Behind The Butter

Book Nerd Club Discussion #1


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

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.

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  • 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!

  • 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 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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:)

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!