Five Books about Ernest Hemingway and what rocked his world (and his boat)

6 years ago Shaili Desai 0

I have to thank my Uncle A for encouraging a love for reading. His annual holiday to India meant that he would inevitably ask us all – What should I bring for you? My earliest collection of books had yellow coloured hardcover copies of the first seven books in the Nancy Drew Seriesa couple of fancy Sherlock Holmes and Moby Dick – all gifted by Uncle A. Books by Ernest Hemingway soon followed.

I do not know what made him gift A Sun also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (The Finca Vigia Edition) to a twelve year old and perhaps, it was too soon for me – but I attempted to read his short stories first and then moved on to For Whom the Bell Tolls. This book about Robert Jordan, an American soldier in the midst on the Spanish Civil War, continues to be one of my favourite books, till date. I still haven’t managed to complete The Sun also rises, though.

Hemingway’s straight, realistic and minimalistic writing style, which he called The Iceberg Theory, has a million admirers and continues to enthrall new readers. If I had to choose a writing style for myself, Hemingway would always be an inspiration. The fact that he won numerous awards, including the Nobel and Pulitzer, is no surprise when you read any of his books.

Hemingway’s 118th Birth Anniversary

Ernest Hemingway was born on 21st July, 1899 in a suburb of Chicago and debuted in 1924 with a short story called Indian Camp, followed by a novel – The Sun Also Rises – in 1926. He spent considerable time travelling for his work in the early days and spent much of his time at Key West, Florida in his later days. One wouldn’t be surprised to know that residents of Key West celebrate an Annual Hemingway Day every year on his birthday. The fact that this post is timed near Hemingway’s birthday is no coincidence. We consider it a tribute to write about Five Books on Hemingway and what rocked his world, on his 118th birth anniversary.

Five Books on Hemingway that you should read

Although there are hundreds of books and anecdotes available on the Internet that talk about the great writer, we have curated a list of five books that offer a deep insight into his life and the experiences that influenced much of his writing:

Papa Hemingway by A. E. Hochner

Aaron Edward “A. E.” Hotcher is an American novelist and playwright who also happened to be close friends with Ernest Hemingway. They travelled together manier times and Hotchner was privy to many conversations on the life of Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway: A New Life by James M. Hutchisson

James M. Hutchisson writes about Hemingway in this well-researched book. This is different from other biographies in the sense that it portrays another picture of the writer – one of a hard working introvert who took his work very seriously, and not one which paints him as a masochistic womanizer who loved bullfighting and fishing.

Hemingway: A Life in Pictures by Boris Vejdovsky  and Mariel Hemingway


With the help of 350 images, this book chronicles the writer’s life through time. It contains images of Hemingway, family pictures, edited manuscripts, love letters, etc and serves to humanize this literary legend.

Ernest Hemingway on Writing by Larry W Phillips

Technically, this book is by Hemingway himself, since it is a collection of various articles, letters and columns he wrote at myriad places. However, these writings are a rich source of what he believed in and his advice to young writers on writing. While Hemingway believed that it was bad luck to talk about writing, the book chronicles all that the writer wrote on the subject.

Hemingway Adventure by Michael Palin

Michael Palin attempts to put himself in Hemingway’s world. He travels to all those places which inspired the writer and offers an insight into the place as well as what Hemingway gained from it. The writing is accompanied by many photographs – thus creating a bridge between the past with the present.

These are only some of the books written on Hemingway, although there are many more about him. We would love to hear more from you about Hemingway. Please leave a comment with your feedback and especially if you think this list sucks. You can also buy these books, by clicking on the Book covers.