Book Nerd Club Discussion #1

by jenna on June 1, 2010

Hello!

I hope you all know what today is………it’s reading day!

n58650.jpg
If you are just reading this blog for the first time, this isn’t something that is a usual occurrence. Usually, I vent eloquently about oatmeal, hummus and salmon and leave it at that. However, last month I was reminiscing about all the good times spent in my senior year English Literature class and realized that there might be a few other crazy obsessed readers like myself out there as well, who also need a support group for their reading addiction. Thus, the ELR Book Nerd Club was born.
I gave a short list of my picks for a revised summer reading list and asked anyone who wanted to read along then discuss to join on in. Us English majors need fellowship, right? Since this is the very first time I’m doing this I don’t know what I’m doing (do I ever?) but I thought I would post a few questions here and anyone who wanted to join in and discuss in the comment section could. IT’S GOING TO BE FUN!!! Gold stars for all!!!
So here we go:
1. Do you think My Antonia is a book about Antonia? Who do you think the book is really about?

2. How do you think hardships change a person? For example, Antonia changed dramatically after her father died….what are, if any, the differences between how hardship changed a person then versus present day?
I’m hesitant to ask more than two questions because things could get crazy and confusing. Thoughts?
***
Today is my first day of work (training) so I’ll be gone all day. Just woke up at 5:30 and headed to the gym for another Summer Shape Up workout and I’m about to make some breakfast, shower and hit the road.
2 Trader Joe’s waffles with earth balance, 4 egg whites + soy sausage:

IMG_8147
And away we go!


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ June 1, 2010 at 7:42 am

What a you training for at work?

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jenna June 1, 2010 at 7:55 am

I’ll be working part time at the Kendall-Jackson Food and Wine Center…doing food and wine pairings, wine tastings and garden tours all summer :)

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jennifer June 1, 2010 at 8:03 am

This is definately a story about Jim. They way the book is structured it makes you want it to be MORE about Antonia. That was my only qualm about the book. I feel like I missed out on vasts amounts of her life and what we get is only what Jim sees, I want to know what everyone else thought about her as well.

In terms of her character chaning, I do not believe it changed so much after her father’s death. Yes, she had to work in the fields, but as a person/character her perserverence and outgoing personality was always there as Jim tells us. However, like I said above this is the problem (my opinion with the book) I feel like I really don’t know enough about Antonia to talk about her change in the face of disaster.

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Lindsey June 1, 2010 at 8:58 am

1. Do you think My Antonia is a book about Antonia? Who do you think the book is really about?
The central character in the book is Jim, no question. However, his feelings and relationship with Antonia play a large role in the book. Therefore, I’m more apt to say that the book is about Jim Burden, and his friendship and feelings for Antonia as he grows from a child to a man.

2. How do you think hardships change a person? For example, Antonia changed dramatically after her father died….what are, if any, the differences between how hardship changed a person then versus present day?
Undoubtedly, Antonia does change after her father dies, just as anyone would. Antonia had to step up to play the role of son while Ambroz more or less had to step up and be the “man of the house”. Had her father not died, it is very possible that Antonia might have remained in a more traditional daughter role. Though, from what we know of Antonia’s personality and the dynamic of the Shimerda family, it is entirely possible that, had her father lived, Antonia might have still taken up these roles.

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Penny (VEGGIEtarian) June 1, 2010 at 10:14 am

I haven’t read this book so I can’t participate in the conversation, but I just want to say that I am a HUGE fan of this new book nerd section that you are doing. I positively love it! I will read one of the future books and contribute then. Please keep doing this section on your blog!

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Alina June 2, 2010 at 6:29 am

Agreed. I love this – I am really looking forward to participating when I can actually read the book (maybe the next one!). My only suggestion (and this probably only applies to me), is to indicate whether the book is likely to make the reader sad and make rivers of tears flow. I try to avoid those.

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Hillary June 1, 2010 at 10:36 am

Good luck with your first day @ KJ!

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eatmovelove June 1, 2010 at 10:37 am

I agree with Penny above.

I feel like I’m intruding…:(…because I haven’t read the book. But I think it’ll be interesting to follow along and now I have some books to read!
Good luck at work. I start back full-time tommorow- but it will NOT be enjoyable like yours…

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Cynthia (It All Changes) June 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

1. Like other posters I agree that this book is about Jim and how Antonia floats in and out of his life. It is told from his perspective on her and how she influenced him.

2. Hardship affects anyone for both the positive and negative. But we know that even before her father’s death Antonia is not an ordinary girl. She is stubborn. Her father’s death just exacerbates this.

