Book Club Picks: O Pioneers!

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I was catching up. ¬†I am only one behind now. ūüôā

Yay!

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. The next one was my turn and I picked one of my favorites:

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

This won’t be a long post as I talked about it two years ago during my 30-day book challenge (which I never finished. Oops!)

Oh, well

I love this book so much. I’m not sure what else I could add. The other day I did a post on how sad it is that Jane Austen’s¬†Northanger Abbey is so ignored when it is such a good book-and I feel the same way about this one. This is such an amazing novel! But is so ignored by people, why?

Why? Why do they treat you this way?

So the book is just under 200 pages and divided into five parts. The first part talks of the Swedish immigrants, the Bergsons, who moved to Nebraska for a better life. They find it not as they hope and after many struggles finally seem to be eking out a living. But then! The patriarch of the family, John,  is dying and decides to leave the control of everything to his daughter Alexandra.

What?

Yes, he doesn’t care about anything but what is good for the family. And he knows the only one who will keep things going right is Alexandra and she should be in charge, even though she is female.

“It was Alexandra who read the papers and followed the markets, and who learned by the mistakes of their neighbors. It was Alexandra who could always tell about what it cost to fatten each steer, and who could guess the weight of a hog before it went on the scales closer than John Bergson himself. Lou and Oscar were industrious, but he could never teach them to use their heads about their work.” pg. 15

While everything prospers for them, others aren’t doing well and selling the land to move on to “greener pastures.” One of which is the man Alexandra is in love with. He knows he isn’t a farmer and doesn’t want to use her, but wants to be her equal.

“I’ll write as long as I live…And I’ll be working for you as much as for myself, Alexandra. I want to do something you’ll like and be proud of. I’m a fool here, but I know I can do something!” pg. 34

It is so sad as you want them to be together!

It doesn’t matter to Alexandra, she doesn’t care! She loves him and wants to spend her life with him whether he has everything or nothing.

I talk about this all the time that husband calls it “the book you love”. He’ll say “I know, its like the book you love” or “you are like that girl in the book you love”, or “it’s like that book you love” etc.

Or years.

Poor Alexandra

[To Carl’s retreating form]¬†Since you have been here, ten years now, I have never really been lonely.” pg 35

The second section of the novel it has been sixteen years since the death of John Bergson, now being 1899. In the years that have passed much has changed. The Bergsons have thrived under Alexandra’s leadership and are very wealthy. In fact Alexandra was able to send her youngest brother, Emil off to college.

Wow

Poor Alexandra is alone still pining for her love. He comes back for a visit but still has nothing so he feels he can’t marry her.

Noooo!

I think Carl and Alexandra are just the cutest couple. Carl is so sweet to her and pretty much understands her (except for the having to prove himself thing because she does not care) and doesn’t find any measure of her odd or not right.

“I wonder whether¬†I should ever be able to tell you all that I was thinking up there. It’s a strange thing, Alexandra; I find it easy to be frank with you about everything under the sun-except yourself!’

‘You are afraid of hurting my feelings, perhaps.’ Alexandra looked at him thoughtfully.

‘No, I’m afraid it would give you a shock. You’ve seen yourself for so long in the dull minds of the people around you, that if I were to tell you how you seem to me, it would startle you. But you must see that you astonish me.” pg. 83

Why can’t you stay Carl?!!! Why leave her alone?!!

“What a hopeless position you are in, Alexandra!’ [Carl] exclaimed feverishly. ‘It is your fate to be always surrounded by little men. And I am no better than the rest. I am too little to face the criticism of even such men as Lou and Oscar. Yes, I am going away; to-morrow. I cannot even ask you to give me a promise until I have something to offer you. I thought, perhaps, I could do that; but I find I can’t.’

‘What good comes of offering people things they don’t need?’ Alexandra asked sadly. ‘I don’t need money. But I have needed you for a great many years. I wonder why I have been permitted to prosper, if only to take my friends away from me.

‘I don’t deceive myself,’ Carl said frankly. ‘I know that I am going away on my own account. I must make the usual effort. I must have something to show for myself. To take what you would give me, I should have to be a very large man or a very small one, and I am only in the middle class.’

Alexandra sighed. ‘I have a feeling that if you go away, you will not come back. Something will happen to one of us, or to both. People have to snatch at happiness when they can in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find.” pg. 114-115

Emil ends up going to Mexico. He loves their neighbor, Marie, but she is already married and he wants to stay away. Him leaving makes Alexandra more alone than ever-she has no one.

 

The rest of the book is just as good and sad. You need to read it for yourself. You’ll love it just like my book club did.

Alexandra is the best character. She has extreme intelligence but also enjoys doing housework, baking, and as beautiful as she is brainy. She kind, caring, compassionate, and doesn’t live her life following the rules and dictates of other people.

