What I'm Reading: O Pioneers! By Willa Cather

This past winter I reread the entire Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I enjoyed transposing my childhood memories into this current adult frame and experiencing the books in a whole new way.  Little Laura, as I commonly refer to my childhood self, romanticized the stories in these books, whereas now the struggle of pioneer life and the difficulty the Ingalls family faced in the various uninhabited places they lived or moved to is unfathomable to me.  When I imagine a good place to live, I think of the walking or biking distance to my favorite city amenities, crime rates, the political stance of the area, etc.  Charles Ingalls, Laura Wilder's father, wanted to live far away from all other people; when they left Wisconsin it's because they might have sometimes simply heard a neighbor in the distance.  

These pioneer books reminded me of another book I read as a child (maybe in fourth or fifth grade), Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, so I reread that this winter as well.  This one is about a girl growing up in Oklahoma during the dust bowl.

And, since I was on a roll of reading books about pioneers and cutting up grasslands, I read John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath which shook me, caused me to rethink human nature, made me miserable, and continued this personal deliberation about pioneer life, farming the plaines, the Depression, and nomad life in relation to pride.

ANYWAY.  Here I am, continuing it all, and reading the novel that made Willa Cather famous: O Pioneers!

I'll admit, I'm about half way through this.  I got distracted this week and finished a book of short stories I started reading in November, This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz.  Diaz' voice is so entertaining and blatent, it was a good break after the short stories I completed last week.  

So I'll be spending the next few days at the turn of the century looking forward to Alexandra and Carl's imminent romance, and dreading the inevitable loss of her Nebraska farm.....?  Hopefully not?

Have you read any books by Willa Cather?  I read Death Comes for the Archbishop a very long time ago, the first of hers I read, and my favorite is My Antonia.  

This post is part of a weekly series on "What I'm Reading."  I'll be talking about whatever book I happen to be reading, and you can look for this series every Friday.