Hemingway at The Shire Book Shop

photo-34If you live in or travel to the Boston area you must visit The Shire Book Shop in Franklin, MA.  I have been meaning to get up route 495 to check out this old warehouse that has more than 200,000 volumes…and I’m so glad I got the chance yesterday. I ended up adding three new Hemingway additions to my growing collection.  After spending a few hours hanging out in this beautiful, eclectic old warehouse I decided on a 1949 copy of A Farewell to Arms (with an introduction by Robert Penn Warren) which is in mint condition. The second book was a first edition of Islands in the Stream (1970) again in very good condition and the third book was Death in the Afternoon (1955 copy). The owner of The Shire, Jack and colleague Jean, actually had a copy of this with a colored print at the front of the book that he was selling for $750.

This wonderful bookstore is located on 305 Union Street in Franklin, MA. Go for a visit, have a little cup of tea, grab a comfortable leather chair or couch and get lost for a few hours –  you won’t be disappointed. The Shire Book Shop website. Phone number: 508-528-5665. Open 7 days a week.


The Old Man and The Sea was Finished on this Day in 1951

The Old Man and the SeaErnest Hemingway finished his famous novella The Old Man and The Sea on this day back in 1951 and the book was published in 1952. It was first published in Life Magazine. Hemingway had not produced a major work in more than a decade and this would be his final work of fiction before his death less than ten years later. Hemingway won the 1954 Nobel prize in Literature for his work about Santiago and his epic battle with a Marlin on the 85th day of his voyage.

The Best Hemingway Lines

23721_3I came across a couple of book lists recently that includes best opening and closing lines of novels. I was curious where our favorite author came in at – so here they are: (if I missed any – please let me know – thanks).

The 100 Best First Lines

“The editors of American Book Review selected what they consider the most memorable first lines of novels. The titles on the list span centuries and genres and include classics and contemporary novels that are certain to become classics. Use this list to test your literary knowledge.”

48.  “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.”  -Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (1952).

75.  “In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.” -Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929).

The 100 Best Last Lines from A Novel

6. “Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” –Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926).

72. The old man was dreaming about the lions. –Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (1952).

Thesis on EH Across the River and Into the Trees

I added a new thesis involving Ernest Hemingway that I found today from Kathleen Robinson when she was a graduate student at the University of South Florida. Her Dissertation was titled Testimony of trauma: Ernest Hemingway’s narrative progression in Across the river and into the trees (dated: 2010).

Ms. Robinson’s abstract:

Specifically, the study of the progression focuses on examining Hemingway’s Across the River and into the Trees for evidence of traumas’ effects on Hemingway’s development of narrative structure. Throughout his career, Hemingway pinpoints the importance of witnessing and experiencing war on a writer. I endeavor to demonstrate—in detail, achieved by close reading, and with solid evidence—how the imbrication of trauma in Across the River and into the Trees represents a vital moment in Hemingway’s progression as a writer. My assertion, a new calculus of subjectivity and objectivity appearing in the narrative structure via the protagonist, viably counters previous critical dismissal of this text and offers new horizons for studies of form and content in Hemingway’s writing.

Hemingway on Book of the Century List

It may not surprise you that Ernest Hemingway made the book of the century list that I recently came across. It may not even surprise you that he made it more than once. This is a great website, called Books of the Century, that was developed by a research scholar from Columbia University by the name of Daniel Immerwahr.

I thought it was interesting to see not only Ernest Hemingway multiple times on the list but also many of his friends whose names you will recognize like Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 1925 listing. Hemingway first appears the next year with his Sun Also Rises.

I hope that you enjoy looking through the list…as I did!

For Whom The Bell Tolls is Published Today

Back in 1940 on this day (July 16th) Ernest Hemingway published his masterpiece, For Whom The Bell Tolls, a novel about wartime Spain. The book is dedicated to Hemingway’s third wife Martha Gellhorn and sold 500,000 copies during the first six months. His friend F. Scott Fitzgerald would die during this time. It had been more than a decade since A Farewell to Arms and then another decade would pass until he published another major work. What happened to Hemingway’s writing after FWTBT until 1950? How ironic was it that Fitzgerald’s last work (1939) was titled The Lost Decade. Below is a copy of my 1st edition picked up on the streets on New York.

Ever Wondered About Hemingway’s Longest Sentence?

From what I found (correct me if I’m wrong), the longest sentence Ernest Hemingway ever wrote consisted of 424 words in Green Hills of Africa (page 148):

“That something I cannot yet define completely but the feeling comes when you write well and truly of something and know impersonally you have written in that way and those who are paid to read it and report on it do not like the subject so they say it is all a fake, yet you know its value absolutely; or when you do something which people do not consider a serious occupation and yet you know truly, that it is as important and has always been as important as all the things that are in fashion, and when, on the sea, you are alone with it and know that this Gulf Stream you are living with, knowing, learning about, and loving, has moved, as it moves, since before man, and that it has gone by the shoreline of that long, beautiful, unhappy island since before Columbus sighted it and that the things you find out about it, and those that have always lived in it are permanent and of value because that stream will flow, as it has flowed, after the Indians, after the Spaniards, after the British, after the Americans and after all the Cubans and all the systems of governments, the richness, the poverty, the martyrdom, the sacrifice and the venality and the cruelty are all gone as the high-piled scow of garbage, bright-colored, white-flecked, ill-smelling, now tilted on its side, spills off its load into the blue water, turning it a pale green to a depth of four or five fathoms as the load spreads across the surface, the sinkable part going down and the flotsam of palm fronds, corks, bottles, and used electric light globes, seasoned with an occasional condom or a deep floating corset, the torn leaves of a student’s exercise book, a well-inflated dog, the occasional rat, the no-longer-distinguished cat; all this well shepherded by the boats of the garbage pickers who pluck their prizes with long poles, as interested, as intelligent, and as accurate as historians; they have the viewpoint; the stream, with no visible flow, takes five loads of this a day when things are going well in La Habana and in ten miles along the coast it is as clear and blue and unimpressed as it was ever before the tug hauled out the scow; and the palm fronds of our victories, the worn light bulbs of our discoveries and the empty condoms of our great loves float with no significance against one single, lasting thing—the stream.”