.

.

December 30, 2017

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Last weekend I shared a recipe for sugar cookies that was given to me by a neighbor. This was the first Christmas I tried her recipe and they were a big hit with my family. As I was going through my stacks of recipes, I discovered yet another for "Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies," which Nan sent to me in 2007. I decided it was high time to try these, as well.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies
Mary Engelbreit


Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coarse white or colored sugar, or a combination

Preheat oven to 375.

Lightly grease baking sheets.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, margarine, confectioners sugar and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Beat in the flour at slow speed.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll to coat well in the coarse sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten each cookie. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

My Notes:

I used 1 cup of butter instead using the margarine.

I heated the oven to 350 instead of 375.

I used my Silpat baking mats (you can also use parchment paper) instead of greasing the cookie sheets.

I dipped the bottom of the glass in water before flattening the cookie so the dough wouldn't stick.

I sprinkled colored sugar on top of the cookie, rather than rolling the entire ball in sugar. They were still sweet enough.

We taste-tested these and the sugar cookies I made with my neighbor's recipe. Both winners!


Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

December 29, 2017

Looking Back - A Virtuous Woman

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons
Fiction
1997 Vintage Books (first published in 1989)
Finished in May 1997
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

When Blinking Jack Stokes met Ruby Pitt Woodrow, she was twenty and he was forty. She was the carefully raised daughter of Carolina gentry and he was a skinny tenant farmer who had never owned anything in his life. She was newly widowed after a disastrous marriage to a brutal drifter. He had never asked a woman to do more than help him hitch a mule. They didn't fall in love so much as they simply found each other and held on for dear life. 

Kaye Gibbons's first novel, Ellen Foster, won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the praise of writers from Walker Percy to Eudora Welty. In A Virtuous Woman, Gibbons transcends her early promise, creating a multilayered and indelibly convincing portrait of two seemingly ill-matched people who somehow miraculously make a marriage.

My Original Notes (1997):

Another winner by Gibbons. Interesting writing device - alternates between voices of two characters every chapter. Timeline also goes backwards and then concludes full circle from the beginning. It took me a little longer to get hooked on this one, but once I did, that was it!

My Current Thoughts:

How funny that I mentioned the alternating points-of-view in my original notes. I guess I never encountered this device prior to reading this book. Now it's quite commonplace.

I don't recall the plot of this novel and reading the publisher's blurb as I type this review, I'm know I'm not at all interested in a re-read. 

December 27, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Christmas Day 2017
Oregon Coast

Click on image for full size version.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas


I have spent the past few weeks working on jigsaw puzzles, wrapping gifts and puttering in the kitchen, baking all sorts of sweet treats to share with our new neighbors. We have relatives arriving tomorrow, so I'm going to take a little break from this blog and will return after the New Year. I wish you and your loved ones a very, Merry Christmas!

xoxo, Lesley

December 23, 2017

Sugar Cookies

I seriously doubt anyone needs another recipe for sugar cookies, but I am always on the lookout for that perfect recipe for cookies like the ones I used to devour when I was about ten years old, babysitting for a neighbor's little girl. I can still imagine their melt-in-your mouth buttery flavor with the sweetness of the colored sugar sprinkled on top. I may have embarrassed myself by eating more than I should have after putting the baby to bed...

This recipe is from my next door neighbor in Lincoln, Nebraska. She made these (and a huge pot of Chicken and Rice Soup) for us when Rod was recovering from his back surgery a few years ago. I've made the soup many times, but this was the first time I've tried the cookie recipe and it won't be the last. Delicious!


Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions

Cream sugar, Crisco and butter together. Add egg and vanilla.

Mix flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt together in a separate bowl.

Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture.

Roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper or a Silpat); flatten the dough with the bottom of a glass (dipped in water, if the dough sticks) and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until the edges start to brown.

Yield: 3 dozen


Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

December 22, 2017

Looking Back - Ellen Foster

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.




Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
Fiction
1997 Vintage Books (first published in 1987)
Finished in May 1997
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

"When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy. I would figure out this or that way and run it down through my head until it got easy." So begins the tale of Ellen Foster, the brave and engaging heroine of Kay Gibbons's first novel, which won the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Institute of Arts and Letters. Wise, funny, affectionate, and true, Ellen Foster is, as Walker Percy called it, "The real thing. Which is to say, a lovely, sometimes heartwrenching novel. . . . [Ellen Foster] is as much a part of the backwoods South as a Faulkner character—and a good deal more endearing."


My Original Notes (1997):

Very, very good! My heart went out to Ellen. What a life. She seemed so real, too. And, in spite of the depressing childhood she had, she had a marvelous sense of humor. Gibbons is an excellent writer. She pulled at my heart strings, but could still make me laugh out loud. Wonderful!

My Current Thoughts:

This is another book I wish I still owned. It's been ages since I've read a good Southern novel (or for that matter, a good coming-of-age story).

December 20, 2017

Wordless Wednesday





Click on image for full size version.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

December 16, 2017

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls

I've been making these treats on and off during the holidays for about 40 years! They're a family favorite and are a nice addition to a cookie plate to deliver to friends and neighbors. My husband doesn't understand why I only make them at Christmastime, though. He thinks it would be great to have a tin of these treats in the refrigerator year-round. I don't dare! They're too addictive and you really can't eat just one.


Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients

3 cups Rice Krispies
1 jar (2 cups) crunchy peanut butter
1 box powdered sugar
1 stick butter (melted)
1-8 oz. bar Hershey's plain chocolate
1-6 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 bar Parowax

Directions

Mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, Rice Krispies and melted butter in a large mixing bowl.
Roll into 1-inch balls; place on baking sheet until ready to dip.
In a double-boiler, melt both chocolates and wax.
Dip balls in chocolate.
Place gently on wax paper to cool.

My Notes:

Parowax is used to keep the chocolate glossy and to keep the peanut butter balls firmer longer without a mess in your hands. Not that you'll need a lot of time to eat one!




I use a fork and spoon to dip the balls in the chocolate. I balance the ball on the fork and let the excess chocolate drip through the tines, using the spoon to scrap the bottom side of the fork to get the chocolate off before dropping them on the wax paper.

These can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator. They taste best when chilled!

Yield: 3 dozen


Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

December 15, 2017

Looking Back - Peder Victorious

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



Peder Victorious by O.E. Rolvaag
Fiction
1982 Bison Books (first published in 1929)
Finished in May 1997
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Peder Victorious, the sequel to Rölvaag's massive Giants in the Earth, continues the saga of the Norwegian settlers in the Dakotas. Here again, years later, are all the sturdy pioneers of the earlier novel, Rölvaag's "vikings of the prairie"—Per Hansa's Beret and their children, Syvert Tönseten and Kjersti, and Sörine. The great struggle against the land itself has been won. Now there is to be a second struggle, a struggle to adapt, to become Americans.The development of the Spring Creek settlement in these years is manifested in the rebellious growing up of Peder Victorious. Peder is a beautiful and moving novel of youth and youth's self-discovery. It is the story, too, of Beret's pain and dismay at the Americanization of her children, what Rölvaag described as the true tragedy of the immigrants, who made their children part of a world to which they themselves could never belong.Out of the inevitable conflict between the first-generation American and his still Norwegian mother, Rölvaag built a powerful novel of personal growth, guilt, and victory.

My Original Notes (1997):

Good, but not great. Certainly not as good as Giants in the Earth. The novel ran hot and cold for me. Some parts didn't hold my interest at all (too much religion?) and others did so much that I couldn't put it down. Interesting sections involving the loss of native language (Beret vs. children and the church)

My Current Thoughts:

I still plan to someday reread Giants in the Earthbut sadly this follow-up holds no interest to me.

December 13, 2017

Wordless Wednesday


circa 1964

Click on image for full size version.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

December 12, 2017

Olympic Peninsula Trip - Day Seven

Saturday, September 23, 2017 (Part One)
Day Trips: La Push

We had another quiet night and both of us slept very well. It may not be a traditional wooded campground in a state or national park, but this RV park is very quiet. And did I mention the hot showers?!

