It’s February and I’m reading A Moveable Feast with Wallace at unputdownables.net. We’re halfway through the book now and I am enjoying it, although I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t read The Paris Wife and heard the author tell of her experience in writing the book! Many are not enjoying it as much – his writing style, his attitude and self-importance. Below are the comments that I made on Wallace’s blog on this week’s reading (to chapter 17).
Some things that I’m keeping in mind about him as I read this come from listening to the author of The Paris Wife and my suppositions that I arrived at while reading that book. He is very young during this time and had already faced tragedy in the Great War. He was injured and fell in love with his nurse, who wrote him a Dear Ernest letter after his recovery and return to the US. I think he probably had some “demons” (read: PTSD) from the war that affected how he had relationships with people. Paula McLain also talked about how he could never be without a woman. He went from relationship to relationship, never ending one until another was started. It is noted that he hated his mother, his father committed suicide (as did Hadley’s) and he received ECT (shock treatments) at Mayo Clinic in his 50s.
He’s definitely not a sympathetic character, but that last paragraph (see below) does give insight into the depth of his feelings for Hadley and his acknowledgement of her hurt. I guess he contacted her late in his life – a few weeks before his suicide. It’s hard to see much of Hadley in this book (so far… I haven’t read ahead!) but I guess I keep in my mind other accounts of their relationship.
Hadley and I had become too confident in each other and careless in our confidence and pride. In the mechanics of how this was penetrated I have never tried to apportion the blame, except my own part, and that was clearer all my life. The bulldozing of three people’s hearts to destroy one happiness and build another and the love and the good work and all that came out of it is not part of this book. I wrote it and left it out. How it all ended, finally, has nothing to do with this either. Any blame in that was mine to take and possess and understand. The only one, Hadley, who had no possible blame, ever, came out of it finally and married a much finer man than I ever was or could hope to be and is happy and deserves it and that was one good and lasting thing that came out of that year.
My brain power is waning… I’m loving the new job but it’s exhausting learning so much! It’s such a good thing!! Yay! Earlier today I had so many thoughts about what to say in a blog… and now it’s kind of gone! Oh well… I’m enjoying the learning so much that I don’t mind if I aren’t as creative as I want to be right now! It’ll come again. 🙂
But I wanted to recognize the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth with a short blog post. I loved A Tale of Two Cities and am going to put it on my list of books to re-read in 2012. It’s been a long time since I first read it, so it’ll be fun to read again.
In other news…
I have really slowed in my reading. I’m plugging away on “A Moveable Feast” but behind in the assigned reading for last week and this. Some aren’t enjoying reading Hemingway, but I think it’s fun to read after reading “The Paris Wife” and hearing the author speak. I’ll keep on trucking… It has been easy to read it on the iPad. I tried to look up a word within the book, but it wasn’t in the dictionary. He must have made up words!
The blogs I read daily really are taking up a lot of my reading time. I must figure that out.
I’ve been enjoying old episodes of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix instant. How fun to meet these characters in the beginning! I just started watching (and loving) the show a few years ago and it has many seasons under its belt!
I love love love Downton Abbey! I’m going to watch a bit of Sunday night’s episode tonight. It’s hard to believe this season is almost done! Love the fast pace of the British series.
Book club is coming up on Thursday! We read “The Center of Everything” and I’ll have to refresh my memory, since it seems like I read it a while ago! I look forward to seeing those peeps!
And SocialICE is this weekend! The ice bar downtown. It has been a fun event every year and I can’t wait to participate in another! It’s fun to see the fur hats, coats, and boots that come out, but I’m afraid I won’t be sporting any of that! Uggs and wool for me!
January 30 I start my new job. I simply cannot wait! It has been 8 months that I have been unemployed. Hard to believe! But now I’m just tickled to be starting. I went on Friday for pre-employment stuff – health and drug screening, HR form-filling, and information about the two days of general orientation for all new hires. So tomorrow I have to go in to get my TB test evaluated and then I have one more week of unemployed “bliss”!
So what will I do this week? Monday nights I have choir, so I’ll stay at my parent’s house and hang out with them. I will hopefully watch a movie or two. I’m hoping for some “what not to wear” time with my closet and then I need to shop a little for some updated business-y clothes. I would love to bake and prepare meals for the freezer – maybe something from my French book. I am going to the Cities for some celebrating with Deadra and family. I need to catch up on my magazine reading – goodness! – and then hopefully start a good book.
