I use goodreads.com to keep track of the books I've read, am reading, and want to read. It's a nice way to organize all of that, and it means that one day years from now, I'll have a list to be proud of.
My most recent move was shifting Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms from "currently reading" to "read" and giving it four stars out of five.
It's so hard to describe what I love about his writing style. The language was elementary, primitive even, but there was obviously something massive beneath the surface, like the iceberg metaphor he became known for.
Much of the first part of the book was based on his own experiences as an ambulance driver for the Italian army in the first World War. His first novel, The Sun Also Rises, is even more authentic a memoir, a roman à clef ("a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction").
The story was slow, peppered with bursts of love and conflict. There were many meals and drinks, banal conversations and adventures with no resolution. It was dull and real.
There are a few gems though, that he was willing to share with the reader. The protagonist was not a wise man, but a seasoned one.
If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
I read a Hemingway joke once and I didn't really get it. I think I do now.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
- Hemingway: To die. In the rain.