not wanting to marry or have kids because of what she has gone through. I thought the descriptions in this chapter focused more on the theatre instead of the landscape. It made me miss going to plays. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ... actually, I kind of do. I used L P Wilkinson, a 1982 translation. I liked it a lot. 6mo
Graywacke @jewright I think Lena became another strong independent Cather woman here in this chapter. It‘s interesting to me to wonder what she becomes as a non-immigrant, or as city-raised. The farm years shaped her a lot. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Georgics and Wilkinson - I have a brief review (unless you click the link, then it becomes a long review) https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1829511763 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Thanks! 6mo
batsy @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Thanks for that. I was looking for a good translation of the Georgics, too. 6mo
Graywacke @batsy you‘re welcome 🙂 6mo
CarolynM Sorry, I'm a bit behind. I'll catch up for the next section. 6mo
Graywacke @CarolynM no worries, another catch-up friendly short section coming up. 👍 6mo
CarolynM Finally caught up with the group! I enjoyed the Lena section. She is a very attractive character and it's no wonder to me Jim was infatuated. I think Cather wanted to give us a woman who could say plainly that a married woman's lot at that time was often very hard and that she'd already done enough of that sort of work. I think also it reminds us that people can mature in unexpected ways. 6mo
Graywacke @CarolynM yes to all that. Lena looms large fo me as I finished book iv. 6mo
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My Ántonia starts out strong with such great descriptions of pioneer #Nebraska that is becomes appealing and beautiful. (I‘ve been to Nebraska and found it to be neither of those things.) Then it simply becomes vignettes in the life of Jim Burden. The writing style didn‘t work for me, but I‘ve intended to read this book for years, so I‘m glad I finally did.

#ReadingUSA2019 #catherbuddyread

squirrelbrain I did read this book and I‘m really sorry I didn‘t join in any of the #buddyread sessions 😳 I enjoyed it a bit more than you I think Holly - I‘d give it a pick! 6mo
Librarybelle I do want to read this someday... 6mo
54 likes3 comments
My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Module: The Girl in the Book
Page: 65
Thought: Cleverly written. Although she brings a lot to Jim‘s life in Nebraska, Ántonia is reduced to just a girl in Jim‘s story; her opinions/thoughts/character is all told through Jim‘s narration. Even Ántonia‘s thoughts are his since he is the one to teach her English and how to express herself... The girl in this book is owned, literally “his” Ántonia.

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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Bad Buddy Reader strikes again 😆 I apologise to @graywacke & fellow readers, but once I got going with this I couldn't stop. My initial impression of this was one of frustation; I felt the narrative form of episodic events kept me at a distance. But by the time I got to the end, I could see that Cather was attempting to build a character (the narrator) through a series of formative impressions of both people & a sense of place. #catherbuddyread

batsy Antonia herself seemed both real & symbolic; an homage to the kind of people that made a life for themselves in the Great Plains as well as a symbol of a nation & of the promise & potential of youth & newness. Cather's writing is always gorgeous, but I missed some of the more indulgent, lyrical passages that made me absolutely adore O, Pioneers & The Song of the Lark. An important novel regardless about immigration, gender, & the American dream. 6mo
erzascarletbookgasm Lovely review, Suba! I found a used copy of this last week, but I think it‘s too late to join the buddy read. I‘ll just place this somewhere on the top part of my TBR mountain. 6mo
Lcsmcat It‘s never too late to join. Just add your comments to each section as you get to it. 6mo
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Tanisha_A I am a bad buddy reader too, but in just the opposite way. Have just started reading it, and at this point not liking it as much as the other two, but I would be ultrapatient for Cather. 🥰 6mo
batsy @erzascarletbookgasm Thank you ❤️ It's never too late to join; it's still early stages 🙂 but her prose just carries one off and I found it hard to stop! 6mo
batsy @Tanisha_A A truly unique writer and I'm so glad to have started to read her work 💕 6mo
Graywacke @batsy congrats on finishing. Always enjoy your commentary and appreciate your perspective. She had touches of embracing the landscape in the opening sections, but I guess Jim and Antonia won‘t get to Arizona. !! 🙂 6mo
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm ( @Lcsmcat @Tanisha_A @batsy ) You‘re definitely not too late. Our pace is slow and you can catch us if you like. Also the pace is just a discussion pace. You can read as you like and comment at any time. 6mo
emilyhaldi Great review, as always 🤗 6mo
batsy @Graywacke Thank you for hosting! All of your comments made it a richer read and I look forward to the upcoming discussions :) 6mo
batsy @emilyhaldi Thank you ❤️ 6mo
erzascarletbookgasm @Graywacke alright, will see how things go. Thanks. 6mo
Tanisha_A @Graywacke Okey dokey! 🙂 6mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Book II - July 21

I‘m glad I paused to reflect on this section a bit. We get a look at small town Nebraska - hired immigrant farmers daughters and bankers marking opposite ends of a spectrum, with illicit dancing and traveling performers. And while Blind d‘Arnault might make us a cringe a bit, his discovery of the piano keys makes a little parallel to these immigrants trying to farm an unfamiliar land. What were your thoughts?

