Finding My Antonia

This morning I spotted a used copy of my Antonia in a used bookstore and picked it up for the daunting price of $0.25,   having previously enjoyed Cather’s works in O Pioneers! and Death Comes For the Archbishop.   Seeing it reminded me that I’d seen a news headline about the anniversary of the book’s publication, and I looked it  up.   Based on the description below, it sounds promising:

My Àntonia is an antidote for much that ails the exhausted West. How is it that with our enormous wealth and comfort we are still unhappy, witnessed by the rising drug and suicide problems?  Àntonia is not a self-creator, a cosmopolitan, a world-traveler, and she is quite poor.  She ages before her time, taking on a haggard look, missing some of her teeth.  But she is happy.  With Àntonia as a model we can see that loving the place you are is essential to happiness.  The vice of acedia is not just that of “sloth” as defined by laziness or lethargy, but that of being unable, in the words of Peter Lawler, to be at home with one’s homelessness.  It is a kind of restlessness that Tocqueville put at the heart of the American condition. Flannery O’Connor opined that it is better to be someplace rather than no place. Making the best of our locale, trying to improve it, truly loving it and the people who are our neighbors, makes for a more fulfilled, contented life than one of rootless ambition.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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5 Responses to Finding My Antonia

  1. Brian Joseph says:

    I love finding good deals on used books. I have not yet read Cather but I want to. I have heard that this book was well worth the read.

  2. Stephen says:

    The reviews I've looked at hail it as her masterpiece. We'll see, but I don't know when!

  3. Mudpuddle says:

    i haven't either… but soon, he said, wistfully…

  4. Marian H says:

    25c! Now that is a good used bookstore. This one has been on my radar for years, but I know very little about it. My mom and sister read it and liked it.

  5. Stephen says:

    It helps that the bookstore is just a room in a small public library — I think the intent is to clear space as quickly as possible, since they appear to get a lot of donations regularly. I always peek my head in whenever I'm in that area because I never know what will be found there. I've seen novels and science books that had JUST been released donated there. I usually read the books and donate them again my next trip.

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