My Photo

Bookish Places


Blog powered by Typepad

« A (very) Few Library Finds | Main | August 20: Reading Notes »


Thomas at My Porch

I am glad you liked it. This is my favorite Cather and one of my favorite books. My desire for solitude is sometimes like the Professor's.


Cather is deceptively simple and sometimes overlooked for it. Compared to some of her modernist contemporaries, she does at first blush seem "conventional" but it is terribly misleading.

I've read this book several times and think about it often. I think it's the most interesting of her books, though DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP is also really good. I'd recommend that as your next Cather if you haven't read it already.


My review of this is posting first thing tomorrow, but I agree with all you say here. I thought the second part was particularly stunning. And yes on the uncertainty! I had no idea how I felt when I put the book down, and I had no idea how Cather wanted me to feel, and that to me is part of the book's strength.

Laura's Reviews

I love Willa Cather - she is one of my favorite authors. I've had The Professor's House sitting on my shelf for a good ten years or so, but have yet to read it. Your review is wonderful and makes me realize I need to move it up my list of books to read!

My favorite Cather novel is Death Comes for the Archbishop. It is a beautiful novel. O Pioneers and My Antonia are a close second and third.


Glad you're enjoying this reading experience, Danielle. I may be well and truly tempted, in time, to read one of Cather's books, it seems I'm one of the few left who hasn't! And what a cover on this one...haunting and beautiful all at the same time.


In addition to books about books, I collect campus novels (call it an academic habit of navel-gazing). Like many of the commenters, I've had this book on the shelf for a long time, but have not yet read it. The idea of solitude appeals greatly...
Stephen Doyle has created a wonderful sculpture of The Professor's House:


Thomas--I can see why this is a favorite with so many people. It has so much to think about, and I also loved that feeling of solitude--both with the professor and with Tom when he was on the mesa alone that summer.
Skip--I was surprised that her books were so easy to read, but it is really misleading, isn't it. I like that though. I think many people can find her accessible, yet there is still more to her if you are willing to dig a little. I have not yet read Death Comes for the Archbishop--but I've heard it is her best work. I'll definitely be picking it up at some point, though I think I'll work on Winesburg, Ohio at the moment before returning to Cather.
Teresa--I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on it. I'm glad that someone else read it at the same time I did as I love getting other perspectives on a work! And I'm glad you also had a bit of uncertainty. I actually finished this a little while ago, but I had to think about it and roll things around in my mind before I could write anything--still left so much out.
Laura--Willa Cather is one of those authors I've meant to read for years. The time is right at the moment, so I am really enjoying her work. I *loved* My Antonia and could easily go and pick it up now and start reading again. I do need to reread O Pioneers--that was the only Cather I had read, but it's been far too long and details have faded away. Death Comes for the Archbishop is going to be a book that I think I will need to buy rather than borrow.
Darlene--I waited such a long time to read Willa Cather, but she is worth the wait. I think you would like her if you find at some time an urge to pick up one of her books. Isn't the cover great? I borrowed it from my library, but it has a different cover (also lovely with a chair and desk/painting). It is also a Virago.
Nathalie--This would be a great novel with an academic setting--perfect to read in fall, too. I love this setting as well. It's a lovely novel when you get to it--I would love to hear what you think. And thanks for that great link--I love that--how do people think up these things? I'm terrible at that sort of creativity but am more than happy to appreciate it in others!


What a nice review. I am also someone who has never read Willa Cather. I am sure I am missing something. I always felt drawn to My Antonia but this sounds even more wonderful... Blissful solitude...

Margaret Powling

This novel is in my *'basket', which is an extension of the TBR pile ... must dig it out forthwith and put it in the TBR pile i.e. a move up the reading ladder!
*the 'basket' in question is a large, flat basket with more than 200 books piled into it, not a small shopping basket.


What a marvellous review - I've just read Teresa's and you both concur that it's an excellent novel. I'd expect nothing less from Cather! I've read three of her books so far and am hungry for more - she's become one of my favourite authors and I'm in awe of her amazing writing. It's unlike any other. Lucy Gayheart is superb - do read it next!


Oh this sounds like a good book that I am going to have to find myself a copy of. I've read and very much enjoyed Death Comes for the Archbishop.


Sisters Of The Earth(a compilation of poems, essays, exerpts from novels and journal entries about Nature)holds a piece called The Ancient People coming from Song Of The Lark by Willa Cather. As that is the only Cather on my shelves I think I'll start there now.

Buried In Print

I've read four, but I'm exceptionally fond of her Song of the Lark, partly because I heard she was critical of it later in her writing life, and partly because I do love stories about women and creativity (although this is about a woman who can sing, which is something I most definitely cannot do myself). It's nice to hear so many good things about Lucy Gayheart as I have this one yet to read myself too.