“Don’t come to me again telling me what people say. Let people go on talking as they like, and we will go on living as we think best. ” pg. 60

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: This Present Darkness

For more on O Pioneers, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

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The Hunger Games: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

So the 1971 film,¬†Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory¬†is based on the beloved children’s novel¬†Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.¬†Thew story is of a young, poor, low-income, starving, boy who is chosen to compete against four other children to not only win enough chocolate and candy for their lifetime, but also a grand, secret prize.¬†¬†Very Interesting, I know, but you are probably wondering what does that have to do with The Hunger Games? A young girl from a starving district competing to the death against 23 others to win food for her family and community?

This:

1stHungerGames

Now it is not exactly like The Hunger Games, Willy Wonka is a nice guy who really wants to help people, Charlie is the only poor, suffering guy, and you hate everyone else as they are whiny brats. But, there are some similarities. So now presenting the Hunger Games: The Chocolate Factory!

And it's going to be fabulous!

And it’s going to be fabulous!

So what’s different for this version is that we will have one tribute, from only five districts, all competing to survive Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. All who survive win chocolate, the ultimate winner gets the factory themselves, food and money for their families. Let the games begin!!!

District 1

District 1’s industry is making luxury items for the Capitol. It is considered to be the wealthiest district, the only other wealthier area being the Capitol itself.

Now presenting our tribute for district one

verucasalt-cashmere

Veruca Salt

Strengths:

  • Loud voice that causes immense pain
  • Very good at manipulating people and getting what she wants
  • Has people to do hard things for her
  • Doesn’t take no for an answer
  • Can cry on command
  • Isn’t afraid to lie or crush others to get what she wants
  • Questions everything

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Won’t take no for an answer to the point where she knocks herself out
  • Whines all the time

Can Be Defeated:

  • By a kick in the pants
  • Saying NO! and meaning it
  • Boat Rides
  • Seasickness
  • Geese (Especially those who are golden)

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 3

District 3’s primary industry is general electronics of many types, though it is known for also making various mechanical products such as automobiles and firearms. These tributes are always skilled with electronics.

Now presenting our tribute for district three

MikeTeeveebeetee

Mike Teevee

Strengths:

  • Knows every TV show that has a gun in it (huge pop culture junkie)
  • Can use knowledge gained from TV in real life
  • Can sit still for hours
  • Questions everything
  • Can shoot a fake gun
  • Doesn’t scare or get grossed out easily
  • Willing to try new things
  • Eager volunteer

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Can’t be away from the TV
  • Will try to shoot anything and everything
  • Missing front teeth
  • Can’t read
  • Sometimes overeagerness to try new things leaves him in bad situations
  • Doesn’t listen to rules

Can Be Defeated:

  • Bubble Foam
  • Saying NO! and meaning it
  • Books
  • By shrinking him

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 6

District 6’s industry is transportation

Now presenting our tribute for district six

District_6_Female_VioltB

Violet Beauragarde

Strengths:

  • Chewing gum champ
  • Can chew and talk
  • Rather chew than eat
  • Fast talker
  • Likes to save things
  • Will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means losing friends
  • Bossy
  • Head-strong and Obstinate
  • Does whatever she wants
  • Can wheel and deal like no other
  • Delights in pain of others

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Hard to understand through constant chewing
  • A braggart
  • Doesn’t listen to “no”
  • Does whatever she wants
  • Picks her nose

Can Be Defeated:

  • Blueberries
  • The color blue or purple
  • Throwing away her three-month old gum
  • By rolling her

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 9

District 9’s industry is grain. Little is known about this district, just that there are lots of farmland for grain.

Now presenting our tribute for district nine

AugGloopDistrict_9_Male

Augustus Gloop

Strengths:

  • Can eat ANYTHING
  • Never stops eating
  • Is one huge mass that won’t easily be pushed around
  • Fast runner when it comes to food
  • Likes to be first in everything

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Has no patience
  • No self-control
  • Is always hungry
  • Can’t swim
  • Doesn’t like small spaces
  • Doesn’t listen

Can Be Defeated:

  • By not giving him food and having him starve
  • Drowning in water or chocolate
  • Sticking him in ¬†tight spot, such as a pipe
  • Let him go first so he can face things and die

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 12

District 12’s industry is coal. This district is one of the poorest districts. The district has not had a winner of the Hunger Games emerge from the ranks of its residents for over twenty-four years.

Now presenting our tribute for district twelve

Peeta-Mellark-charliebucket

Charlie Bucket

Strengths:

  • Has a heart of gold
  • Cares for others
  • Would never steal from someone
  • Always tries to help others out
  • Thinks first of others needs
  • Hard worker
  • Knows how to make things last
  • Can get by on little food
  • Trustworthy
  • Listens to directions

Weaknesses:

  • Is an enabler
  • Has a passion for fizzy-lifting drinks
  • Easily lead astray
  • Gulps food too fast

Can Be Defeated:

  • Fans

LET THE GAME BEGIN

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MAY THE ODDS EVER BE IN YOUR FAVOR!

If you liked this post, check out Sucky Sequels