Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: O Pioneers!

"One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away."

-- O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

That is a terrific opening sentence. And it took me immediately back to my childhood in Waterloo, a little town anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, where I spent every January trying not to be blown away.

This novel is on the Radcliffe list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century -- the rival to the Modern Library's list.  Finishing the Modern Library list inspired me to start this blog. Now I am inspired to get the Radcliffe list finished once and for all.


  1. I haven't really taken a look at the Radcliffe list. Are the lists very different? I'll have to check that out.

  2. SocrMom -- There is a lot of overlap between the lists, but I've never gone through and calculated how many.

  3. I'm imagining little bent over houses, tilted against the wind. Diagonal families stand outside their doors.

    This is a funny image. What a great opening.

  4. Biblibio -- Diagonal is about right. That prairie wind is something!

  5. That is a great first line! I love O Pioneers. I am a HUGE nerd when it comes to Willa Cather. She was so amazing. I love how she wrote such detailed and beautiful descriptions of things, but never at the expense of character development.


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