Caroline--I waited a long time to read Willa Cather though my high school teachers always recommended her. If you are looking for a book to start with My Antonia is wonderful. And I liked the aspect of solitude in The Professors House as well--I'm quite the same in favoring it over more social event type situations.
Margaret--Now that is a serious basket--you'll have to take a picture of it sometime! I've used baskets for book piles, but I always seem to 'outgrow' them. And if you've got this Willa Cather on hand--I do hope you'll pick it up sometime--a really well done story.
Rachel--I'm glad I was close to the mark and Teresa felt the same way as well. I enjoyed reading her perspective of the book. I also want to read more of Cather's work and will just slowly make my way through. I;m glad you liked Lucy Gayheart--I've had it on my shelves for a very long time--it seems only fitting that I read it soon.
Stefanie--I think a lot of people must count this and Death Comes to the Archbishop as favorites. I am going to have to read that one, too. Now I know what to spend my last gift cards on I think.
Catharina--That sounds like an interesting collection. I've really enjoyed reading more nature essays this year and Cather is very good in her descriptions of landscapes--the grand, sweeping sorts! I want to read Song of the Lark, too!
Buried in Print--I'm so curious about Cather herself. I've read a little biographical material about her, but I think I will wait to read more of her novels before reading a biography. It's always interesting to hear which novels an author favors of her own work. I wish I was more creative, too--really creative, not just following diagrams to do needlework, but I certainly appreciate those who really are. And I agree--I'm glad to hear others have enjoyed Lucy Gayheart--I've already pulled it from my bookshelves.


I got goosebumps reading this review, as I love The Professor's House and perhaps I'll have to reread it yet again. Tom Outland read Virgil: another thing that appealed to me. My husband also loves this one: it was his introduction to Cather.

They're all great: I think A Lost Lady is my favorite. I also love Lucy Gayheart--Joanne Woodward's favorite, which she hoped to make a movie of, but I don't think she ever did.


Kat--I think this is one I would definitely like to read again. There was so much there that I caught peripherally, but not enough so that I could try and write about it--everything that happened to Tom on the Blue Mesa and in DC, his friend Roddy--and the books they were reading, too. I have enjoyed these Cather books I've read and plan on picking up more. I found a copy of The Lost Lady a while back at a library sale and am glad I snapped it up--also One of Ours, which I know she won the Pulitzer for, but that I've heard is not one of her best. Interesting about Joanne Woodward--I'm not sure if I've ever heard of a film being made. I think Cather didn't want any sort of films made of her works while she was alive, and it was only until the copyrights started running out that some started appearing (well, something to that effect anyway). I think I have too many yet to read to choose a favorite, but I've loved both this and My Antonia.


This book sounds so interesting! I really, really should read some Cather. I actually think I do own a collection of her stories, just don't know where exactly I have placed it. :)



What a great review! Must read Cather - A Lost Lady is the only one I possess, but I gather that's an okay place to start.


I love Willa Cather. I have to say that my favorite is "Death Comes for the Archbishop". Love it.


Tiina--I highly recommend her if you have something on hand. And I think she is easy to find in the library as well. Short stories are always a nice place to start with a new author, I think.
Litlove--I've heard that A Lost Lady is really good and probably as good a place to start with her as any. I think most of her novels are pretty good and the three I've read I've really enjoyed. I have a Lost Lady on my shelves as well.
DebbieQ--She is my best new find this year--not that I wasn't aware of her but I was dragging my feet! I can see I am definitely going to have to read Death Comes to the Archbishop this year, too.

Dorothy W.

I'm glad you liked the book! It sounds really good, and I'm intrigued by the structure. It's fun to read authors who can write good stories and at the same time leave you thinking about the ideas. I've never heard of Lucy Gayheart before, and I'm curious.

Joan in NY

Don't miss Death Comes for the Archbishop and do at least dip into her wonderful short stories.


Dorothy--It's funny that I put off reading Willa Cather for so long and as it turns out I really enjoy her books. And she does leave you with lots to think about after you finish. Of all her books I'm not sure how I ended up with Lucy Gayheart, but the story really appealed to me when I was younger--I suppose because it is about a young woman who is an artist and the story is somewhat romantic, too.
Joan--I think I am going to have to buy Death Comes for the Archbishop--it seems like a universal favorite! And I've never tried any of her short stories--I'll have to see if my library has any collections--they seem to have an extensive list of her work, so I bet I will find something!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Books Read in 2020

Books Read in 2019

Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017

Books Read in 2016

Books Read in 2015