Our plan for the day was to explore the La Push and Rialto Beach areas. As usual, I shot a ton of photos, so I'll focus on La Push in this post.
La Push is a small unincorporated community situated at the mouth of the Quillayute River in Clallam County, Washington, United States. La Push is the largest community within the Quileute Indian Reservation, which is home to the federally recognized Quileute tribe. La Push is known for its whale-watching and natural environment. (Wikipedia)

First stop near the marina and First Beach. I never grow tired of seeing the huge sea stacks along this coastline. This one is called Little James Island.



James Island (on the far left), Gunsight Rock and Little James Island.
James Island (Quileute: A-ka-lat - "Top of the Rock") is an island at the mouth of the Quillayute River near La Push, Washington, reportedly named either for Francis W. James, the first white man to climb the island in 1885, though the Origin of Washington Geographic Names attributes the naming to a Quileute chief named Jimmie Howeshatta.
Until the second half of the 19th century, the island was the site of a fortified village. After this, it was used as a site for growing crops for residents of the mainland, as well as a burial site for tribal chiefs. At 160 feet (49 m) in height, the island was also used as a lookout for spotting whales. The island was formerly a sea stack, connected to the mainland, until the US Army Corps of Engineers rerouted the Quillayute River, separating it. Today, the US Coast Guard operates a lighthouse and foghorn for boats coming into the harbor.
In 1966, James Island was removed from the Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Interior Department returned the island to the Quileute people when it was discovered to be part of the Quileute Indian Reservation. No people outside of the Quileute tribe are allowed on the island. (Wikipedia)





This area is dominated by huge pieces of driftwood and fallen trees. I love the contrast between the smooth bleached wood and the lush green plant life.





To give a sense of scale, note the person walking on the beach compared to the size of the fallen tree, which washed ashore who knows how many years (or centuries) ago!



The beaches in this area are named "First," "Second," etc. This is First Beach, looking south toward Quateata Head.



After wandering around a bit, we decided to get some lunch at River's Edge Restaurant. I love this colorful totem pole in front of the restaurant.







If it's on the menu, I order it. This did not disappoint!



The restaurant is nothing fancy, but we had a great view from our table. There must be a lot of fish (as well as otters, according to our waitress) in this harbor, if the huge flocks of seagulls and pelicans are any indication.



More local art in front of the Lonesome Creek Store.







After our very filling lunch of clam chowder and salmon burgers, we decided to explore Second Beach. The 0.7 mile (one-way) trail leads hikers through the woods, up and down the terrain, until it meets the ocean.



Not too many people on the trail. No bears, either. (There were bear-proof trash cans at the trailhead!)



A glimpse of a sea stack through the trees.



Upon arriving at the beach, one has to scramble over an enormous pile of driftwood. Crying Lady Rock is on the left with the Quillayute Needles archipelago just beyond in the distance.
Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge is the central refuge of the three (along with Flattery Rocks and Copalis) which make up the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex, a group of 870 islands, rocks, and reefs extending for more than 100 miles along Washington's coast from Cape Flattery to Copalis Beach. These islands are protected from human disturbance, yet are close to abundant ocean food sources. 
They are a vital sanctuary where 14 species of seabirds nest and raise their young. During migration the total populations of seabirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds may exceed a million birds. Sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, and whales may also be seen around the islands. 
The refuge is within the boundary of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and Olympic National Park, and except for Destruction Island is also incorporated into the Washington Islands Wilderness. The three agencies cooperate on research programs and other issues that may have impacts on the resources.
The refuge was originally created as Quillayute Needles Reservation on October 23, 1907, by an executive order from Theodore Roosevelt. It encompassed the islands off the Washington coast between latitudes 47° 38′ North, and 48° 02′ North. It was renamed by a presidential proclamation on July 25, 1940. In 1966, James Island was removed from the refuge by the U.S. Department of the Interior and returned to the Quileute when the island was discovered to be part of the Quileute Indian Reservation. (Wikipedia)






There were quite a few people on the beach, playing in the surf or checking out the tide pools further south. This hammock is pretty cool!


I didn't make it up to Natural Arch at the north end of the beach, as the tide was coming in. It was a beautiful (and warm!) afternoon and I would definitely come back and spend a day at this gorgeous beach.



