Hanging Out with Thoreau and Hemingway

I like to have a little light summer reading on hand, nothing terribly controversial or heavy, so I picked up a copy of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.

Boy, that Hank can drone on, can’t he?  He’s been going on and on about how little it cost him to build that damn shack in the woods, all the while trying to convince me that the slop he was eating was perfectly satisfactory to him.  My bet is he was dying for a good steak.  I do appreciate his professed love of simplicity, though.  It got me to thinking about my own situation.  I’ve often grumbled about my tiny house in a not-very-good neighborhood.  Hank has brought my ungrateful attitude to my attention, for which I owe the Almighty a lavish apology.  He did make an interesting observation about writing:

“For a long time I was reporter to a journal, of no very wide circulation, whose editor has never yet seen fit to print the bulk of my contributions, and, as is too common with writers, I got only my labor for my pains.  However, in this case my pains were their own reward.”

I can relate, Hank.

Then there’s Hemingway.  I’m sort of giving Mr. Hemingway a second chance here. I remember reading The Old Man and the Sea in high school.  Unfortunately, high school English literature teachers have a nasty habit of ruining great books.  By the time he got done explaining all the symbolism that was going on, I had no idea what the story was about.  To this day, I can’t remember.  I honestly have to wonder if Hemingway had any idea his writing was so rife with symbols that it would have to be explained ad nauseum to a group of very bored teenagers.  Anyway, it turned me off Hemingway in a hurry.  I recently read an excerpt from A Moveable Feast and decided to give the guy another go, glancing over my shoulder periodically to make sure there isn’t a high school English lit teacher lurking nearby.  So far, I find myself liking the guy.

Summer reading in hand, I plan to make the upcoming holiday weekend one about reading new ideas and writing (hopefully) great stuff.


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