Tag Archives: Willa Cather

The Mammoth Book of Westerns edited by Jon E. Lewis

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of westerns book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Westerns
Author: Jon E. Lewis, Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Frederic Remington, O. Henry, Stephen Crane, Willa Cather, B.M. Bower, Jack London, John G. Neihardt, Hamlin Garland, Zane Grey, Max Brand, Owen Wister, Conrad Richter, Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Ernest Haycox, Oliver La Farge, A.B. Guthrie, James Warner Bellah, Frank Bonham, Wallace Stegner, Dorothy M. Johnson, Steve Frazee, Jack Schaefer, Mari Sandoz, Thomas Thompson, Wayne D. Overholser, Elmer Kelton, Loren D. Estleman, Larry McMurtry, Edward Dorn, Leslie Marmon Silko, William Kittredge, Rick Bass & Christopher Tilghman
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Westerns (Jon E. Lewis)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Short story collections, Westerns
Dates read: 7th March – 22nd November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: She teased him, and threw flour in his face and put vinegar in his coffee, but he took her rough jokes with silent wonder, never even smiling.

Synopsis

35 OUTSTANDING WESTERNS, FROM JAMES FREDERIC REMINGTON TO RICK BASS

The Western is one of the greatest genres of world literature – singularly American, but with a truly global readership. 88 Ever since James Fenimore Cooper transformed frontier yarns into a distinct literary form, the Western has followed two paths: one populist – Time magazine’s American Morality Play – able to fit any political philosophy from red to redneck, with a sentimental attachment to the misfit; the other literary – eschewing heroism and debunking many of the myths of the West.

The best of both are represented in this excellent collection which includes stories by Willa Cather, Stephen Carne, Hamlin Garland, A.B. Guthrie, O. Henry, William Kittredge, Mari Sandoz, Leslie Marmon Silko and Wallace Stegner.

Thoughts

This wasn’t a bad collection. But it also wasn’t my favourite… actually, thus far, it is my least favourite Mammoth Books collection. Nothing against the layout or the writing… I just don’t really love Westerns as I have now discovered. A new genre to try, but not one to necessarily fill my shelves with.

Since I didn’t fall head over heels for this, I think that it’s the kind of collection that I will read again. Once I’m a little older and possibly more mature… after all, my tastes in books and genres is constantly changing as I grow and change myself. But, for now, it will go back on my shelves and probably not be touched again for a little while.

One of my favourite aspects of this book is the mini bio at the beginning of each story. Not only did it highlight when and where the author lived, but some of their better-known books. A great bit of information if I had wanted to add any of these authors to my wishlist…

<- The Mammoth Book of the WestThe Outcasts of Poker Flat ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Overview
My Ántonia

Title: My Antonia
Author: Willa Cather
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Westerns
Dates read: 26th – 27th June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1918
5th sentence, 74th page: Sometimes he was completely hidden by the clouds of snow that rose about him; then he and the horses would emerge black and shining.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Willa Cather’s novels brought the life of American settlers on the Great Plains to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness during a time when the lands west of the Mississippi were undergoing rapid transformation. My Ántonia, considered by many scholars to be her first masterpiece, tells the story of a young orphan, Jim Burden, who is sent from Virginia to Nebraska, where he grows up with his grandparents on their farm. He becomes friends with Ántonia Shimerda, a Bohemian girl who endures her own struggles as she enters adulthood. Rich in themes that will resonate with readers of all backgrounds, My Ántonia explores the struggles and triumphs of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

Thoughts

This is the first ever full-length Western that I’ve had the privilege to read. And it wasn’t as tedious as I kind of half expected. Mostly, I was expecting it to be a little slow like the short stories I’ve been reading in The Mammoth Book of Westerns. But, it wasn’t like that at all. In fact, I kind of completely loved this novel and just devoured it in one night – I found it really difficult to put down, put away and stop thinking about. Which was surprising, specifically considering the fact that I was a bit eh about her short story.

There is something about Antonia that should feel seriously tragic. And heart wrenching. And just, all round sad. Yet, even though there are moments throughout which do make you feel a little sad, there really isn’t an overall tragic feeling to this story. In fact, it’s almost hopeful and uplifting. Which, if I’m recounting this story, is not how I would be able to describe it. But something in Cather’s story telling manages to make that feeling of hope and the future seriously come alive. It’s a little disconcerting and is probably one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much.

Like Cather’s short story, one of the things that really stood out in this novel was the beautifully setting. It was a world in which you were completely immersed from the very first moment. And a really nice transportation into a moment in history that I never knew I was intrigued by. Definitely a very well written story. One which transported you to another world and another time. A world filled with different priorities and challenges, but ones which feel familiar regardless.

This isn’t a fast-paced, crazy storyline. It’s not a grip the edge of your seat kind of story, instead, what it is is just… fun. It’s a great story that transports you to everyday life and the ways in which we form and create bonds. The ways in which we change over time. And how some people are able to stand the test of time in their friendships, even in the most trying of circumstances.

<- Through the Looking-GlassDon Quixote ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

On the Divide by Willa Cather

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of westerns book cover

Title: On the Divide
Author: Willa Cather
In: The Mammoth Book of Westerns (Jon E. Lewis)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Westerns
Dates read: 12th May 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: It would sometimes have been hard to distinguish the men from their evil geniuses but for one fact, the men were always grave and were either toiling or praying, while the devil’s were always smiling and dancing.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

It’s hard making a life on the divide.

Thoughts

This was an easy, light read. One that I didn’t really think much about after turning the final page. And one that I seriously enjoyed while reading. There was just something light and soft about this western short story.

I really liked the description of the western setting throughout this short story. Unlike the other westerns I’ve read thus far in the The Mammoth Book of Westerns collection, the description was much, much more vivid. Far more beautiful and intense. And just downright gorgeous.

There’s really not all that much I have to say about this short story. It was nice, fun, easy and light. It wasn’t all that unforgettable. But it was the kind of short story that I like to read late at night.

<- The Bride Comes to Yellow SkyBad Penny ->

Image source: Hachette Australia