I'm not sure what the water temperature was, but these four didn't seem to mind it one bit!

One final note: It's been just over a decade since I read New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. I didn't care for it nearly as much as Twilight (the first in the Twilight Saga), but having now visited the area, I may just have to give the book a second reading. 
[La Push] is one of the main settings for the second book of the Twilight saga, New Moon, as it is the hometown of Bella's family friend Jacob Black. Stephenie Meyer used the local tribe in the first book as a plot device to tell Bella, and the reader, that the Cullens were vampires, and in New Moon she added a genetic quirk that allows the Quileutes to turn into werewolves when vampires are in the area. (fandom.wikia)
Click on image for a larger view.

December 10, 2017

Instant Pot Creamy Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup


My husband loves soup. He says he could eat it every day for lunch, so every fall I start cooking my way through all our favorite recipes, happy to rediscover those that I've ignored during the summer and happy to have delicious leftovers (which my husband also loves) to serve for lunch. Once I've grown tired of all the familiar recipes, I start searching online and through my cookbooks for something new. Since we recently got an Instant Pot, I was eager to try this creamy mushroom and wild rice soup, which I found on Pinch of Yum (a new-to-me food blog that is quickly becoming a favorite!). Not only was it super easy, but there were plenty of leftovers for future meals. However, instead of saving it for Rod's lunches, I decided to freeze it so we can take it on our next camping trip.


Instant Pot Creamy Mushroom
and Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients

For the Instant Pot:

5 medium carrots, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
Half of an onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 cup uncooked wild rice
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

For the Stovetop:

6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups 2% milk

Instant Pot: 

Place all the ingredients in the first list into the Instant Pot. Cook on manual for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, release the steam using the valve on top.

Stovetop: 

Just before the soup is finished cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for one to two minutes. Whisk in the milk, a little bit at a time, until you have a smooth, thickened sauce. Salt to taste.

Once the soup is finished cooking and you've released the steam on the Instant Pot, stir in the creamy sauce.

Serve with a green salad or crusty bread.

Yield: 6 servings

My Notes:

I added a few handfuls of diced rotisserie chicken (brought to room temperature) when I added the roux to the soup. The wild rice gives the soup a delicious nutty flavor, but my husband prefers regular rice, so I'll try that next time around.


Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

December 8, 2017

Looking Back - Charms for the Easy Life

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
Fiction
1995 Harper Perennial (first published in 1993)
Finished in May 1997
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent!)

Publisher's Blurb:

A family without men, the Birches live gloriously offbeat lives in the lush, green backwoods of North Carolina. In a sad and singular era, they are unique among women of their time. For radiant, headstrong Sophia and her shy and brilliant daughter Margaret possess powerful charms to ward off loneliness, despair, and the human misery that all too often beats a path to their door. And they are protected through the years by the eccentric wisdom and muscular love of the most stalwart Birch of all — a solid, unbending and uncompromising self-taught healer who can cure everything from boils to broken hones to broken hearts ... a remarkable matriarch who calls herself Charlie Kate.

Charms for the Easy Life is the passionate, luminous, and exhilarating New York Times bestseller by Kaye Gibbons,the acclaimed author of Ellen Foster and Sights Unseen.

My Original Notes (1997):

One of the best books I've ever read! Excellent! I didn't want it to end, but couldn't put it down. Bought everything else that I could find by Kaye Gibbons. I feel like I know the three women in the story. I greatly admired the strength and independence of the grandmother. What a woman! And their love for books and the understanding of the power of the written word... Lyrical - reminded me a bit of Beach Music.

Beautiful. Charming. Delightful!

My Current Thoughts:

With such high praise, I'm shocked that I no longer own a copy of this novel. Maybe I'll get a copy at the library and read it again. 

