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Chapter 34 - Beautiful Exiles

A few weeks back I told you how I was going to spend my birthday - reading at the beach, of course. Well the weather didn't entirely cooperate and a beach day with scattered thunderstorms was not exactly perfect. But a rainy weekend or day means I get to read a little bit more.

I chose Love and Ruin by Paula McLain. This is the novelized story of Martha Gellhorn, a renown journalist and Ernest Hemingway, the great writer. As I read the book I had to keep retreating to the internet to see what parts of the story actually happened. I am a big fact checker so I was happy that the events were accurate while the dialogue was perhaps not.

Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic, suggests that there are ideas floating around the universe just waiting for someone to pick them up. She might have something there as there have been two books published this year about Hemingway and Gellhorn: McLain's and Beautiful Exiles by Meg Clayton White. I guess I'll have to put this one on my list now along with a few of Martha Gellhorn's own books as well.

Then, I started thinking about how many books I have read either by Hemingway or about his life. There have been quite a few. So if you want to read the prose of a master or the story of a tortured genius you might consider these books below.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain - This is the story of Hem's first wife Hadley Richardson. It is a pretty faithful account from what I can determine. The book is well written and a good account of Hemingway's rookie years as a journalist and writer.

Everybody Behaves Badly by Leslie M. M. Blume - No, it's not a typo, that is actually the author's name. Blume's biography is about the writing of The Sun Also Rises ​and Hemingway's time in Pamplano. An eye opening account of Hemingway and the Lost Generation to which he belonged.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway - If you are going to read about Hemingway's time in Paris, you have to read the story that came out of that time period. This is the book that launched Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of his time and was instrumental in the breakup of his first marriage.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway - Hemingway's style is crisp and sparse but has more impact in its descriptions than many more flowery authors. This novel of love during wartime is beautiful and terrible, really typical Hemingway.

Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg - The book is the biography of the man who brought F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe (among others) to the literary world. He is best known for his work with these three writers but is responsible for many more than that including a Pulitzer prize winner Marjorie Rawlings for The Yearling.

Have you read any of Ernest Hemingway's books? Let me know your favorite.

To order these or other books go to

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