Lcsmcat Obvious, I know, but I loved the symbolism of the plow silhouetted against the setting sun. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat seemed like she had to get herself back to nature at the end of this section. Yes, the plough‘s momentary brilliance was beautiful. 6mo
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Lcsmcat @Graywacke Well that is her strong suit. 6mo
Hooked_on_books I‘ve never read Cather before, so I don‘t know if this is her style, but this section (and the whole book, really) read to me like a series of vignettes rather than a smooth narrative. It made it feel like a bit of a slog to get through it. 6mo
Lcsmcat @Hooked_on_books I agree with you about the vignettes- although that didn‘t make it a slog for me. It‘s kind of a pastiche of characters connected to Ántonia. But it does show different sides of her character because it‘s not just Jim‘s version of her. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat any thoughts on the role of music in this section? 6mo
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books @Lcsmcat I agree, this was a slow section. Without this group here and the forced slower pace, I blow through this section and move along. But because we‘re at this pace, I‘m left to think on it. Slow, yes. But also a beautiful window. @Hooked_on_books she does episodic stuff a lot. She likes to jump time. Breaks flow, but the nature of her prose wants reflection. I think these breaks gives space for that. 6mo
Hooked_on_books @Graywacke Space for reflection is a good way to think about it. I‘ll try to keep that in mind as I go forward if the style persists. 6mo
jewright My main takeaway is how glad I am children are more likely to have a childhood. So many of the children in this book simply had to work to survive and help their families survive. And Mr. Cutter is horrifying! He basically assaults all the girls that work for him, and he gets away with it. Yikes. (edited) 6mo
jewright @Lcsmcat I loved this too. 6mo
CarolynM What I like most about this section is the way she shows the variety of human nature you find in any community. The good, upstanding people like Jim's family, the laundry people and Mrs Harling, the self important like Mr Harling, the impressively unusual like Frances Harling (who reminded me a bit of Alexandra from O Pioneers), the wicked like Mr Cutting and so many others personalities. I think she's as good with character as with landscape. (edited) 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke The music isn‘t as in your face in this one as in Lark of course, but there is marked contrast between Mr. Shimerda‘s violin, and his friend the trombonist, could represent the more cultured old world while Blind d‘Arnault and the dance music are the rougher new world. 6mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM Yes! This! It‘s like the story is more about the community than any person. 6mo
CarolynM I think this section is also an important one for the development of Jim's character - it's his adolescence and it shows us the things that contribute to his adult self. I love that he remembered Antonia's father with such affection. 6mo
CarolynM @Lcsmcat And that community influences the development of both Antonia and Jim (and all the other young people) 6mo
CarolynM @Graywacke I'm sure Blind d'Arnault is based on people Cather really encountered, and I felt like she was basically sympathetic to him, although expressing it in a way we find cringe-worthy today. 6mo
Graywacke @jewright I‘m kind of fascinating how much was harder then, physically, for everyone. Children too. Isn‘t it kind of interesting how tough these farm girls were? And yet their spirits stayed vibrant. As for Cutter...yeah, wow. 6mo
Graywacke @CarolynM ( @lcsmcat ) See, the variety really struck me too. She doesn‘t just create a town, there is so much happening there, so many characters with their own life-stresses and their own ways of getting by, in her version of the town. And...doesn‘t feel real? (edited) 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat great idea about the music. It does say a lot about these young adults. 6mo
Graywacke @CarolynM Oddly, I kinda felt Jim got lost in all this. He‘s just a nice kid, with some decent principles. I kind of feel he‘s very much an observer in midst of it all. (the bit about his speech and Antonia‘s father was touching) 6mo
Graywacke @CarolynM I had horrified fascination with d‘Arnault. Yes, she means well with him, but yes, she also calls him a savage, but yes, she also makes him beautiful. It‘s tough to take all that in. I know when Dickens tried to be nice to Jews, I cringed at the accidental antisemitism. Here, I also cringed. But there‘s no easy answer. It was a different time and perspective. He‘s memorable though, and provides some terrific history of music, I think. 6mo
batsy @Hooked_on_books I too was frustrated with the episodic narrative initially but the more I read I'm beginning to understand that it's like a cumulative effect on the young Jim Burden and how he came to be. I think it's a way for Cather to show the place and people that made him. If I pause my reading every so often I find the form rather frustrating, but if I keep going and let Cather's prose wash over me I'm more immersed in the story 🙂 6mo
batsy I love this illustration. It conveys both calmness & solidity of landscape & character. In this section Chapter IX stood out for me for how it depicted immigrant culture vs local culture, through the lens of class & sexuality. I also found Frances Harling an immediately interesting character & loved Lena's comments on marriage. 6mo
batsy And yes, re: d'Arnault, the latent racism is hard to take. But I was also wondering if these thoughts/impressions are meant to be attributed to a young (thus ignorant) Jim. Reading that part was difficult for me—the way d'Arnault is described physically is so dehumanising, but almost immediately after she writes so astutely about how music changed him and imbues him with that sense of uniqueness and agency as an individual. 6mo
Graywacke @batsy I wondered about Frances a lot too. A whole story not told there. I don‘t remember Lena‘s comments on marriage 🙁 6mo
Graywacke @batsy interesting your thoughts on d‘Arnault. I felt we could really picture him. Jim is inoffensive in practically every possible way. If it‘s him, it‘s meant well by Cather. It could be a Nebraska perspective. Regardless it just sucked to be black in that era and not be viewed a regular person. And that chapter brings it home a bit. 6mo
batsy @Graywacke p. 128 in my edition, Chapter IV, when she says, "I don't want to marry Nick, or any other man. I've seen a good deal of married life, and I don't care for it." At the time Cather was writing it, to just have a woman say this unapologetically, is pretty great. 6mo
Graywacke @batsy thanks. The line is familiar now. Lena‘s quite a character too. Do you think she stands out because of the time or because of how we imagine the time? Kind of asking myself too. Cather reinforces some stereotypes but she breaks a lot of them. 6mo
batsy @Graywacke A really good question. Especially since in some of extended family circles, if a woman were to say this today there would still be some pearl-clutching. 6mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Book I parts X-XIX - July 14

Books I-IX seemed to look at wild Nebraska. These chapters look more at the Shimerdas, their rough transition from Bohemian to Nebraska, the stress revealing something about each member. Outside a lightning storm the landscape takes a backseat (Although along the way we lost the wild grasses of the plains). How‘s everyone‘s reading going, what are your thoughts? Hows it fit in the American mythology?

