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I only recently started reading Willa Cather and intend to read My Antonia soon. I've read The Professor's House and Alexander's Bridge and enjoyed them both. It has taken me a long time to get around to reading her, but I went to school in Scotland and she didn't feature among the American authors which we studied. Thanks for the interesting review.


I really love Willa Cather and am glad you're writing about her. What an excellent essay you've written on Cather!

My favorites are The Professor's House and A Lost Lady. They're short but perfect. But My Antonia is the most famous and it's the most dramatic.


I have never read anything by her though I've heard of this titles. It sounds very good. I'm going to have to get to it someday (but alas, I say that about so many books!)


You craft an intriguing review and make me want to read yet more of Willa Cather. I came across Lucy Gayheart this winter and spent some time enjoying reading it and its Chicago setting, where I live. There is a website filled with information on Willa Cather you might be interested in.


Katrina--I read O Pioneers years ago and am not sure why I waited so long to read more, but the timing is right at the moment. I'm not surprised that you didn't read her--I live in Nebraska and even though my teacher talked about her often and urged us to read her, she was not part of the curriculum. I am reading The Professors House now as a matter of fact.
Kat--I had no idea she was such a fascinating person. I only knew the basics about her but the more I read, the more I want to pick up more of her books. I brought home the Hermione Lee bio today and have already started reading. I loved My Antonia and am reading The Professor's House now--and you're right about My Antonia being dramatic. The Professors House is wonderful but in a quieter way.
Jeane--I know exactly how you feel. I often read about a book I want to pick up, too, but when to fit it in? If you do get a chance and are in the mood My Antonia is excellent and also reads quickly.
Penny--I have Lucy Gayheart on my shelves. I think that is one of the first Cather books I bought, so I will have to read it soon now. It's always interesting reading books set where you live, too. Thanks for passing on the link--I think it might have been one I came across earlier with photos of Red Cloud? I will check it out again.

Jennifer Dee

I am an avid reader, and I have to say that this book is one of my fabourite books that I've ever read.


Beautiful review Danielle. I love Cather as well - her writing is like no other. This will be one of my books on my reading list!


oooh I must, must,must read Willa Cather! Gorgeous review, Danielle!


Lovely review Danielle! I read My Antonia quite a few years ago for a book group. I was still new to Minnesota at the time and after reading the book I felt like I understood the midwest a little bit better. I can't recall much, and I would love to read it again one day, but I do remember the red canna lilies blooming alongside the white house.


I never read any Cather in school either but thanks to one of my book groups I did read O Pioneers. You review makes me want to go find My Antonia!


I teach A Lost Lady in my fiction classes every time I can. I love that book, as I love everything I've read of Cather's. Your review is a very tender tribute to the writer and reminds me of how much I love Cather. I would also recommend O Pioneers! to everyone. There's a very nice Hallmark film of it that's worth watching, too, starring Jessica Lange.


Thank you for such an interesting review. Somehow I've also missed reading My Antonia, and will put it on my to-read list right away. I try to read several "classics" every year, and this sounds like one that will be enjoyable to read, rather than a chore.


You can read a scholarly edition of My Antonia here:

I like it because in addition to all the scholarly notes, it has the original Benda illustrations that I believe Miss Cather selected.


Jennifer--I think this is also going to be part of my favorites list as well. Now I want to read all of Cather's books.
Rachel--I like her writing style, too. In a way it's simple, but I think it is deceptively so. I'm glad you'll be reading this sometime in the next year!
Litlove--I do hope you get a chance to read her--I would love to hear what you think of her writing!
Stefanie--Isn't it funny how some images stick with us even when the story fades away. I wonder if this is a book you can get as a freebie for your Kindle? It is on Project Gutenberg, too! It's a great introduction to what it was like to live in the midwest as well.
Iliana--I read O Pioneers maybe fifteen years ago? I don't recall much, but I've heard My Antonia is actually the superior book. Now I'd like to go back and read the three books that are part of this cycle of books.
Denise--I would love to hear your thoughts on A Lost Lady--I should bump it up my pile. I fond a copy at a library sale. Even though I think I would have not appreciated it when I was young, I would love now to have the benefit of reading this or her other works in a group or class! I saw that film ages ago--should watch it again. It seems I read that when Willa was alive she didn't want her books made into film, but I can't remember how many years she had that restriction on her books.
Kathy--This really is an easy read, but one I think can be read on many levels. I really enjoyed it! I also try and get in a number of classics every year, too!
Junie--Thanks very much for the link! I've taken a peek and will spend more time there later. I used a Broadview edition of the book, which had a bit of background and some other materials--photos and maps as well as the illustrations--but I had to return that copy to the library. It's nice to have scholarly notes so close at hand!


Glad you liked the link, Danielle. I've spent many happy hours there reading about Miss Cather's life.

And it's a small repayment for your recommendations. It's thanks to you that I read the Millennium Trilogy, The Little Stranger, By A Slow River and The Thirteenth Tale this year. Loved them all and wouldn't even have known about them if I hadn't stumbled onto your blog.


Junie--Willa Cather is really an interesting person to read about, isn't she? I've borrowed a biography of her that I hope to read soon. And I'm so happy to hear you found some good books to read here. I've actually yet to read the Larsson books though I've mentioned them here--as soon as I finish my current mystery read I think I am going to finally pick the first book up!

Dorothy W.

I see you are reading The Professor's House right now -- that's the Cather I have on my TBR shelves to pick up next, whenever I get the urge. I really enjoyed My Antonia and also A Lost Lady, which I read for school. Cather is definitely someone I want to read more of.


This is a great review. I remember reading this in high school, and being convinced at the time that Jim Burden actually was an old acquaintance of Willa Cather's. I really should revisit it at some point.


Dorothy--I am really enjoying The Professors House. After dragging my feet for so long, I think Cather is really a very good author. I found A Lost Lady at a library sale (score!), so that's one I'll be reading at some point, too!
Rebecca--In the Broadview edition I was looking at, there are actual photos of people that she based her characters on. I guess a lot of scholarship went into figuring out who inspired here--probably better to say the characters are composites of people she knew--but there were actual photos, which was really interesting. I wonder who the first narrator was supposed to be? I got the feeling that Jim was based at least in part on Willa herself-at least a few of the details are the same. In any case--it's a wonderful book!


Great review Danielle! I've never read any Willa Cathar (I actually hadn't heard of her until I started reading book blogs) but I'm putting together a list of American writers to read for next year and she's going on it. Of course now I'll have to research her novels to see which ones to read, but My Antonia looks very interesting.

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