A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway is my first completed read-along for 2012. It is also my first read-along with the reading group at UnPutdownables. It was a great experience.
The book: Back in the 1960s and 70s my husband and I read nearly everything Hemingway wrote. He was very popular among our friends as well. In the intervening years we’ve read some of them again and have watched a few of the movie adaptations, especially Old Man and the Sea. For some reason we missed A Moveable Feast. I thought it was a wonderful re-introduction to the author.
The book read like a diary. And, what is nice is that it’s a diary by a very good writer. Hemingway was in his mid-twenties, and married to his first wife, Hadley. The couple is living in a variety of “rooms” in Paris in the 1920s.
There’s not a lot about Hadley in the book but there is a host of other people Ernest met and became well acquainted with. People such as Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and, the most interesting, Scott Fitzgerald. Hemingway seemed to find them multi-layered, which added enormously to my love of A Moveable Feast. I imagined that it was me he was sitting down with at the end of a week and telling me everything he saw and the places he’d been. It had a gossipy feel to it.
The read-a-long: There seemed to be about twenty other readers involved in the read-along. How it worked was that each week Wallace (the leader) would post her ideas and a bit of reasearch about the assignment for that week. Then in the comments section everyone shared their opinions about the reading. There was great conversation back and forth.
I don’t know why, but I was surprised at the wide variety of opinions on the book and especially on the author and the other people mentioned in the book. It seemed to be about half and half, but most of the comments were negative about Hemingway. It didn’t seem the complaints were focused on his writing, but on Hemingway as a person.
It felt as if I was in a small minority of people who loved the book and Mr. Hemingway. I may be mis-reading that because of the “literary criticism.” It didn’t detract from my decision to join the read-along. The other opinions gave me a lot to think about and made me examine the next week’s reading assignment in a different way. A great way to read a classic book.
Up Next: The next read-along will be three months long (March, April, May). The book is Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Here’s a quote about the book from GoodReads:
Often considered Charles Dickens’s masterpiece, Bleak House blends together several literary genres—detective fiction, romance, melodrama, and satire—to create an unforgettable portrait of the decay and corruption at the heart of English law and society in the Victorian era.
If that sounds good to you, I hope you’ll also join in. Complete information is HERE.