THE YOUNG WOMAN AND HER BOOKS

I have always gone through spurts when it comes to reading, putting books away for months at a time and burning through a handful for many months more. After finally reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert earlier this year, my hungerlust for books was reignited, and I’ve decided that I will read a minimum of 10 books between now and December 31, 2009.

I found both Star and Star Struck by Pamela Anderson (no judgment) in the bargain bin and got through each in record time. You know how sinfully delightful it feels to peel through a tabloid? Yeah, they’re like that. Last weekend I grabbed Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange and The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Ever since reading A Farewell To Arms a decade ago, he has undoubtedly been my favourite author.

I cracked open The Old Man And The Sea tonight and found myself restlessly bursting with pleasure over what I read. Only 35 pages in, I know this old man. I can see him, I feel the rough fabric of his well-worn shirt, smell the faint sea salt on his sun-leathered skin and see the stories in his face. I have sat in the boat with him and understand what he thinks and what he feels and how his experiences have configured the man that is sitting in the tiny skiff amongst the lapping waves.

I read this paragraph three times in a row because I was simply astounded at how I felt reading it.

“He always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman. Some of the younger fishermen, those who used buoys as floats for their lines and had motorboats, bought when the shark livers had brought much money, spoke of her as el mar which is masculine. They spoke of her as a contestant or a place or even an enemy. But the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought.”

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man And The Sea, 1952 Simon & Schuster

Gulf of Mexico at Dusk


Photo: D.B. Blas on Flickr

Hemingway never, ever fails to pull me into his stories from word-one – even if the story is about nothing at all. His words truly make me want to jump up and down, run laps and make gleefully giddy sounds. The vividly descriptive words employed by Hemingway should make any and every writer jealous.

Ernest Hemingway’s talent is incomparable and I am so grateful to have discovered his works.

8 Comments on “THE YOUNG WOMAN AND HER BOOKS

  1. I used to love my books as well. There was a time that I would take half a dozen books from the library and finish them in a week. Too bad for age and failing eye sight…lucky if I can read a couple chapters before I fall asleep.

  2. You’re now making me want to read some of Hemingway’s work. Not a bad thing, a book on a rainy day is pretty good!

  3. I remember reading that book in grade 8 and I just couldn’t appreciate it at that age. I found it extremely boring. I’m actually in a book club with a group of girls and it’s great. It’s been about a year now, and we read a book a month. We’ve read some great books – and also some books that I would have never picked out myself. Book clubs aren’t as lame as they sound.

  4. Best book he ever wrote was The Sun Also Rises. Read it.

  5. I completely relate to reading in spurts….one of my favorites is a classic canadian treasure. ‘That Summer in Paris’ a non fiction story by Morley Callaghan about his friendship with Hemingway. An inspiring read….

  6. i just finished reading “Eat, Pray, Love”… not bad, Gilbert’s hilarious, but I wouldn’t mind punching her in the face. So needy. Must check out some Hemingway, thanks for the excerpt.

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