Million Dollars or Books? These 9 Books of Ernest Hemingway’s Choice

Emre Ülkem

Emre Ülkem

Boğaziçi Uni.

Ernest Hemingway is a name that is still widely read and researched today. One of the things that makes Hemingway special is his plain and simple writing technique. However, this should never mean that the author is insipid. Known for his works such as The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway should be on all of us reading lists.
And what was on his reading list? In February 1935, Hemingway made the following statement in Esquier magazine:

“I would rather be able to regain the joy of reading these books for the first time than earning a million dollars a year.”

1) Dubliners (James Joyce)

In Dubliners, Joyce presents us with unwavering realism from life at the turn of the century in Dublin, where he was born and raised. This collection of stories, which he completed in 1905, was not considered immoral by publishing houses in Ireland and England, due to the lives he covered and the language he used.

2) Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert)

Madam Bovary, which had great repercussions when it was first published in 1857, was tried to be banned on the grounds that it shook the society’s understanding of religion and morality. It is a strong criticism against the morality and bourgeois values of 19th century France.

3) War and Peace (Tolstoy)

“It was from Tolstoy that I learned to write about the war in a frank, honest, objective and simple style. I don’t know of a writer who has described the war better than Tolstoy.” – Ernest Hemingway

Considered one of the ten greatest works of world literature, War and Peace offers an in-depth look at the problem of war and domination, and the human conditions as a result of wars.
Russia’s 19th War and Peace, which took a panoramic photograph of the first half of the century, skillfully reflects the farm life in villages and towns as well as close observations on the nobility.

4) Buddenbrooks (Thomas Mann)

Buddenbrooks, 20. It is the first novel of Thomas Mann, one of the most respected writers of the 20th century. But in the eyes of many critics, Buddenbrooks is a bigger novel than Death in Venice. Mann’s novel, written in 1900 at the age of 25, deals with the transformation of a wealthy bourgeois family and family business in Northern Germany over several generations.
The Buddenbrooks is the story of the collapse of a respectable family that cannot keep up with modern life: births, marriages, divorces, deaths, successes, failures…

5) Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)

“Anna Karenina is one of the greatest love stories in world literature. The magic of Tolstoy’s impeccable style is felt on every page.” – Vladimir Nabakov

In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy adds a brand new and long-term dimension to the art of the novel while tracing the themes of love, marriage and betrayal with an extraordinary power of observation. Considered one of the best novels of all time by the authorities of modern world literature, Anna Karenina is a work that will always keep up to date.

6) Parma Abbey (Stendhal)

“Parma Abbey is one of the most beautiful novels we have.” – Henry James

The Abbey of Parma, written by Stendhal in less than two months and described by Balzac as the greatest French novel of the age, tells the story of Fabrizio, the second son of the aristocratic del Dongo family.

7) Hunter’s Notes (Turgenev)

The stories he collected under the name of Hunter’s Notes, 19. It is the first important prose work of Ivan Turgenev, who will reach great fame in 19th century Europe with his novels First Love, Before the Revolution and Fathers and Sons. The Hunter’s Notes consists of stories about the nobles, landlords, poor peasants, village doctors and life in the mansions that the author observed during his hunting trips in the Oryol region.

8) Red and Black (Stendhal)

“Stendhal is one of the most beautiful coincidences of my life.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Born as the son of a lumberjack in a small town in France, Julien Sorel has a passion for promotion at a young age. Attracting attention with his hard work and religious education, Sorel wishes to get rid of this town and go to Paris as soon as possible. Thus, the contradictions between red and black begin. In order to rise under the conditions of Restoration France, young Sorel has two options: either he will choose black to start his ascent through the Church, or he will choose red, and he will take the military route.

9) Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)

It is a fact that the people in Wuthering Heights, which he finished a year before his death, are not only fictional people, but also that Brontë carries deep traces from the real people around her. This youth story, woven with strong emotions such as love, grudge, hatred, and the passion for revenge, is full of explosive sexuality.
It is a masterpiece that varies according to the age, experience and sensitivity of the reader, gives different tastes when read at different times, and makes you want to read it again and again.

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