Graywacke Antonia explains this world to Jim briefly, in the last line. “If I live here, like you, that is different. Things will be easy for you. But they will be hard for us.” 6mo
Tanisha_A Looks like I won't be able to get to My Antonia soon! 😕 Very distracted right now. 6mo
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Graywacke @Tanisha_A no worries, life happens. Hope all is well. 6mo
batsy I'm not quite sure about the American mythology context myself, & would love to see others' thoughts on that. But while Cather's writing is lovely & always pulls me in, I'm not drawn to this book as intensely as Pioneers & Lark. Both of those swept me away with the intensity of the narration, but the episodic structure of this book is keeping me at a distance. Which surprised me, since this is the book that's frequently cited as her masterpiece. 6mo
jewright I felt terrible that Antonia‘s father couldn‘t make it through the winter and the transition. The neighbors banded together to accomplish the funeral though. Antonia knows she has changed and perhaps not for the better or what her father wanted, but she doesn‘t have much of a choice, and I admire her strength. I‘m trying to figure out why I didn‘t really care for this book when I read it before. I‘m loving the descriptions now. 6mo
Hooked_on_books I noticed the same narrative arc you described—the initial depictions of the landscape and now the focusing in on the people and the life. I feel like Antonia‘s father‘s suicide marked a real turning point for tone and character development. I‘m also noticing an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment, which is definitely in keeping with historic US thinking (and current). 6mo
Lcsmcat First, let‘s just put it out there that naming the bulls Gladstone and Brigham Young cracked me up! I love the little touches like that that Cather throws in. 6mo
Lcsmcat Second, this seems a darker book to me, but probably more realistic. Not all the bright talented girls got out to get an education and follow their dreams. Is this her reaction against the romanticizing of pioneer life (a la the Little House books?) 6mo
CarolynM I think the reason for less landscape in this Part is because it is largely set in a very harsh winter. I love the descriptions of the blizzard, and its consequences, for the humans and the animals. I could see and feel that tunnel to the hen house. The people in this novel are so real to me. Quite a contrast with East of Eden @batsy 6mo
Graywacke I love this group and this place. These are such great posts. 6mo
Graywacke @batsy first, interesting to see the contrast with your and @jewright ‘s reaction to the text. I‘ve been insecure with the idea of this building the American myth ever since someone mentioned to me. (Although I do love the idea of a non-binary woman capturing strong pioneer women being in that vein.) So, ultimately I‘m not sure either. I think it makes sense, but it‘s easier to see it _without_ having read the text. Cather just wasn‘t so simple... 6mo
Graywacke @batsy second... no, 3rd... anyway, it‘s not my favorite section of Cather either. But it‘s still really good and it‘s early. (And she‘s already won me over regardless...so she gets a lot of leeway). 6mo
Graywacke @jewright Antonia‘s father deserves some reflection. Glad you brought it up. Yeah, it changes a lot. (To @Hooked_on_books too) I thought it changes book completely and gives this section a core. It seems with this the book goes deeper into these characters than anything else, in terms of their religion and culture and core beliefs and, as you noted, their bonds. Also, i‘m not sure the book is working at this point without that event. (edited) 6mo
Graywacke @jewright @Hooked_on_books any thoughts on suicide vs murder? (edited) 6mo
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books hmm. Anti-immigrant sentiment. Actually I didn‘t pick up that. A little old-world animosity carry over - Bohemians vs ?? Any some adjustment - the awkward English, the old-world pride, the poverty immigration creates. Hmm. Actually I guess it is there...ok, I‘m going to pay more attention to that in the subtext. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I didn‘t notice to bulls names!! 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat hmm. Darker. Please expand on that, if you can. Personally I can‘t tell yet. Immigrant experience is tough. But the arc can go upward. But that last line of this book I think undercuts a lot the fantasy of personal merit. It helps when grandpa has done well. That, to me, is dark, in its way. 6mo
Graywacke @CarolynM great point about the blizzard and what that does to their lives. Pretty crazy stuff. And, yeah, these people do feel real. (Side note - I found Jake‘s subtle heroism very interesting. A good role model for Jim within his limitations) 6mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM Great point! She‘s still showing nature, but mostly by its effects on the humans. 6mo
Graywacke @batsy “Which surprised me, since this is the book that's frequently cited as her masterpiece.“ A question for you. I‘m thinking a lot about the male narrator. Do you think that might play a role in why this became her main classic? A cultural sexism? (That‘s a thing currently - women authors writing in male voice to gain more widespread acknowledgement...and awards. It‘s a big problem - the unequal public response, I mean) (edited) 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Darker, hmm, an example. Even though Song of the Lark showed poverty, it didn‘t show despair. Johnny could go off on binges, but then everyone would sing and dance and it was ok. The deaths of the lovers in O Pioneers were tragic, but romantically so. There‘s nothing romantic about Antonia‘s situation. 6mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat thanks. I see it now and I‘m with you - the first time she focuses on the bitter and lethal immigrant stress. Mr. Shimerda‘s loss of music and than suicide go together and hit hard. Hmm. Which makes me wonder of we‘re overlooking the role of music and its absence here? Just an idle thought. 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Ooooh, I like that thought. I‘ll have to look for mentions of music as we read on. 6mo
CarolynM @Lcsmcat Yes! This one is a much closer look at poverty and also I think isolation. I would almost describe it as anti romantic (this is a reread for me) 6mo
Hooked_on_books @Graywacke @batsy I think you may be on to something with the cultural sexism bit. Even in this era, our society celebrates male voices more than those of women, so I could definitely see a historical audience responding more favorably to a male voice. It was (and is) far too easy to relegate a woman‘s voice written by a women to being just for women and dismissed. 6mo
Hooked_on_books @Lcsmcat I‘m not sure what was being published at the time about pioneer life so I don‘t know if it‘s a response or not. According to my edition, this book was published in 1918 and the Little House books were not out until the 1930s, so this can‘t be a response to those. But perhaps the culture at the time was romanticizing the pioneers, as we still tend to do. 6mo
batsy @Graywacke That's a great question re: sexism and I agree with @Hooked_on_books but I'm also going to keep your question in mind as I read. Perhaps I'll understand more once I get to the end. But it did make me wonder why it's the book with the male narrator that's frequently held up as her best when (thus far, personal opinion) it's not really my favourite from the prairie trilogy. 6mo
batsy I appreciate the responses here for making me think and I love the description above about this being Cather's anti-romantic book, in a way. I thought the way she handled Mr. Shimerda's death was brutal and stark in a way that doesn't try to explain away or moralise the death, and so it stays with you (which Steinbeck would have gone all out to do, so yeah @CarolynM I have to say Cather >>> Steinbeck at this point 🙂) 6mo
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books ( and @batsy ) that‘s it! She‘s relegated as being “for women” and therefore somehow less. 😡 What would (or did) Virginia Woolf say? 6mo
Graywacke @batsy @CarolynM @Lcsmcat - anti-Romantic. !! I‘ll be thinking about that now too. 6mo
Graywacke @batsy thanks for that last post 🙂 6mo
CarolynM @batsy I love that the characters are allowed to be bad in a very human way, if they behave badly it's for understandable reasons. Take Mrs Shimerda, she's persuaded her husband to leave a place where they had some social position for one where they have none because she thinks there will be more opportunities for her son. They get ripped off by someone they trust. They have nothing. I can sympathise with her jealousy even though I don't like it. 6mo
batsy @CarolynM Yes. She allows her characters to breathe, as it were. There's no compulsion to have to tell the reader how to feel about them. 6mo
Graywacke @CarolynM @batsy I feel bad for Mrs. Shimerda because I don‘t think she has any idea how her neighbors perceive her. She‘s obviously very proud and vain - and also very tough. Cather creates terrific characters, and the more she writes about them, the more complicated they get. Not good or bad. 6mo
Graywacke Also, I think she does really well here with the immigrant stress, awkwardness and depression. I‘m always surprised when I read memoirs how much people lose upon immigration. The loss of familiar culture can really take the life and sense out of people. (I‘m not talking about expats or people moving for work. I mean those who really can‘t go back or have nothing to go back to.) It‘s more extreme here, isolated on these plains. #antiromantic (edited) 6mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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My Antonia - Book I, Parts I-IX

