Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, February 15, 2016

Announcing my Year with Hemingway

It's funny how things turn out; originally, my year long blog project was going to be face-offs between books with similar themes(aka Book Bouts) but in the very first match-up, I still haven't finished the second book. I'll probably complete The Novel(yes, that's the actual title) at some point but even in short form, James Michener is rather slow going.

However, one of my general goals this year was to try some Ernest Hemingway and during the Winter's Respite readathon, I did just that, completing The Sun Also Rises with enough time to tackle another book before time was up. Since that went well, I figure why stop there?

So, my new yearly blog project is My Year with Hemingway, in which I will take on some more of the big man's works, plus a few additional choices that should fit in with the theme nicely.

I'm considering my Winter's Respite review of TSAR as the starting point and my next selection is The Old Man and The Sea, which will be read along side the nonfiction memoir The Hemingway Club of Kosovo by Paula Huntley that highlights TOMATS quite a bit.

I know the basic set-up of the bare bones plot, a lengthy battle of wills between aging fisherman Santiago and the huge marlin that he manages to catch after a long dry spell. However, there is much more to this tale than the seemingly simple man vs. nature challenge and I look forward to learning all about it:

Other titles from Hemingway that are on my list include his short stories(The Snows of Kilimanjaro and In Our Time) one of his memoirs( A Movable Feast) and two more of his major novels, For Whom The Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms.

Out of all his writings about wartime, A Farewell to Arms seems to be the one that many people consider his most autobiographical book. The story of ambulance driver Frederic Henry and nurse Catherine Barkley has strong resonance due to Hemingway's own experiences during WWI and also on a romance that didn't work out for him.

An air of dark romanticism surrounds the book,which should be interesting to explore and separating the true facts of Hemingway's time in Italy from the fictional version he gave the world promises to be quite a game of cards there:

Since Paula McLain's The Paris Wife got me started on this Hemingway kick, I will be including a pair of novels that also focus on him through the women in his life. It's interesting that women authors seem to be the ones who are intrigued enough by Hemingway to examine him through fiction these days.

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood takes a gander at all four of his wives while Erika Robuck's Hemingway's Girl combines two possibly real life female figures into a fictional heroine. 19 year old  Mariella happens to run into Hemingway in Key West, where a desperate bet on a boxing match leads to an unlikely friendship.

Mariella becomes even more part of his life when his current wife Pauline hires her as their housemaid.  As she tries not to get too involved with the troubles of the Hemingway household, a romance with Gavin, WWI veteran working on the Overseas Highway, is severely dividing her loyalties. I read Robuck's The House of Hawthorne last year and that was a pretty engaging book so my hopes are high for this one:

I might throw in some movie watching, as most of these books have been adapted for film and there is even one about Hemingway's real life love story that helped to inspire A Farewell to Arms called In Love and War. Not sure how believable Chris O'Donnell is as a young Hemingway but if I can find on Netflix, it should be worth a shot.

Hemingway was never assigned to me at school and I have read a bit about him in the past, when I had a major jones for learning more about Sylvia Beach, who founded the original Shakespeare & Company book store in Paris. He was one of her patrons and even helped her out during the aftermath of WWII.

Mainly, I have had a small interest at best in writers during that whole Lost Generation period, so I never bothered to know more than I needed to before about Hemingway. Yet, as you get older, your world view hopefully expands and it's never too late to catch up on the classics. With my Year with Hemingway, I hope to know more about and perhaps appreciate better his literary legacy:

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