Monday, February 18, 2013

The Willa Cather Project Update.

Back near the beginning of January, I launched The Willa Cather Project. The goal of the project is to read through Cather's complete works in chronological order (with the exception of My Antonia, which I read right before starting the project) in however long it takes me. I made a big list, a dedicated page, and have been steadily working forward ever since.

To be honest, I didn't think I was going to be as sucked in to the project as I have been. I'm flying through Cather's works, and if I continue at the rate I'm reading, I'll finish her complete works by the end of the summer (I know, right?). In any case, I thought that now would be a good time to check in and let you know how I'm doing...and also inspire you to take on a project of your own.

To date, I have completed the following of Cather's works:

  • April Twilights (poetry) 1903: Finished on January 15, 2013
  • The Troll Garden (short stories) 1905: Finished on January 27, 2013
    • "Flavia and Her Artists"
    • "The Sculptor's Funeral"
    • "A Death in the Desert"
    • "The Garden Lodge"
    • "The Marriage of Phaedra"
    • "A Wagner Matinee"
    • "Paul's Case" 
  • Alexander's Bridge (novel) 1912: Finished on February 2, 2013
  • O Pioneers! (novel) 1913: Finished on February 17, 2013
  • IN PROGRESS: The Song of the Lark (novel) 1915
  • My Antonia (novel) 1918: Finished on January 6, 2013
I would say that I am making steady progress, wouldn't you? I've found that I really love the idea of reading through Cather's works in is so nice to see her grow as a writer, become more confident in her voice and style, and the stories...they just get better. I'm still in the middle of her earlier work and the focus right now is on her "prairie" series. I started The Song of the Lark last night, and I am already hooked.

I'm mainly just amazed at how I feel about taking this project on. I feel a big sense of accomplishment, especially since I am making steady progress, and I am still motivated. I've already planned out a couple more complete works projects for the future. :)

I've also decided that I want to finish by the end of 2013 so I can begin a new project with the new year. We'll see if I can make it.

If you've taken on a similar project, how have you fared? Have I encouraged you to start your own project? Let me know!


  1. I've enjoyed watching you tear through her books! My Willa Cather project is being taken at a much more leisurely pace...mostly because I don't want it to end. I don't like reaching the point where there is nothing new to read by an author I love! I've enjoyed everything by Cather so far, and have The Professor's House up next.

  2. A great project! Good luck with it! I just traveled to Santa Fe and was reminded of how much I used to love Cather. Maybe I will reread one myself. Not the entire oeuvre, mind you, but one. Or two. :)

  3. Go you! I would love to do something like this. I think I'd pick a more contemporary author whose work I've already collected -- like Paul Auster!

  4. This is a great idea! I read my first Cather, O Pioneers!, last month and loved it so much. I definitely want to read more of her work, and this seems like a great way to tackle it; I love the idea of seeing an author's progression. I should really try a "complete works" challenge, for Cather or a different author I want to read more of. It's kind of a daunting task, though, with authors that have such a large body of work!

  5. Oh wow, you really are flying. I didn't expect that anyone working on one of these projects was going to go so fast! I'm really tempted (even know who I would read), but at the moment I'm having too much fun reading by whim. I may save the idea for down the road, though. Enjoy!