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My Antonia (Penguin Drop Caps) Hardcover – December 12, 2012
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Winner of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books
Winner of the 2014 Type Directors Club Communication Design Award
Praise for Penguin Drop Caps:
"[Penguin Drop Caps] convey a sense of nostalgia for the tactility and aesthetic power of a physical book and for a centuries-old tradition of beautiful lettering."
“Vibrant, minimalist new typographic covers…. Bonus points for the heartening gender balance of the initial selections.”
—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
"The Penguin Drop Caps series is a great example of the power of design. Why buy these particular classics when there are less expensive, even free editions of Great Expectations? Because they’re beautiful objects. Paul Buckley and Jessica Hische’s fresh approach to the literary classics reduces the design down to typography and color. Each cover is foil-stamped with a cleverly illustrated letterform that reveals an element of the story. Jane Austen’s A (Pride and Prejudice) is formed by opulent peacock feathers and Charlotte Bronte’s B (Jane Eyre) is surrounded by flames. The complete set forms a rainbow spectrum prettier than anything else on your bookshelf."
—Rex Bonomelli, The New York Times
"Classic reads in stunning covers—your book club will be dying."
About the Author
Willa Cather (1873–1947) was raised on a Nebraska ranch and became the managing editor for McClure’s Magazine. In 1922 she won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel One of Ours.
Jessica Hische is a letterer, an illustrator, a typographer, and a web designer. She currently serves on the Type Directors Club board of directors, has been named a Forbes magazine “30 under 30” in art and design. She lives in San Francisco, California, and Brooklyn, New York.
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For Cather, who lived in Nebraska, life on the plains, seen through Jim and Antonia and their families, offers freedom and independence--the kind of sturdy self-reliance that enables children to build strong characters. Though her portrait of life on the farm is sometimes romantic (as seen, for example, with Jim's first Christmas celebration during a snowstorm when everyone is housebound), life is also full of danger and uncertainty, a price farmers are willing to pay to live close to the land and away from cities. Eventually, both Jim and Antonia leave the farm for better opportunities, she to work in Black Hawk, and Jim to attend Harvard. Their paths diverge and do not reconnect for twenty years.
Antonia, as Jim lovingly portrays her, is a character who throws herself into whatever she is doing, whether it is plowing or learning to cook. Her joyful embrace of whatever life offers is a testament to her spirit, which we see as characteristic of the strong, independent prairie women she represents. Jim, on the other hand, though professionally successful, is far more constrained, a man whose character may have been formed on the prairie but whose life has moved toward the hurly-burly of urban life. Antonia becomes Mother Nature or the Earth Mother, a woman surrounded by many children on the farm, while Jim, who works for the railroad and lives in the highly populated east, represents the growing industrialization of the country.
Throughout this warm and sensitive novel, Cather includes many symbols. When Jim, in the presence of Antonia, kills a gigantic snake, the Garden of Eden comes to mind. The seasons dominate the lives of the characters, and some of the saddest events occur in the depths of winter. Roads wind into and out of the farmland and are a sharp visual contrast to the railroad for which Jim eventually works. As Cather develops her characters and follows them for twenty-five years, the reader comes to know them and to understand their choices. A moving tribute to the pioneer spirit and to those, like Antonia, who helped settle the plains. Mary Whipple
The Professor's House (Vintage Classics)
Cather Novels & Stories 1905-1918: The Troll Garden, O Pioneers! The Song of the Lark, and My Antonia
Great Short Works of Willa Cather
Willa Cather: A Biography (Literary Greats)
O Pioneers! (Willa Cather Scholarly Edition)
In the story we learn of the difficulties the Shimerda's have, living in an area where almost no one speaks the language. The only person speaking a close resemblance of their language takes advantage of them.
Antonia is a teenager and yet seems to have the common sense that helps the family from many difficult situations. She and Jim build a relationship that lasts throughout the novel.
The elements that help classify this as a classic include the descriptions of life in rural Nebraska, the treatment that some immigrant farmers receive and the descriptions of the land, family relationships and how two teenagers can overcome obstacles and become lifelong friends.
This is my second reading of the book. The first reading was when I was a teenager, like the main characters. Reading it again as an adult was interesting and a nice experience.
First time we reviewed it no one spoke up. Under Johnston's prodding, no one remembered so called "key points" in it because its dense paragraphs rambled on about nothing FOREVER. It never went anywhere or made any sort of point about anything. Hell, I didn't even remember what happened two pages ago it was so boring. The only points where I was momentarily roused from my coma were during the wolf story and when Jim killed the snake.
The second review in O'Meara's class was actually fun because the entire class spent a full thirty minutes bashing it for many things, including having zero plot and for the narrator Jim being a pathetic, mopey loser that pined over Antonia but never did anything about it. This is the guy we're supposed to be rooting for? Gawd, Jim should have just killed himself and let someone more interesting take over the role of narrator.
Hopefully teachers will get the message and take this, the most boring book ever, off of the required reading list. It completely blows my mind how My Antonia could ever be considered a literary classic. After forcing myself through 150 grueling pages I gave up and threw this book into the fireplace where I happily watched it burn.
If you get assigned My Antonia you have my deepest condolences.
Most recent customer reviews
No free-bees. Do what you got to do. Keep your integrity. Don’t bitch and don’t blame the whole world for the “downs”.Read more