Cather goes first person, in a man‘s voice - this is new and gives us a different author. Less formal, more flexible and something to think about, if you can get your mind past the wolves. And we‘re back in Nebraska - the grass - a live sea, the fur of a live beast, the burning bush of Moses with a transfiguration! (followed by Antonia‘s dad with a gun, illustrated by Benda above). Thoughts?

Graywacke Some quotes: “Everywhere, as far as the eye could reach, there was nothing but rough, shaggy, red grass, most of it as tall as I.” 7mo
Graywacke “As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country, as the water is the sea. The red of the grass made all the great prairie the colour of wine-stains, or of certain seaweeds when they are first washed up. And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running. “ 7mo
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Hooked_on_books This is my first Cather, so I may have a different perspective. I feel like she‘s working to heavily establish a sense of place. She really steeps us in Nebraska (and makes it sound beautiful) over much of the first pages. I am a little perplexed by the Russia wolf story at this point, but we‘ll see how it works in. 7mo
Graywacke “Perhaps the glide of long railway travel was still with me, for more than anything else I felt motion in the landscape; in the fresh, easy-blowing morning wind, and in the earth itself, as if the shaggy grass were a sort of loose hide, and underneath it herds of wild buffalo were galloplng, galloping . . .” 7mo
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books Glad to have your perspective. Can you feel this place? I completely agree, she makes central Nebraska beautiful. Any sense of history or does land come across to you as new? 7mo
Graywacke “All those fall afternoons were the same, but I never got used to them. As far as we could see, the miles of copper-red grass were drenched in sunlight that was stronger and fiercer than at any other time of the day. The blond cornfields were red gold, the haystacks turned rosy and threw long shadows. ... 👇👇 7mo
Graywacke ... The whole prairie was like the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed. That hour always had the exultation of victory, of triumphant ending, like a hero's death — heroes who died young and gloriously. It was a sudden transfiguration, a lifting-up of day.” 7mo
Graywacke This last quote arguably blends the Old Testament, the New Testament and Homer‘s bronze warriors together. ?? 7mo
Hooked_on_books @Graywacke Oh, it comes across as ancients but new to humans (which of course is not reality). The way she paints it is compelling. 7mo
jewright I read this in college about 2004, and I don‘t remember being super impressed, but I really enjoyed this reading. The descriptions are beautiful, and the characters are interesting. I thought the descriptions of the grandmother gazing at him and thinking how much he looked like her dead son were touching. 7mo
Lcsmcat As always I love Cather‘s sense of place. She makes Nebraska seem more beautiful than I remember it from driving across it in 2000! 7mo
CarolynM I just love her writing, I find it so engaging and easy to read. I'm currently reading East of Eden for another buddy read and I have to say I much prefer Cather's writing. 7mo
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books i agree. I was trying to get a sense of the evicted natives. There are touches of them, but that‘s all I picked up. But I thought the land itself felt ancient. 7mo
Graywacke @jewright the grandmother as mother of who lost her child made me pause. He, of course, was too young to really understand. Very cool about the then-in-college-and-now comparison. 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ( @Hooked_on_books ) sense of place, yeah. Funny about the highway perspective. Having lived in KS and seen how the highways favor the flattest and least interesting places...I understand. But also Nebraska is a different place now. In Kansas those grasses were serious fire hazards and are actually hard to find now. 7mo
Graywacke @CarolynM poor Steinbeck 🤣But yeah, it‘s easy to get into this. She is really a pleasure to read. I have to try avoid constantly trying to note lines. I haven‘t read EoE... 7mo
Graywacke Planting seeds - the next Cather I‘m thinking about is One of Ours. A long way from now. But just something to think about for anyone interested. 7mo
jewright @CarolynM Have you read some of Steinbeck‘s shorter works like Of Mice and Men? Even my students love that one. I loved East of Eden, but it does wander a bit. 7mo
jewright @Hooked_on_books That part was so awful! 7mo
Hooked_on_books @jewright Yeah, it was a dreadful story. I hope we understand the point of it as we go along, as I don‘t think it fits right now. 7mo
batsy @Graywacke Some lovely quotes there. The "prairie the colour of wine-stains" put me in mind of Homer's wine-dark sea in the Odyssey. 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I‘m sure Nebraska was both more beautiful when it was wilder, and that the interstate took us through the worst bits. I wish I could have seen it then, but at least I have Cather‘s words. 7mo
batsy @CarolynM An interesting and immediate contrast to me with Steinbeck is how Antonia is described in her youthful beauty and vitality by Cather vs how a young female character, Abra, is introduced in Steinbeck and how Abra's femaleness is immediately kind of a strange, sexualised thing whereas Antonia gets to just *be*. 7mo
batsy I love the Benda illustrations. There's a starkness to them that kind of mirrors how Cather finds beauty in the prairies. I was so fascinated with the wolf story and sat thinking about it for some time after. Gave me some gothic Angela Carter vibes there! 7mo
