Last Christmas, my best friend gave me copy of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. He told me he thought that I would really enjoy it. Then one semester into law school, I hadn’t read anything for my own enjoyment in months. I hadn’t read fiction for my own enjoyment in years. Unfamiliar with Hemingway’s writing and not knowing what to expect, I paged through the first few chapters. What I found surprised me.In such sparse prose I was transported to the beaches of Havana. How did this author say so much in so few words? I felt as if I was in the boat with Santiago. I felt the highs and the lows of his epic struggle. It was a quick read at only 128 pages. It left me wanting more.
I have since taken up a fascination with “Papa.” My wife and I spent our honeymoon this summer in Key West, Florida. Aside from profound pleasure of being in a beautiful place with the love of my life, I found extra enjoyment in the trip as a new Hemingway fan. We visited the same bars where Hemingway was once a regular and I ordered my daiquiris as he would have (half the sugar, double the rum). We sailed the same waters as Hemingway sailed on his boat, Pilar. I imagined as we walked along Duval Street what the place must have looked like in Hemingway’s time.
I made a goal for myself to read all of Hemingway’s novels before I finished law school. As of writing this, I had completed two of eight.
June 23, 2019 Update: I didn’t finish before graduation but that’s okay.
The Sun Also Rises
A Farewell to Arms
To Have and Have Not
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Across the River and into the Trees
The Old Man and the Sea
Islands in the Stream
The Garden of Eden
If you take anything away from this blog post, let it be to give your best friend a copy of your favorite book during the upcoming holiday season. It could change their life.