Thursday, January 31, 2019

Book Beginnings: O Pioneers!

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (first published 1913). These are the first lines of Chapter One:
One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away.  A mist of fine snowflakes was curling and eddying about the cluster of low drab buildings huddled on the gray prairie, under a gray sky. 

About the Book:
Alexandra Bergson inherits the family farm when her father dies early. In spite of her brothers’ doubts, her ambitious vision for the land comes to fruition, but the price of success appears to be a small, quiet life. Then the equilibrium of country life is jeopardized by the return of Alexandra’s brother Emil and her childhood confidant, Carl Linstrum. 
O Pioneers! is at once a love letter to Nebraska and the tale of a remarkable heroine who remains resilient in the face of tragedy. (-- Penguin Books website)

Initial Thoughts:

I've tried to read Cather's O Pioneers! many times, but never got much farther than the opening paragraphs. I always found it just a little too — well, slow. Maybe depressing. Just take a look at those first sentences. See what I mean?

But I'm thinking of giving it one more chance this year, for the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge. It's a short book — I should be able to stick with it for the sake of the challenge. Maybe. We'll see....

Even though I've never managed to get all the way through the book, over the years I've bought several copies. The covers can be very seductive.

Happy reading, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


  1. I've only read one Willa Cather, My Antonia, but thought her writing was very good. Good luck. My quotes from Where the Crawdads Sing

  2. I've never read this book, but I loved the beginning, which made me feel sooo cold! Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

  3. I haven't read this book, but I, of course, know the author.

    Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my blog.

  4. I have just about read all of My Antonia but abandoned it

  5. She does do a good job of orienting the reader to where and when the story starts. Good luck finishing it this time.

  6. I haven't read this one. It sounds good. Have a great weekend!

  7. Doesn't the book open with a kitten trapped up a telegraph pole or somesuch? I found the setting interesting when I read this a few years ago.


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