Speaking of books, I am so excited that Wallace’s next readalong is “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway! After reading “The Paris Wife” I decided that it would be the Hemingway book that I would most like to read. So I bought it (for my iPad!) and I’m ready to start the readalong in February! Yippee!
And speaking of movies (was I?), I went to see “The Artist” last night – and it was just so good. Amazing actors, beautiful music, funny “dialogue,” and a great story. Absolutely a wonderful movie experience. It made me want to watch a bunch of really old movies – the good ones. Ah…
Well, I’m off… to read, play word games, and watch some old episodes of How I Met Your Mother. One more week of doing whatever I want – before this new life begins!
I love to meet authors, or if I can’t meet them personally, to listen to them speak about their books and their passion for writing. I find it fascinating.
In the beginning of December I noticed a sign at the Rochester Public Library that Paula McLain, author of “The Paris Wife” was going to be speaking in January. I knew that Deadra loved this book and so I put in my request for it and invited Deadra down for the afternoon event. I started reading the book right before Christmas and ate it up. It was hard to remember that it was historical fiction and not a memoir or biography of the woman who was Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. It is a beautifully written book and made me want to know more about Papa.
Paula talked about how she got the idea to write the book from Hadley’s point of view and how she read thousands of pages of letters that Hadley had written to Ernest while they were courting. Unfortunately, Hadley destroyed her letters from Ernest after their messy divorce (reminded me a little of the Love Letter Bonfire that Beth and I had a few years ago!), but as a result, she really got an understanding of how Hadley thought and felt.
Paula recommended we look at Hemingway’s passport photo from 1923 and challenged us to see if we didn’t get a little swoony at the sight. Deadra and I agreed that it didn’t do it for us, but I found this picture of him in 1921 that does make him look a little dreamy. (Sorry it’s so small!)
I also found this wedding photo from Hadley and Ernest’s wedding, which I thought was pretty fun.
It was fascinating to listen to Paula talk about her passion she found while researching for this book and I’m glad that I read the book before listening to her discussion. I also liked to hear the reaction she is getting from the descendents of the Hemingways. Made me tear up a little!
I will read Hemingway – Deadra and I think “A Moveable Feast,” his last book – sounds like a great one to read, so it will go on my TBR list!
As I was listening to her speak, I wondered if I could challenge myself to find an author discussion/book reading each month for the year 2012… I know I will keep looking for them and going when I can! I just love hearing authors talk about writing! If you click on the picture of Paula McLain above, it is linked to an interview done with her on The Hemingway Project blog. Good stuff!
The first book I read in 2012 was one written by and about the Rushford Volunteer Fire Department and their response to the flood of 2007. Their thoughts were collected by Bonnie Flaig Prinsen and the book was published with help from the Rushford Community Foundation. It is a great document for posterity and it was good to read it. I entered the information into Goodreads, which is something I haven’t done before, so I hope it gets other views!
The next book I had was terribly overdue to the library so I did some intense browsing/speed reading so I could return it today.
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks
It was a great book about creating meals from real ingredients. It is something that I like to do – bake bread, make cakes from scratch – and I thought it was very well-written. I loved reading about the evolution of cake mixes and how in the 1950s the women could tell the difference and didn’t like that they just had to add water, so they created them so that we could add eggs, oil AND water. The rest of the ingredients should read flour, sugar, salt, soda, but the ingredient list goes on and on. Crazy.
It was a great book and would be a great gift for someone who is wanting to change their fast-food ways and to learn how simple it is to really prepare real food.
Next I plan to read my back issues of magazines and dig into the pile of books that are on my nightstand! They are books I own, books I was given as gifts, and books I borrowed. And I’ll read the next book for book club – The Center of Everything. Again, I love the book club in a bag concept!
On a book and movie related note – I mentioned that I read and loved “The Paris Wife” and I’m excited about meeting the author on Sunday! Tuesday night I watched the movie “Midnight in Paris” (love it! own it!) and watched carefully the scenes featuring Ernest Hemingway and I ordered the movie “The Sun Also Rises,” based on a Hemingway book of the same name. Very interesting to put it all together – Hemingway living in Paris, with his first wife, drinking in bars and his melancholic diatribes, and the wounded expatriate living in Paris and going to Spain for the bull fights. I hope to actually READ some Hemingway in 2012 – not just read about him! I love it when one book leads you to another…