Where is Hemingway’s Soul? Writer Michael Patrick Shiels looks for answers.

Where is Hemingway’s soul? A writer says he knows.

Very nice article. Some photos added by me. Best, Christine

Modern America’s most revered, complex and troubled novelist Ernest Hemingway – the man known as “Papa” – traveled (and took his readers) to battlefields and bars in places such as the beaches of Normandy and the canals of Venice, plus the Congo, Caribbean and China, to name a few.

Hemingway hunted German U-boats (from his fishing boat) off Key West; survived multiple plane crashes; and avoided being gored at the “Running of the Bulls,” in Pamplona, Spain before doing himself in with his favorite shotgun on an early July day near Sun Valley, Idaho.

Hem statue in Bar, Havana

Robert Wheeler authored “Hemingway’s Havana: A Reflection of the Writer’s Life in Cuba,” featuring rich photography, and “Hemingway’s Paris: A Writer’s City in Words and Images.”

Since the sun never sets on Hemingway’s logistical legacy, where, I asked Wheeler, does he think Hemingway’s soul is most palpable: Petoskey? Paris? Pamplona?

Hem married to Hadley in Horton Bay Michigan

“I would have to say based on my travels Hemingway’s spirit can be found beautifully in Havana. I think the spirit of him as a young apprentice writer in love with Hadley is alive and well in Paris,” said Wheeler. “But in Havana you can find his spirit not only walking in the sea breeze along the Malecon, but also in the various cafes he frequented.”

Hemingway drank mojitos in Havana at the earthy La Bodeguita del Medio; and his “Papa Doble” daiquiris at the snazzy La Floridita, where a life-sized statue of him is seated at the bar. Most travelers to Havana make a pilgrimage to visit Hemingway’s former home “Finca Vigia” and its grounds, which has been restored by Lansing-based Christman Company.

Finca Vigia

“You can especially feel Hemingway’s presence through the voices of the people there who knew him or knew of him. He left them with beautiful memories and with tears,” said Wheeler, who researched the book by traveling to Cuba via Toronto.

“I’ve never flown to Cuba on a flight from the United States, but there are certain ways you can,” Wheeler explained. (Canadians, by contrast to U.S. citizens, can fly freely to Havana due to the absence of a trade embargo.) “Americans have to provide a reason why they are traveling there. It’s very easy, though, to say, for instance, that you’re writing an article for your local newspaper. Then you maintain a record of that and keep your receipts and have an itinerary you can show if need be.”

Verandas at the finch

Wheeler’s first Hemingway read was “The Garden of Eden,” which was published posthumously in 1986.

“From the second I opened that book I was hooked,” he said. “It was a foreign land; it was a man and woman on an extended honeymoon in Mediterranean France. After that I went on to read Hemingway’s Nick Adams series, so, in a sense, I went from France right over to Michigan.”

Hemingway set the Nick Adams stories in Northern Michigan towns such as Horton Bay and Mancelona where he grew up summering on Walloon Lake. A life-sized statue of young Ernest Hemingway was unveiled in the center of Petoskey in summer of 2017.

The statue unveiled last year in Petoskey, Michigan of Young Ernest Hemingway

Could another Wheeler book featuring Hemingway’s roots in Northern Michigan be in the works?

ContactTravel Writer Michael Patrick Shiels at MShiels@aol.com His radio program may be heard weekday mornings on 92.1 FM. His latest book is “I Call Him Mr. President – Stories of Fishing, Golf and Life with my Friend George H.W. Bush”

Thank you, Michael Patrick Sheils for this article as well as Robert Wheeler for his book on Hemingway and Cuba. Best, Christine

All Photos for a change

Hadley
Hem with boys and cat
hem back row right
1918 Nurse Agnes von Kurowsky and American Red Cross volunteer Ernest Hemingway, Milan, Italy. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
Hemingway with Patrick, John “Bumby”, and Gregory “Gigi”), at Club de Cazadores del Cerro, Cuba. Photograph in Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Below are a few photos that are not published as often as some. Hope you enjoy them. Best, Christine

 

Hem and his father
Idaho
Hem with his beloved Black Dog (a spaniel stray that adopted Hem)

hem and Mary
The early days in PARIS, On the left, Hadley with Bumby
Hadley near the time of her wedding
Hem and Gregory, his third son

 

Hemingway and Bumby/Jack, his first born
Early love in WWI Agnes Von Kurowsky

Enough photos for Today!  C

Thank you, Brandon King

I posted this in January but i read it again last night and it deserves to be posted again. A man after my own heart. Please read. I added some different photos. Best to all, Christine

Lessons from Hemingway: A guide to life

Brandon King / Red Dirt Report
“A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway.

YUKON, Okla. — I’m sitting an office surrounded by books I’ve read time after time. Each word, each stanza says something different yet I keep reading.

