#FridayReads: Willa Cather and an anniversary that almost slipped past me

My ÁntoniaMy Ántonia is the third Willa Cather novel I’ve read, including her other “prairie trilogy” (I’ve also seen it called “Great Plains trilogy”) novels O Pioneers! and Song of the Lark. I’ll confess I didn’t know much about the author herself until very recently (like, this morning). I don’t know why I was so incurious about her background and history, considering how much I’ve enjoyed the novels I’ve read. There’s a bleakness and at the same time an intensity of emotion in them, and I was interested to learn she wasn’t married and her closest relationships during her life were with other women.

Through Jim Burden’s endearing, smitten voice, we revisit the remarkable vicissitudes of immigrant life in the Nebraska heartland, with all its insistent bonds. Guiding the way are some of literature’s most beguiling characters: the Russian brothers plagued by memories of a fateful sleigh ride, Antonia’s desperately homesick father and self-indulgent mother, and the coy Lena Lingard. Holding the pastoral society’s heart, of course, is the bewitching, free-spirited Antonia.

Originally published in 1918, the book is available through Project Gutenberg.

The Unwanted 300 DPIOn a completely unrelated note, The Unwanted came out two years ago today (although careful readers could get it directly from the publisher at the first of the month). I guess that officially makes my YA fantasy novel a toddler, so I expect it to gambol around, knock things over, and babble a lot. Kind of like me before I’ve had my coffee.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, the ALA’s GLBT Round Table had nice things to say about the novel after it came out.

I’m almost done with the first draft of the sequel—my goal is still to have that done by April 1, and I’ve got about a chapter and a half to go. I would say I’m writing as fast as I can, but ha! Anyone who knows me will attest that I’m great at procrastinating, waffling, and dithering back and forth. But still, April 1. Done.

And then the second draft will start….