Graywacke @jewright @Hooked_on_books @batsy ( @Lcsmcat ) - the wolf story just doesn‘t go away. I had assumed it‘s not going to be part of the rest of the novel, that it was there for immigrant/refugee flavor. But it will be interesting if it has another meaning in the text. It‘s a tough world... 7mo
Graywacke @batsy yes, on the wine-stains. I had the same thought (had to read the line twice - looking for “dark” 😊) I love all that imagery and she brings it out of the landscape. She does a lot. The garden scene where he just sits there was lovely. 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat imagine wandering across those planes (well... well supplied, of course... and in perfect weather, please) 7mo
Graywacke @batsy I‘m enjoying the illustrations. I might use one each post (like the Van Gogh sower image in this one ) 7mo
Graywacke Some lingering thoughts: For those who have read other Cathers ( @catebutler @crazeedi @Lcsmcat @Tanisha_A @CarolynM @batsy ) : do you think the male-1st person narrator changed the feel of Cather‘s writing? If yes, any sense or response? The 1st person is, I think, a big change. 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Every time I drove across the country I thought of the people who did it on foot, often woefully unprepared, and averaging 10 miles a day. I don‘t know how they did it. 7mo
Graywacke Also, using a male narrator frees her to some perspectives on Antonia. For example, he can fall in love (and I think he has in a way), without any 🏳️‍🌈 waving. 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Yes. How tough were they? !!(Have you read Lonesome Dove? McMurtry captures the pace - albeit with crazy cowboys, not pioneers. ) 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I haven‘t read Lonesome Dove, but I think I need to. 7mo
batsy @Graywacke Yes, to me I can sense a difference in the narrative style with the male narrator but I haven't quite put my finger on it yet. 7mo
catebutler I think one of the things I love the most about Cather is how easily I slip back into her writing. It moves you along like a gentle wave. I always find I have to read her books with a pencil and ruler in hand to mark, mark and mark some more! This is a re-read for me, and having finally read O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark, I appreciate this even more. 7mo
CarolynM Of course writing in the first person changes the style to some extent, but all the hallmarks of Cather's style are there. @batsy 's point about sexualisation is a good one I think, and leads into your point about how we fall in love with Antonia along with the narrator. I think Cather creates characters who have individual identities while Steinbeck is more interested in archetypes. (edited) 7mo
CarolynM Maybe the wolf story is there to remind us that there was savagery in the land and life the settlers had left behind as well as in the new country. 7mo
CarolynM @jewright I've read The Grapes of Wrath - unpopular opinion: I absolutely hated the characters and couldn't have cared less what happened to them, the chapters that were about what was happening to people generally were powerful and made me really angry. I think I just don't find Steinbeck's characters very sympathetic. I've also read The Short Reign of Pipin IV which I did like, but that was totally not serious. 7mo
Crazeedi @Graywacke absolutely does! 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat loved Lonesome Dove 🙂 (and I don‘t like hyped books or Westerns) 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Good to know. 7mo
Lcsmcat @CarolynM I loved Pipin too. I remember reading it on an airplane and trying not to laugh out loud. 7mo
Graywacke @batsy I have thoughts on what makes it different, but they‘re iffy, impressions. I do feel like sometimes she writes more as Jim Burden and sometimes more as herself. 7mo
Graywacke @catebutler Really like how you put that, how we can slip back in and how she moves us and totally agree. (Except I don‘t write in books, so I‘m typing quotes in my phone or using Scanner Pro) 7mo
Graywacke @CarolynM ( @batsy ) - I agree, it‘s still Cather despite the first person. Can‘t really comment on Steinbeck as I haven‘t read those books. But agree Cather‘s characters are individuals. (Of course, with her individuality is a theme of the prairie mindset. 🙂) 7mo
Graywacke @CarolynM ( @jewright @Hooked_on_books @batsy @Lcsmcat ) - wolves. Will have to keep that savagery in mind... 7mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi about the last quote? About bringing in the ot,nr,homer? Its interesting to me how and, why she might be doing that. Foundational stories 7mo
jewright @CarolynM I‘m not a big fan of The Grapes of Wrath either. I really recommend Of Mice and Men. It‘s super short, and even my reluctant reader students who hated everything read it. 7mo
Tanisha_A Hello hello! I am traveling this week for work, and just starting with the book. Will have to provide my comments later. 😔 7mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A No worries. Life does that. Wish you safe travels and maybe some nice reading time. 🙂 If you do comment here later, you might tag some people so they‘ll know. 7mo
Tanisha_A @Graywacke Thank youuu! I will do that. 🙂 7mo
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Ok, I‘m getting started! My edition is from 1977. My sister read this book in high school (I think) and my mom clearly bought it at my childhood used bookstore (aka the inspiration for my Litsy name). I kept it since I always figured I‘d read it someday. My sister is now 45, so better late than never! 😂


