In high school we were assigned one of his books – Farewell to Arms, I believe, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it, as I didn’t actually read it. I did that a lot. I have a serious problem with not reading things when I’m told to, but reading a great deal when it’s of my own accord. This continued through college: even when I really respected the professors, I just couldn’t motivate myself to read something that came with a deadline.
I went to the Franklin public library Wednesday, and tried to take out an English translation of Spiral by Suzuki Koji, but it’s not due out until May, so that didn’t go too well. I also tried to take out Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, but that was thoroughly back ordered, so I browsed the new releases section instead.
The Franklin public library’s new releases section is not very accurately named; the books tend to stay there for a long, long time. Harry Potter’s still in there. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, one year’s not that out of date, but I’m referring to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, not either of the more recent novels.
I ended up picking up Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes – displayed in honor of St. Patrick’s Day – and, whimsically, Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms. (Both were New Releases. See what I mean?) I blame my recent visit to Ernest’s house in Key West for triggering this particular urge.
In any case, I’m about halfway through it, and it’s really an interesting read. Hemingway has his own style – that’s no startling insight – but he also has a real knack for making people seem real, and worthy of our sentiments. I’ve seen plenty of excruciatingly violent war films, but none of them have made me choke up the way this book has.
Maybe it’s just the Scotch talking, but I like what I’ve read so far. I wonder if I’d like all of those other novels I couldn’t stomach in high school, as well? I gave Jane Eyre a try a few years back, and was disturbed to discover just how good a story it was. Maybe I’ll give Steinbeck another try one of these days.
Maybe. The Grapes of Wrath is awfully long.