September 23, 2006

One of Ours

One of Ours by Willa Cather
Classic Literature
Quit on 9/8/06
Rating: DNF

I had never heard of Willa Cather until we moved to Nebraska and I decided to take some classes at UNL. As I perused the class schedule, Great Plains Literature caught my eye and I was intrigued, so I eagerly signed up. We only read one book by Cather (My Ántonia), but I was hooked and went on to read Death Comes for the Archbishop, O Pioneers!, Alexander's Bridge and The Song of the Lark. I also attended a conference in Red Cloud, Nebraska (Cather moved there from Virigina when she was a young girl), the setting of My Ántonia.

My professor told us his favorite work of Cather's was One of Ours, so I added it to my shelves, hoping to eventually read it. Well, it's been just about 10 years since I aced took that class, so I decided to give it a read for my Classics Challenge.

Thank goodness Prof. Shively decided to assign My Ántonia instead of One of Ours. After 54 pages of dull and unappealing characters and plot, I set it aside. I even picked it up again, a few days later, hoping to find some reason to continue. Unfortunately, Claude Wheeler has nothing on Ántonia as a protagonist and the lyrical descriptions of the landscape failed to impress me, as they did in the other books I've read of Cather's (although it's always fun to read about Lincoln, depending on her details to help picture exactly where Cather's characters might be).

So, another one to go in my used bookstore box. Too bad. It has such a pretty cover.


  1. I would buy this book just for the beautiful cover. You have rescued me. "My Anotonia" is on my TBR list but it will have to wait until the A TO Z project is finished. I sure appreciate these reviews that help me find worthy books to read.

  2. The bad news is that you had two bummers in a row, but the good news is that you saved us from the experience. Thanks. :)

  3. I am always shocked that My Antonia is on every High School reading list because it bored me to tears. Of course, I was about 17 when I first (and last) read it, so my knowledge base wasn't that broad. But, I don't feel compelled to pick up anything by Willa again, and continue to be amazed when people rave about her.

  4. I absolutely loved My Antonia and, like Framed, probably would have bought this one just because of the lovely cover. Well, now I know which of her other books to focus on, so thanks for that!

  5. Framed - I love all the Vintage Classic books for their beautiful covers (at least what I've seen for Cather's books). Would make a lovely set!

    Joy - Glad to be of service. :)

    Bellezza - I wonder how much I would have enjoyed My Antonia had I read it on my own. I think a large part of my enjoyment was the enthusiasm my professor shared of his love for Cather's works. I also believe my move to Nebraska had something to do with my enjoyment, too. I loved the way in which Cather described the landscape that was so new to this Southern California gal. I later read the book for a book group and didn't care for it as much as my first read. It is a bit dull. My favorites are O Pioneers! and Death Comes for the Archbishop (although, I wonder how they hold up the second time around).

    Bookfool - Personally, I'd skip Song of the Lark. It was my least favorite. But to each their own, right?


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