Graywacke Beautiful edition. How special you had a childhood connection with a specific bookstore. Makes this book something like of a relic from a time and place. 7mo
staci.reads Great book! Very character and setting driven. Cather is a wonderful author. 7mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Fall afternoons: As far as we could see, the miles of copper-red grass were drenched in sunlight that was stronger and fiercer than at any other time of the day. ... The whole prairie was like the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed. That hour always had the exultation of victory, of triumphant ending, like a hero's death — heroes who died young and gloriously. It was a sudden transfiguration, a lifting-up of day.

batsy I hope to start tonight! 🙂 7mo
Graywacke @batsy 👍 7mo
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My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather
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Thanks for the tag @readordierachel. 😀 Here are my #top6reads of the year 2019 so far. Special mention to the Great Plains trilogy by Willa Cather (will be reading My Antonia next).

Thanks @Cinfhen for this idea. It has contributed immensely towards making the TBR grow grow grow. 😆

I tag @ju.ca.no, @sudi, and @ephemeralwaltz. Hello! 🙃

Cathythoughts Loved Normal People & Station Eleven ♥️♥️ 7mo
batsy Cather, Woolf, and Rooney 💕 7mo
Centique I loved Moon Tiger and that‘s a wonderful cover 😍 7mo
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erzascarletbookgasm What a great list! 7mo
Sace I came to Cather late in life but I love her. 7mo
Megabooks Station Eleven is my favorite book of all time!! 7mo
JennyM You have fabulous taste! 👌 7mo
KarenUK Love your picks💕 7mo
BarbaraBB Great choices 💜 7mo
Cinfhen Great picks!!! I almost choose 7mo
Cinfhen And Station Eleven is an all time favorite 7mo
youneverarrived Ohh good picks!! 7mo
LeeRHarry Station Eleven 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 7mo
readordierachel I love Station Eleven ❤ And all the rest are on my list! Love your picks!! 7mo
sudi Great picks, Station Eleven and Normal People have been on TBR for so long 😊👍 and thank you for the tag 💕 7mo
UwannaPublishme Great picks! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 7mo
Tanisha_A @Cathythoughts Yess, I am so excited for the upcoming series on SE. 👏 7mo
Tanisha_A @batsy Just realized, all of the ones I loved loved are written by women. Also, I wanted to include Milkman. 😁 7mo
Tanisha_A @Centique That cover is gorgeous. Loved the book, so short but so compelling. 7mo
Tanisha_A @erzascarletbookgasm @KarenUK @BarbaraBB @youneverarrived @UwannaPublishme Thanks all, i loved yours too. This was such a difficult yet fun activity! 😁 7mo
Tanisha_A @JennyM And you too mon amie! ☺️ 7mo
Tanisha_A @Megabooks @Cinfhen @readordierachel @sudi The awesome @LeeRHarry gifted Station Eleven to me, and I cannot be thankful enough. ☺️ 7mo
Tanisha_A @RestlessFickleBookHoarder Sameee, I am soo glad and happy to have found her. 😊 7mo
LeeRHarry @Tanisha_A 💕😊 7mo
Suet624 All great reads!!! 7mo
Tanisha_A @Suet624 😀 So fun! 6mo
ju.ca.no Ah I just noticed that Litsy didn‘t tell me I was tagged here🙈 6mo
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Have book, will sit in waiting room at the doctor‘s office past my appointment time.

Ruthiella Excellent plan! 7mo
Tanisha_A Soooo excited about this. #catherbuddyread 7mo
Graywacke Good use of a doctor. This happens to be our current #catherbuddyread, our first discussion is Sunday. If that kind of thing interests you, free to join in. 7mo
Amiable @Graywacke I am traveling this weekend for a family wedding, so I won‘t be able to join in on Sunday. But I will definitely check in later to see what everyone thought of the book! 7mo
Graywacke @Amiable 👍 Enjoy the wedding and your weekend. 7mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Ok, I‘ve started. #catherbuddyread

Graywacke Moving ocean of grass... 7mo
jewright I started tonight! I‘m loving it so far. 7mo
Graywacke @jewright 👍 I‘m loving it too, I‘m completely taken in. 7mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Just a reminder - My Antiona buddy read begins next week. We‘ll discuss Book I parts I-IX Sunday, July 7. (I haven‘t actually started yet ☺️)

The illustration above is from the book. I found it on the Willa Cather Archive, link here: https://cather.unl.edu/cs005_stout.html


Graywacke Full discussion schedule: Book I parts I-IX - July 7
Book I parts X-XIX - July 14
Book II - July 21
Book III - July 28
Book IV - August 4
Book V - August 11
batsy Can't wait! Going to see if I can polish off East of Eden before I start this. Deeply immersed in American classics these few months 🙂 7mo
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jewright I‘m excited to read it again. I read it in college, and I‘m interested to see how I feel about it now. 7mo
Graywacke @batsy i‘m excited too! Really have liked going through these. I wouldn‘t mind a tour of Steinbeck sometime in the future. 7mo
Graywacke @jewright curious how it will come across your second time. The impact may be different, but her prose will still there, always. 7mo
Tamra I‘m sorry I can‘t join. Assigned reading is interfering with recreational fun. 😐 👎🏾 7mo
Tanisha_A Hello! I haven't started yet either. But will today mostly, very curious to see where it takes us. 🙂 7mo
Graywacke @Tamra no worries. (Sorry it feels assigned. 😕) 7mo
Tamra @Graywacke I mean my assigned course reading is interfering with fun recreational reading - like this buddy read. Otherwise I‘d love to join! 7mo
Graywacke Phew 😅!! Feel better now about this! Wish you well in your course. Sorry for misunderstanding. 7mo
Tamra @Graywacke 😉 The troubles with online communication. 7mo
squirrelbrain Started this morning - enjoying it so far! 😁👍 7mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain 👍 tonight, I will start. (Promise 😶🙂) 7mo
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My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather
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I swear to all the amazing books in the world, if @Graywacke hadn't started a buddy read of this trilogy God knows when would I have picked it up, or maybe never?! The first two books have been fantastic reads, and have added richness, happiness, satisfaction to my reading life. You guys, if you want some more beautiful prose and characters in your life, read Cather.

Having said that, happy to be part of My Antonia buddy read. 💓

TrishB More books.....💕 7mo
Cathythoughts I loved My Antonia 👍🏻♥️ 7mo
batsy "Richness, happiness, satisfaction" to our reading life ... Yes! Love Cather. ? 7mo
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Lcsmcat That‘s what makes Litsy so great - we are all exposed to so much more literature! ❤️ 7mo
Graywacke Wow, thanks and yeah, this has been terrific. Thank @catebutler too, who got this started. It‘s a terrific group. @Lcsmcat - yes, great literature, people, it‘s just a fun way to take in these books. 7mo
Tanisha_A @TrishB Hahahah! Just a tiny reason is enough. 😁 7mo
Tanisha_A @Cathythoughts Ooh, can't wait to get started and discuss with y'all here. 🙂 7mo
Tanisha_A @batsy I am sooo glad I read these. 🏜️ 7mo
Tanisha_A @Lcsmcat You said it. 🙌 7mo
Tanisha_A @Graywacke and @catebutler You guys, thank you so so so much. I am in love with these books, something I will re-read. 🎉🥳 7mo
erzascarletbookgasm I missed this trilogy read along. I hope to read them someday, haven‘t read any Cather 🤷‍♀️ 7mo
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm If you want to read My Antonia with us, follow #catherbuddyread First discussion is July 7 (a Sunday). 7mo
Tanisha_A @erzascarletbookgasm Hope you get to it sometime! It's sooo good. 🙂 7mo
erzascarletbookgasm Thanks @Graywacke but I‘ll sit out on this. It‘s the last book of the prairie trilogy and I didn‘t read the first two books. 7mo
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm Sure, we‘ll just recommend then. 🙂 So you know, it‘s a thematic trilogy. You can read them out it order. 7mo
Tanisha_A @Graywacke And that's what I love the most about this trilogy. There is no order to it. 7mo
readordierachel I need to read her 💚 7mo
Tanisha_A @readordierachel Oh yay, you have so much fresh writing waiting to be devoured. You will love her! ❤️ 7mo
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My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather
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This is the part of My Ántonia that I remember the most strongly. I didn‘t realize it was so early in the book. #catherbuddyread @Graywacke