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Brenda M. June 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

LOVE the book club idea, and really enjoyed the book.
1. I agree with most people’s comments that the book is more about Jim and his development. But I also think that in a way, it’s really about Willa Cather. From some additional reading I did about her, she seemed to struggle with many of the same issues Antonia confronted.
2. How do you think hardships change a person? For example, Antonia changed dramatically after her father died….what are, if any, the differences between how hardship changed a person then versus present day?
Interesting question. Do you think that people were, in a way, stronger in times past? If there were hardships, they had to find ways to overcome them – or literally face death. Today, we have networks in place to helps those facing tough times, but my experience is that they can make people complacent and not work as hard as they possibly should for their own survivial (no political commentary intended, and please don’t take offense, these are just my own experiences).
Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments about the book!

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A Teenage Gourmet (Sami) June 1, 2010 at 11:23 am

I love this idea! I’ll be taking my senior Lit class in the fall. There’s only a little problem- I haven’t read this book yet. . . Althoughhhh, if you want to keep up with the current senior reading of 2010-2011, I’ll be glad to assist! :)

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A Teenage Gourmet (Sami) June 1, 2010 at 11:24 am

I love this idea! I’ll be taking my senior Lit class in the fall. There’s only a little problem- I haven’t read this book yet. . . Althoughhhh, if you want to keep up with the current senior reading of 2010-2011, I’ll be glad to assist! :)

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Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) June 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm

What an absolutely fantabulous idea! :D Love it!

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Helen June 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Hope the training goes well. You are so motivated to get up at 5.30! You’re breakfast looks great too. I didn’t read this book but this looks great so I’ll definitely read the next one so I can participate!

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Kati June 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I haven’t read that book but your breakfast looks great! I think you’re inspired me for dinner :>

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Suzanne de Cornelia June 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm

What’s intriguing is the almost primal connection between Jim and Antonia, and the proprietary title ‘My Antonia’ that reflects his conception of her that no one else sees. The more genteel girl erased by her father’s death, cultural norms, her first pregnancy vs. the rough-hewn wife and mother that throws herself into his arms in tears years later and after his Harvard education. His backward glance holds some unrequited longing, sorrow, and resignation for the lost girl and her promise–but also a tie that will remain–so an affirmation of her spirit that he is connected to.

I don’t think that the historical time is the weightiest factor in how hardship changes a person–i.e. then versus present day.

Cather’s characters are reformed under harsh conditions but are life-altering depending on core makeup, spiritual beliefs, family and cultural values, pragmatics, etc. History is filled with far more brutal times and people that remained true to their own inherent being: Joan of Arc, Julian of Norwich–or those that changed for the much greater as a result of harrowing events–like John Newton–the former slave trader who wrote ‘Amazing Grace’ as a result of near death in a horrific storm, and after his callously causing the deaths of hundreds of slaves.

In contrast with contemporary times–Ivy League MBAs have doors opened onto high-flying Wall Street careers and despite plushest surroundings, every opportunity, and enormous salaries–utterly lose their souls while helping to destroy the world economy and the fabric of this country. So, no, I do not think times play the crucial role in personal transformation.

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Jacque June 2, 2010 at 4:45 am

Hooray Philly!!! South street has a ton of neat shops and small art galleries. Enjoy the city!

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Kate June 1, 2010 at 7:51 am

I agree, Erin. I think Antonia certainly has a leading role in the book, but it is not all about her. If anything, this is more the story of Jim’s life than Antonia’s.

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Kate June 1, 2010 at 7:57 am

I agree, Erin. I think Antonia certainly has a leading role in the book, but it is not all about her. If anything, this is more the story of Jim’s life than Antonia’s.

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Kate June 1, 2010 at 7:56 am

Oops, put this in the wrong spot. Sorry!

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Rachel June 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I was also wondering about Jim’s reasons for moving with his grandparents. I can’t remember reading whether his parents died or not??

Reply

Leave a Comment

Book Nerd Club Discussion #1

by jenna on June 1, 2010

Hello!

I hope you all know what today is………it’s reading day!

n58650.jpg
If you are just reading this blog for the first time, this isn’t something that is a usual occurrence. Usually, I vent eloquently about oatmeal, hummus and salmon and leave it at that. However, last month I was reminiscing about all the good times spent in my senior year English Literature class and realized that there might be a few other crazy obsessed readers like myself out there as well, who also need a support group for their reading addiction. Thus, the ELR Book Nerd Club was born.
I gave a short list of my picks for a revised summer reading list and asked anyone who wanted to read along then discuss to join on in. Us English majors need fellowship, right? Since this is the very first time I’m doing this I don’t know what I’m doing (do I ever?) but I thought I would post a few questions here and anyone who wanted to join in and discuss in the comment section could. IT’S GOING TO BE FUN!!! Gold stars for all!!!
So here we go:
1. Do you think My Antonia is a book about Antonia? Who do you think the book is really about?

2. How do you think hardships change a person? For example, Antonia changed dramatically after her father died….what are, if any, the differences between how hardship changed a person then versus present day?
I’m hesitant to ask more than two questions because things could get crazy and confusing. Thoughts?
***
Today is my first day of work (training) so I’ll be gone all day. Just woke up at 5:30 and headed to the gym for another Summer Shape Up workout and I’m about to make some breakfast, shower and hit the road.
Related Posts with Thumbnails


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather (Heather's Dish) June 1, 2010 at 7:19 am

oh, i’m so lame and haven’t started reading yet…i can’t wait to read the discussion though!

