Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm in a book club and this past month we read "My Antonia" by Willa Cather. I'm sure lots of you read this in high school. I didn't but I do know my son read "Oh Pioneer" by Ms. Cather and everyone in his class hated it so I was leery of reading "My Antonia". I loved it. Since I live in Colorado now and drive through Nebraska every June I could picture much of what Jim, the narrator of the book, was talking describing. Also, my great-grandmother did what Jim did, at nine (Jim was eleven, I think) she moved from Virginia to the Midwest, though she went to a very small town in Missouri rather than a small town in Nebraska. Missouri looks nothing like Virginia and nor does Nebraska.It must have been quite a change for her, as it was for Jim. If you haven't made a trip across this beautiful country of ours I highly suggest it, though I can't say Nebraska or for that matter, eastern Colorado are the most picturesque, but they do have their own lonesome kind of beauty as they are filled with almost nothing, a raw sometimes rolling nothingness.

Books! I think I cannot exist without them. I was given a Kindle for Christmas and have a love/hate affair with it. I truly love it for many reasons and at times want just and "old fashioned" book. On another post I will talk about the Kindle. From now on in this blog - which I can't see that anyone is reading anyway, I am going to start recommending books I have read and why I liked them. I am starting with "My Antonia". Written around 1917, published in 1918. An interesting aside is that it thought that Willa Cather was a lesbian. She entered the University of Nebraska under the name of William Cather, she dressed like a boy throughout childhood and later in life had long term relationships (they said then "lived with) two women (at different times). Antonia is based on a friend of Willa's and I dare to think that Willa is really Jim telling the story. No matter what, "My Antonia" which is about a young Bohemian girl immigrating to our country, to Nebraska and her friendship and affect on Jim, and which is a very easy read, is certainly worth your time. It is beautifully written and beats a trashy beach book any day. And if you have already read it way back when I suggest a re-read as the reviews I read on Amazon of people who read the book when they were in high school and didn't like it then liked it much a lot as an adult. I didn't spring for the scholarly edition but I did get the paperback with the footnotes, which I suggest, though some are no brainers - there are many different publishers out there. Anyway, happy reading.

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