July 21, 2019
Happy 120th birthday, Ernest Hemingway! Kind of crazy, right? Born in 1899 and dying at the age of 61 years old, Hemingway was one of America’s greatest novelists and short story writers. He led a very interesting life, not always as fetching as it appeared on the outside. Yes, his life was full of friends, romance, cocktails, and travel, but it was also loaded with war, accidents, major health problems, and let’s face it, drama. Though I am intrigued by his life story, I am not a Hemingway expert. I am just a girl who likes to read his books and learn a bit about the man behind the writing. Because of this, I am sharing today when my interest in Hemingway started and how it continues to grow each day. Of course, it wouldn’t be a great book blogging post if I didn’t recommend a book either, so get ready for a wonderful Hemingway novel to put on your TBR pile.
I will be honest with you, I grew up reading a lot like most of the book blogging community. However, growing up I was not that girl sitting at the library immersing herself in classical literature or the works of famous American writers. While some of my friends were drowning themselves in Fitzgerald, Wharton, and Vonnegut, I was voraciously devouring Danielle Steel, Dean Koontz, Jackie Collins and Stephen King while laying out in the sun smothered in baby oil! I read these books loud and I read them proud. I was a non stop reading machine with all of this fabulous fiction from my local library. These books were the perfect escape that did not require deep thinking or over analyzing. As the years went on, my reading naturally expanded and evolved. I began to require a bigger range of genres and writing styles to quench my reading desires.
It wasn’t really until a few years ago that I started to enjoy the works of Ernest Hemingway. On one of our family road trips, my husband recommended we listen to The Old Man and The Sea. This was my first time with this story. I remember sitting in the passenger seat completely mesmerized with what I was listening to. After that car ride, I began re-visiting some of Hemingway’s books that I had read eons ago (and certainly didn’t remember) and also read some new to me ones as well. I am s-l-o-w-l-y making my way through his novels, works of non-fiction and short stories. I am in no rush to complete all of his work by a certain time. Instead, I am absorbing his writing thoughtfully at my own pace with no deadline in site.
I will confess, I am a fast reader, but not with Hemingway. I read his writing unhurriedly and mindfully, often times re-reading sentences more than once. I am also not one to describe his work with a scholarly flare. That kind of analysis is simply not in my wheelhouse. My answer to why I like his writing is uncomplicated……… “I like his words”!!!!!! I adore reading or listening to his writing in the car, cozy by the fire, outside with nature and definitely with a glass of something wonderful to drink. To me his writing is something I can really meditate on and that I can sit with and savor. It is a true reading experience to cherish. There is a reason that there are t-shirts, mugs and signs with Hemingway quotes on them. His words stay with you. They are meant for the book lovers, thinkers and lovers of life to relish.
With all of that said, one of my favorite love stories was written by Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell To Arms was published in 1929 by Scribner Publishing. The story is narrated by Frederic Henry (Henry), an American who is volunteering for the Italian army during WWI as an ambulance driver. This story is as straight forward as they come. Henry’s roomate introduces him to Catharine Barkley, a British nurse who he soon falls in love with. This love of theirs is the good old fashion kind. A passionate kiss followed by time a part during the war strengthens their love for one another. Before you know it, they are reunited at an American hospital in Milan when Henry injures his leg. With a few blips in the road, Henry and Catharine leave behind the war for Switzerland in order to be free from all the nonsense. I will stop there with what happens next. This is definitely a book you need to experience as purely as possible. As simple as this story appears, its depths go deeper than one can imagine. Themes of love and war can really overtake a reader if they allow them to. There is much to reflect on when finishing this novel. When you are ready for it, A Farewell To Arms is a reading experience to treasure. Henry and Catherine will always make me swoon!!!!!
Until Next Time my Fabulous Readers!
P.S. Hemingway did not care for his name and preferred his peers to call him PaPa instead of Ernest. Happy Birthday PaPa!!!!!