Reply

Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 1, 2010 at 7:22 am

:( I haven’t had time to do any reading yet! Darn exams (which finish tomorrow, YAY!!) – I hope I can do the next one though. I can’t wait to see what everyone says :)

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Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin June 1, 2010 at 7:22 am

I haven’t picked up the book yet but plan to! I just finished the book I was reading on Friday and am looking for a new book, so this is perfect timing!

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theemptynutjar June 1, 2010 at 7:27 am

I haven’t read that one actually. But I just finished “I know this much is true” by Wally Lamb and it was amazing.

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Erin June 1, 2010 at 7:31 am

I think the book is more about a community of people and not just Antonia. Through her, readers interact with unfamiliar people and places and learn new ideas at the same time she does. She’s really the surrogate for the reader in this book world.

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Cristal June 1, 2010 at 7:51 am

I was a little surprised by this book. I thought it would be more about her life and we would learn more about her, but I feel like it’s a story more about Jim Burden, at this point. I agree with Erin that is does seem more about the community at this time.
I think after Antonia’s father passed away, she didn’t want to take on the traditional role of the female. She dealt with her grief by trying to be equal to the men of that time. She threw herself into work and wanted to be seen as a hard worker. I think some people today still deal with hardship in the same way. They might throw themselves into work to try and deal with whatever hardship they have faced. Hardships disrupt our “normal” routine and make us examine our choices and the life that we were previously living.

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Kate June 1, 2010 at 7:54 am

I absolutely think hardships change a person. As evidenced in My Antonia, if Antonia’s father hadn’t died her life would have been much, much different. She would never have worked in the fields, she would never have become a hired girl. Also, her “rough” ways would not hae made her the kind of successful farming woman she became. And who knows — if she hadn’t had Mrs. Harling and the other town ladies to learn from (and Jim’s grandmother, too), she probably would not have become such a caring and nurturing mother. The beginning of the book is a little fuzzy for me, but didn’t Jim’s own parents die, which was the catalyst for him living with his grandparents, and thus meeting Antonia?

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Beth @ DiningAndDishing June 1, 2010 at 8:17 am

Best of luck with your training Jenna! Sounds like another awesome job :)

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Monique June 1, 2010 at 8:26 am

My friends and I pick a book every month and then blog about it on the 1st as well :) this month was Atonement… however, I may be a day or two late on blogging about mine (oops, might not have finished yet haha) ;)

I think it’s so fun to talk about books and read! Great idea.

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Jennu June 1, 2010 at 9:25 am

I think the book is more about Jim in relation to Antonia, and I love the fact you’re doing a book review on your blog:)

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rachel June 1, 2010 at 9:29 am

I haven’t been following you long and really just got into reading and writing blogs. So far, I really enjoy reading your blog. I have one quick question. If you have 4 egg whites, what do you do with the egg yolk? Or do you use the egg whites in the container?

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Katherine June 1, 2010 at 10:31 am

this reminds me of a book “everything on a waffle” (your pic not the book review). it’s a child’s book but it is about a restaurant where everything is put on a waffle to eat. wouldn’t it be great if it was true?

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Paige (running around normal) June 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Can’t wait to join in on the next one. May just have to read this one and come back to the comments as well :)

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Kathryn June 1, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I agree with the other comments that this book was definitely more about Jim than Antonia. Through his account of her, we actually learn more about Jim’s life — his inner thoughts and dreams, his interaction with the land, his relationship to his grandparents, etc. I also like what Erin said about Antonia being a surrogate into a whole community of new people and places.

I enjoyed this book, but can’t say it will be on my Top 10 list. Thanks though, Jenna, for inspiring me to finally pull it off my bookshelf and actually read it!

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Rachel June 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I agree with others that the book is more about Jim, and I also think it’s about how Jim’s life is shaped so much by his relations with Antonia. I think this is really evident in the final section of the book, “Cuzak’s Boys”, which was my favorite part I think! I agree with #4, jennifer, though, that I wish there was more about Antonia–her character intrigued me and I would have liked to have read more about her.
I definitely think her father’s death changed her, I mean, she really hardened herself afterwards by throwing herself into the farmlife and “toughening up”. Near the end of the book she sounds like she really credits everything she learned/knows in life to her father.
Overall, I thought this was a great book! Definitely reminded me of LHOTP which I loved so much when I was younger!

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Jenny June 2, 2010 at 7:21 am

I haven’t touched this book SINCE high school AP English (though you’re making me regret that decision…plus, Cather’s name came up more than a number of times on the Lit GRE), so I’m not really equipped to participate in the discussion. But, as a longtime reader of your blog, I think any engagement with literature on a foodie forum is great. So many food bloggers are English majors at heart–which is interesting in itself–so that “other” obsession might as well be encouraged ;) Awesome!

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