24 November 2011

BTT: Thankful


This week's Booking Through Thursday:

What book or author are you most thankful to have discovered?
Have you read everything they’ve written? Reread them?
Why do you appreciate them so much?
The answer is unquestionably Ernest Hemingway.  While I read a few short stories during high school, it was in college that I first really began appreciating his work.  For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea, A Moveable Feast, "Big Two-Hearted River," "A Clean Well-Lighted Place," "Hills Like White Elephants," "The Undefeated," "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" are among the best he wrote and part of my first voracious charge into his writings, followed by lesser-known material and the clunky bits of poorly-written nonsense (Torrents of Spring, Across the River and Through the Trees, Islands in the Stream, "A Very Short Story," "Soldier's Home").  It was a revelation, and his writing still seems to be almost magical.  It's perfectly written and clear, bright threads of silver with every ounce of dross melted out by Hemingway's relentless editing.  On a simple surface reading, it's marvelous, but it also offers great depth and hidden design.  Without stretching into inanity or spinning theory, you can unpack an enormous amount from between the lines, unfolding naturally like the uncurling of a leaf.

I have read virtually everything Hemingway ever wrote, and most of his work I have read at least twice.  I have read my favorites a dozen times or more.  It's the power of his iceberg approach to writing, where he cut and cut until only the stark necessaries remained.  As he described it:

If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.
It makes me want to pick up The First Forty-Nine Stories right now.


  1. I haven't read Hemingway but I keep meaning to. Your post has inspired me to give his work a try.

  2. I've never read any Hemmingway - I really should remedy that!
    Here’s my Booking Through Thursday post. :)

  3. Like the others, I haven't read any Hemingway but he is on my authors to try list!

    My BTT is here if you'd like a look :)

  4. I have not read Hemingway either, but based on how much you like him, maybe I should! :)

    Here's my BTT: http://palmtreesbarefeet.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/booking-through-thursday-thankful/

  5. I read A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls years ago...and loved them. Recently, I read and enjoyed A Moveable Feast.

    Kudos to Hemingway!

    Here's MY BTT POST and

  6. I've read some but no nearly all of Hemingway's works. I love what I've read though to I can understand and appreciate your author choice!
    Great author!!

    Here's my Booking Through Thursday ~ House Millar series