Books, Current Events, Lists

Hemingway’s Book Recommendations

Today’s post is a list of Hemingway’s book recommendations, based on lists Hemingway wrote – in articles, to others in letters/lists…

And the reason that Hemingway found his way into my blog today?

This coming week is a celebration of Ernest Hemingway (he was born on July 21, 1899).

July 21 through 26, 2020 are this year’s Hemingway Days to commemorate the author and his literary accomplishments in Key West, an island he called home for a part of his life.

Hemingway's Book Recommendations

Hemingway’s Book Recommendations

List One

The first list of books is from a article titled Remembering Shooting-Flying, dated Feb 1, 1935(for Esquire). As the title states, this article is about his memories of shooting from years ago, and he segues into books he “would rather read again for the first time,” and the books he mentions include

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Far Away and Long Ago
  • Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • A Sportsman’s Sketches by Ivan Turgenev
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Hail and Farewell  by George Moore
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
  • Queen Margot by Alexandre Dumas (La Reine Margot)
  • Maison Tellier by Guy de Maupassant(La Maison Tellier)
  • The Red and the Black by Stendhal (Le Rouge et le Noire)
  • The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal (La Chartreuse de Parme)
  • Dubliners by James Joyce
  • Yeats’s Autobiographies (which include Reveries over Childhood and Youth and The Trembling of the Veil)

He goes on to mention that “always, there are a few, a very few, good new ones” [books] and talks about the book titled Man’s Fate by André Malraux (original titled La Condition Humaine).

Hemingway gets back on topic for this article by talking about how “some of the best shooting I remember was in Tolstoi,” and continues on…

List Two

As I researched further into this, I read about Arnold Samuelson, a young 22 year old wannabe writer. Samuelson was so inspired after reading a story called One Trip Across in the Cosmopolitan that he traveled 2000 miles to meet its author, Ernest Hemingway.

During that first conversation, Hemingway wrote down a list of books he thought Samuelson “ought to read.” That list follows (and you will see overlap with the previous list):

  • The Blue Hotel by Stephen Crane
  • The Open Boat by Stephen Crane
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Dubliners by James Joyce
  • The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  • Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
  • Hail and Farewell by George Moore
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Oxford Book of English Verse
  • The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Far Away and Long Ago by W.H. Hudson
  • The American by Henry James

What I found remarkable about this story was that Hemingway had handed over a couple of books to Samuelson that day, asking him to return one of them (a copy of A Farewell to Arms) when he could. When Samuelson returned the next day to return it (having finished reading it while he slept in a jail cell), he found himself getting ready to accompany Hemingway for a year-long adventure as his assistant. Samuelson’s memoir about this time of his life was published posthumously as memoir, With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba.

Other Lists and Sources

Would You Rather

Today’s WYR

Would you rather… your favorite author read their next book to you OR dedicate it to you, where your name will forever be immortalized?

Maybe the first option..!

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of Hemingway’s recommendations? And what about books by Hemingway? What are your favorites among either of these two – Hemingway’s recommendations and Hemingway’s own books? Do let me know.

As for myself, I have read a few of his short stories (but never reviewed them here for some reason) and a couple of his novels (I think I read For Whom the Bells Toll and The Old Man and the Sea – but years, well decades ago, and will need to read them again).

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4 thoughts on “Hemingway’s Book Recommendations

  1. I am ashamed to admit that I have only finished a few of these and for classwork rather than pleasure… Wuthering Heights, Madame Bovary, and Huckleberry Finn. I started Tolstoy several times, but couldn’t stick with it, too disheartening.

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