Graywacke Curious. I‘ll start closer to the discussion date. 7mo
Graywacke Ok, now I understand. 7mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke It‘s not a scene easily forgotten, is it? 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat she just kind of leaves us to dwell on all the grisly details she didn‘t tell but obviously happened. Yeah...it‘s not. 7mo
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My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather
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I‘ve got my magnetic bookmarks marking out the sections for the #catherbuddyread of My Antonía. @Graywacke

Graywacke 💜🙂 7mo
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My Antonia (Green) | Willa Cather
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Due to extraordinary luck Serial Reader was noticed by Salon writer Mary Elizabeth Williams, who gave me the opportunity to ramble about the app and why I created it (hint: it revolves around My Antonia and some crying). Check out her excellent article if you're interested: https://www.salon.com/2019/06/02/my-phone-helped-me-fall-in-love-with-books-agai...

And if not, at least be sure to read the excellent My Antonia by Willa Cather!

Caterina Great interview, thanks for sharing! 😊 I've used and loved SerialReader for a few years now, and I've always been impressed with how many works by women and people of color you find in public domain. I love discovering books on your app and reading classics I've always meant to read. ❤️ (PS - I happen to be reading My Antonia right now!!) 7mo
SerialReader @Caterina Thanks for the kind words! Hope you enjoy My Antonia 😊 7mo
BarbaraBB I am a @SerialReader adept as well. I hope this interview will give you more fame! Great app! 7mo
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SerialReader @BarbaraBB Thanks very much! 7mo
Tanisha_A Love Serial Reader. Congratulations! 7mo
LeahBergen How wonderful! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 7mo
sprainedbrain Great article! I‘ve read so many great books over the years on your app. Thank you! 7mo
zuzia I love your app! It's the highlight of my day! I'm glad you are getting the attention you deserve! 7mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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My Ántonia will be the next in the #catherbuddyread and the last of The Prairie Trilogy. Leave a message if you‘d like to join (or, alternatively, if you would like off the list.)

We‘ll discuss on the schedule above, a slower pace than The Song of the Lark, but read at your own pace.

Lcsmcat 🙋🏻‍♀️ I‘m in! 7mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat duly noted 🙂 7mo
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Crazeedi Yes 7mo
CarolynM Looking forward to it. I'm about to settle in to finish Song of the Lark (at last!) 7mo
Hooked_on_books I‘ll be joining 7mo
batsy I am so in! 🎉 7mo
Graywacke @CarolynM I think The Song of Lark pace didn‘t work perfectly. If someone had one bad week, it was very tough to catch up. I‘m hoping this pace will be more forgiving of RL. 7mo
CarolynM I think the schedule was fine, I just got caught up with some other things and didn't find a way to fit it in for a couple of weeks. I'm glad to be back in Thea's world for a while now🙂 7mo
squirrelbrain I‘m in too! 7mo
Tanisha_A Even though I have been a terrible buddy reader, I am jumping in! 😁 7mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain 👍 glad your joining 7mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A If it‘s fun, it‘s a great buddy read. Happy your jumping in 🙂 7mo
Graywacke *you‘re 7mo
jewright I would like to join, please. 7mo
Graywacke @jewright adding you to the list. (I have this vague memory, suddenly, of you having asked before. Did I forget?! 😳 hope not! Hopefully just deja vu or confusion with another group read.) 7mo
jewright @Graywacke I hadn‘t asked before today. I‘m in the Hugo read along. 7mo
catebutler Please count me in! Although I‘m still working my way through, ‘Song of the Lark‘!! 🙈 7mo
Graywacke @jewright ok, good, I feel better. Just merely confusing stuff, you know, the usual. 7mo
Graywacke @catebutler Yay! You‘re counted in. You have time yet to finish SotL before get started. 😉 7mo
45 likes22 comments
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Finished my first book using Serial Reader! I opted for a short one, 37 issues.

melrailey I read this one on Serial too. 8mo
DivineDiana That was smart! My current selection has 66, and I can‘t keep up! 😩 8mo
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CAWPILE Rating: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vcXoB38tSUI

C- 9

A- 10

W- 10

P- 6

I- 9

L- 10

E- 10

Avg= 9.1= ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Full Review: https://miquereads.blogspot.com

#backtotheclassics2019 #backtotheclassics #myantonia #mmdreading #mmdchallenge (a book published before you were born)

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"As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country, as the water is the sea. The red of the grass made all the great prairie the colour of winestains, or of certain seaweeds when they are first washed up. And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running."


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When I think of wheat, I think of the prairies where I grew up in Winnipeg and in Wichita, which led me to thinking of Willa Cather. I‘ve been wanting to read my Antonia for a long time now. Maybe this will be the year. I‘ve put it off after disliking o‘pioneers in middle school. #readinggrudge #timbittunes #wheatkings

Cinfhen I definitely get the wheat/prairie connection 😉😊 12mo
Blaire @Cinfhen now thinking about wheat I‘m wanting to reread the little house on the prairie books. I loved those! 12mo
Tanisha_A I want to read this one too! 12mo
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Cathythoughts I loved this book. ♥️👍🏻 12mo
readinginthedark You read O! Pioneers in middle school? I don't know if I would have liked it at that age. It seems like a book that one can understand so much better as an adult. 🤔 I enjoyed this one when I read it in high school, though! 11mo
Blaire @readinginthedark I may have to go back to it. We read it in 7th grade. I just remember being bored by it at the time. 11mo
readinginthedark Yeah, I could see that. Cather's books are pretty subtle, I think, all about the land and slowly building character relationships. They'd be hard to read at that age. 11mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Willa Cather wrote this novel drawing from her memories of a young woman (Annie) that she knew while growing up on the prairies of Nebraska. In ‘My Ántonia‘, Cather uses details from her childhood but writes from the perspective of a man nostalgically recalling his past. I loved this look at pioneer life, the strong, independent women and one of the most romantic passages I‘ve ever read. Many consider this Cather‘s greatest work.