December 6, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

circa 1964


Click on image for full size version.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

December 2, 2017

Sloppy Joes


If you've been following this blog for the past few months, you know that my husband and I bought a travel trailer this summer and have had a lot of fun exploring the Pacific Northwest. Our trailer is outfitted with a large refrigerator, microwave and two-burner stove. We also have a toaster oven, portable grill and Coleman campstove, so there are plenty of cooking options when we're traveling. I love to cook, but cooking while camping is not how I choose to spend my time. I'd rather relax outside with a book or go for a hike or explore a new town. Cooking is a necessity, so I needed to find a solution to get me out of the "galley" while adding more options to our meals. Burgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken are fine every now and then, but would surely get old during a two-week trip.




Enter Make-Ahead-Meals.

When fixing dinner at home, I've recently begun to freeze half of a given recipe to take with us when we head out on a camping adventure. Soups, stroganoff, chili, Sloppy Joes, etc. I can't say that I remember ever having a Sloppy Joe until recently, but it tasted so good I decided to make a batch for our recent trip to Bandon. I froze enough of the recipe so we could have it for dinner one night and lunch later in the week. Served with chips, salad or fruit it worked out to be a nice alternative to a cheeseburger. And, the best part? Not only was I able to heat it up in a skillet in just a few minutes, but there were very few dishes involved. (Always a big plus when camping!)

Remember Hunt's Manwich? I can honestly say I've never tried one and I doubt I ever will. This Crock-Pot recipe for Sloppy Joes is so easy, I don't know why anyone would opt for a canned variety. I'm not sure if this recipe tastes like a Manwich, but it's certainly filling and yummy, especially after a day of exploring.


Manwich is the brand name of a canned sloppy joe sauce produced by ConAgra Foods and Hunt's, introduced in 1969. The can contains seasoned tomato sauce that is added to ground beef cooked in a skillet. It is marketed as a quick and easy one-pan meal for the whole family. Manwich's slogan is, "A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal." (Wikipedia)
Crock-Pot Sloppy Joes

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 (16 oz.) package ground pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium-sized green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 hamburger buns, toasted

Brown beef and sausage with onion and bell pepper in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring 10 minutes or until beef and sausage crumble and are no longer pink. Drain well.

Place beef mixture in a 4 1/2 quart slow cooker. Stir in tomato sauce and next 9 ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH for four hours.

Serve on hamburger buns.

Stove-Top Method

Proceed with recipe as directed in Step 1, returning drained beef mixture to Dutch oven. Stir in tomato sauce and next 8 ingredients, omitting flour. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

Note:

To freeze leftover Sloppy Joe mixture, let cool completely. Place in zip-top plastic freezer bag; lay bags flat, and stack in freezer. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in refrigerator or defrost in microwave.

My Notes:

I made this on the stove, rather than in a Crock-Pot. I think either method is fine, but since it's just ground beef and pork sausage, slow cooking isn't necessary for tenderizing the meat.

I don't care for green bell peppers, so I left those out and reduced the amount of chili powder to 1 teaspoon.

Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

December 1, 2017

Looking Back - O Pioneers!


Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.




O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
Fiction
1988 Houghton Mifflin Company (first published in 1913)
Finished on May 5, 1997
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

Publisher's Blurb:

In O Pioneers!, Willa Cather introduces Alexandra Bergson, the daughter of Swedish immigrant farmers, whose devotion to the land sustains her against the hardships and suffering of prairie life. With Alexandra, Willa Cather created the model for a series of remarkable, spirited heroines. This vivid portrait of the American frontier reveals Cather's powerful themes as it enthralls new generations of readers.

Willa Cather was born in 1873 in Virginia, but at the age of nine, she moved with her family to Nebraska; this landscape later provided her with the setting for many of her finest stories. After graduating from the University of Nebraska she worked as a journalist, a teacher, and as an editor at McClure's magazine, until deciding to write full-time. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Willa Cather is the author of more than fifteen books, including My Antonia and The Song of the Lark.

My Original Notes (1997):

Excellent! A great novel. Similar in some ways to My Antonia. I felt strongly connected to the characters and didn't want the story to end. Beautiful descriptions of the landscape as in My Antonia. Grabbed my attention from the very start.

My Current Thoughts:

As I recall, I wound up liking this novel better than My Antonia. I wish I had taken more detailed notes in my reading journal because now I only have a slight recollection of the plot and cast of characters. I guess it's time to read it again.