zsuzsanna_reads Such a brilliant book! 12mo
Lcsmcat ❤️❤️❤️ this book! 12mo
rachelk @zsuzsanna_reads @Lcsmcat I totally agree! 12mo
Blaire I really need to get to this one. I‘ve owned a copy for about 15 years. 😬 12mo
rachelk @Blaire I hear you! have a lot of books like that too! (edited) 12mo
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My Antonia (Green) | Willa Cather
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SIGH. This had everything I liked about O Pioneers and everything I hated about The Song of the Lark. I really enjoyed the overall story and the depiction of the complexities of country life and of a time gone by. It was difficult to read past the racism and misogyny at times though.

readinginthedark 🤔 Did you feel that Cather or the characters were being racist and misogynistic? I haven't read this in such a long time but only remember period-appropriate feelings in this realm, so I was just curious. 11mo
elizabethlk @readinginthedark honestly both. I actually used it as an example in an article recently so I have some relevant quotes. A black pianist's voice is described as having "the docile note of subservience in it." His physical description includes "almost no head at all; nothing behind the ears but folds of neck under close-clipped wool. He would have been repulsive if his face had not been so kindly and happy." 11mo
readinginthedark Good point. I guess I need to read this book again. I don't remember how she refers to other characters for comparison. 11mo
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elizabethlk @readinginthedark honestly a lot of it made me pretty uncomfortable. Sami are referred to as laplanders, even by someone who is half Sami (it is considered derogatory where the Sami are from but not in the US) and she says she thought the Sami had fat and ugly faces "like the Chinese." There are also moments where she does stuff like describe people as "still like an indian" and such. Honestly I thought Song of the Lark was way worse for it. 11mo
elizabethlk It just turned out to be aggressively not for me. Really liked O Pioneers! though. 11mo
readinginthedark Understandable. Sometimes certain classics are hard to stomach for this reason--outdated social ideas/language/etc. 😕 It's unfortunate. 11mo
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My Antonia (Green) | Willa Cather
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Trying to blast through the end of this so I can make 2019 a Willa Cather free year.

My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather
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While this volume contains five of Cather‘s works, it is My Antonìa that has had the most lasting impression on me. The scene with the wolves and the wedding party! If you haven‘t yet, read it. #adventrecommends @emilyrose_x

jhod I just finished which featured a quote from this book and made me really want to read it. Stacked! 13mo
Lcsmcat @jhod I‘ll have to check that out. I usually like Kingsolver‘s writing. 13mo
Blaire I‘ve owned my Antonia for years. Hope to get to it next year. 13mo
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Lcsmcat @Blaire When you read it, let‘s talk about the wolf scene! 13mo
CarolynM My Antonia is a wonderful book. I liked Oh Pioneers! a lot too 13mo
JLaurenceCohen A sneakily fascinating book 13mo
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My ntonia | Willa Cather
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The events of the book flow like the seasons giving the whole story a meditative pace, where events rise and fall, and life goes on. And while the whole thing wafts of nostalgia by the end, Cather‘s writing draws me in with its intimacy and stays there to resonate deeply, I felt I was transported and satisfied at the end.

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“... the living mask of green that trembled over everything, they were lies and this is what is underneath. This is the truth.” - Willa Cather on winter

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There are some great moments in this one, and the life of the prairie seeps into the cracks of your mind as you read more and more- best read in larger chunks so this can happen- a univrrsal quality of great books..:

My ntonia | Willa Cather
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Finally tackling the third book in Willa Cather's trilogy. I mostly loved O Pioneers! and mostly hated The Song of the Lark, so I'm curious to see how I will feel about this one. So far it is alright, but that's how i felt towards the beginning of both the other two!

Cathythoughts I loved this one 👍🏻❤️ 1y
CarolynM I loved this and O Pioneers. I didn't realise there was a third one, I will have to get a copy🙂 1y
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Finished My Antonia and got a little over 4 hours of reading in for #24b4monday #readingchallenge. @TheReadingMermaid

My Antonia was excellent and the writing didn't feel like a 100year old book. I was surprised at the independence of some of the female characters. Read this as part of a #centuryreadchallenge 1 book from each year 1918 - 2019. Attempting to read mostly women authors.

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The weekend is coming. What to read next. Started My Antonia, enjoying it and easy reading even though it's 100 years old . Part of my century read challenge.
Sadly the Soup cookbook was a disappointment, was looking forward to some good hot soups now that it's cold here. These recipes are way too fancy for me.

DivineDiana Too bad! Yes, it‘s definitely time for soup! Had some delicious tofu Pho last night! 🍲 (edited) 1y
BookwormAHN Welcome to Litsy 😺 1y
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My first Willa Cather! I really enjoyed her writing style and the strong sense of place - as a non-American, it made me think of scenes from Little House on the Prairie - that‘s probably the closest comp I have in my experience. I‘ll read some literary criticism to better understand the themes in it - but for now I‘m just liking Jim‘s sweet nostalgia.

Emilymdxn This is one of my fave books of all time! 1y
Centique @Emilymdxn yay! I can see why. It feels like it would get richer with each reread too 😊 1y
SaraBeagle One of my favorite authors! 1y
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merelybookish This is quintessential Midwest America. Quiet, solid values. 1y
Centique @merelybookish that‘s lovely! Our equivalent would be “heartland New Zealand” - not so much a place as a rural/farming/small town culture 1y
merelybookish @Centique Cool when there are those regional similarities! It's also ksown as flyover country in the US. 1y
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Cather‘s writing is lovely, but I just couldn‘t bring myself to truly care about any of the characters. It took me a loooong time to get through this one, simply because I keep prioritizing other reads and pushing this one to the back burner. It just didn‘t hold my interest.

Kristy_K I didn‘t care for this one either. I preferred 1y
Angitron @Kristy_K Good to know! Maybe I‘ll try that one. 1y
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My Antonia | Willa Sibert Cather

"I'd have liked to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister--anything a woman can be to a man. The idea of you is part of my mind; you influence my likes and dislikes, all my tastes, hundreds of times when I don't realize it. You really are a part of me."

Willa Cather

RadicalReader @anniebell007 hope you find some awesome reads to delve into here on Litsy. I love The One by John Marrs kept me glued chapter to chapter and then enjoying his other works which are just as wonderful 1y
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