This is what it must feel like to be religious and captured by something through and through.

Each day, I attempt to write something new and original in hopes to capture the spirit of something yet to be said.

This, and many other lessons, I learned from one of the greatest American writers who ever lived.

Ernest Hemingway is more than a writer; he is something which doesn’t pass through life often.

Hemingway was a man of originality who cursed clichés and lived as though death bit at his heels. Eventually, he would give up running.

I began reading Hemingway shortly after high school. As an 18-year- old who had grown up in the small, yet growing, town of Yukon, culture was a commodity few and far between. It was as barren as it was lonely. At the time, I was reading pieces from writers like Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. They were powerful yet they lacked a punch I wanted to read.

Hem and Scott
Young Ezra

It wasn’t until a trip to Half-Price Books which my perspectives would change.

A blue book was fringed on the corners from being dropped too often. In silver letters, it read A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. As a literary nerd, I had heard the name yet the words and meanings were not there yet.

Since this time, I have read all but two of Hemingway’s pieces. In a near obsessive state, I have found a voice which echoes through the halls of time and continues to speak to those tired of the monotony of modern living.

With each novel and short story, Hemingway provides a lesson for each reader. This should be the goal for any writer worth his or her words. Without meaning, a writer is no more than words on a deaf ear.

Before reading Hemingway’s work, I would find myself asking questions that people could only speculate the answer to. By the time I was finished, I would wonder why I hadn’t thought of that solution before. Though his work deals with death and despair mixed with the feelings of age and war, Hemingway shows us that the world can be seen in any light.

Subjects like love and loss are covered in almost every piece of work. It’s easy to summarize the passing of someone you once loved as painful. It’s quite another thing to express it the way Hemingway did.

Green hills of Africa

For most readers, we all have experienced what it’s like to fall in love with someone and have the hands of death snatch them before their time.

At least I have.

the Sun Also Rises. He lost Brett.

The lessons of Hemingway can give those without a voice a map to find how to express themselves. This is the problem with society as it progresses; just because civilization continues to survive does not mean that civilization grows.

For you, the reader, when was the last time you picked up a novel and read it for what it was worth? When was the last time you enjoyed yourself as you read something so profound that you could feel it touch your heart?

According to the PEW Research Institute, 26 percent of American adults have not read a single book over the past year. This means that no new ideas and possibly no creative endeavor has been established in over a year.

I could list every reason as to why you should learn the lessons of Hemingway but nothing good ever came free. As I’ve learned from Hemingway, “there is no friend as loyal as a book.”

Lessons come by easier for those wanting more out of life. Complacency is a mutual dish that is best served to those who want to survive. For writers and free-thinkers like Hemingway, there is more to life than survival.

It’s the stakes of being original and true. Listed below are the books that have helped me deal with certain issues. If you are interested, please invest in your local library and read on.

To quote Hemingway, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

A Farewell to Arms: Depression, death and love

The Sun Also Rises: Masculinity, maturity and adventure

The Old Man and the Sea: Aging, death, trying against all odds

For Whom the Bell Tolls: War, destruction, and courage

A Moveable Feast: Dealing with family, memories, and depression

The Garden of Eden: Skepticism, faith and originality

 

REDDIT

Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer….

Drew Barrymore: Hemingway Fan. Who knew?

DREW’S 10 Favorite books to take with her to a Desert Island  (Media added by me).

Who knew that Drew Barrymore likes Hemingway?

On her list of her 10 favorite books that she’d take if marooned on a desert island she had Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Her comment was “I defy a woman to read this and not cry. It is so romantic, and epic – even when it takes place in one room.”

Since I’m sure you’re curious by now, the other 9 were the following:

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. “This is a book I found at a very hard time in my life and it rescued me. It offers succinct and approachable advice about how to behave in life.”

Still Life with Woodpecker, by Tom Robbins. “A love story that’s filled with poetic analogy, this man speaks in strange and delicious descriptions.”

TOM ROBBINS

Endurance, by Alfred Lansing. “This taught me that if you lead, you need to take peoples personalities into account when you guide them. Shackleton is a brilliant hero.”

Frannie and Zoey, by J.D. Salinger. “This book surprised me. I didn’t see it coming and yet it wasn’t trying to trick me; it made me feel like a welcome fly on the wall.”

Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris. “If anyone knows what it’s like to be alone on Christmas I’m sure they will have wished they had this book. It’s a humor guide for what could seem lonely and it sets you up for joy.”

Hmm, a bit of a dark message there!

Women, by Charles Bukowski. “Bukowski is my favorite, for me he was always on point.”

Full of Life, by John Fante. “This mans perspective of the journey of pregnancy and birth is an eye opener into the member of the other sexes perspective.”

Oh The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. “Because you sometimes need to be reminded your journey is meaningful in the sweetest way. Hope for all ages.”

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum. “Even as adults we need to be forced to go back to basics. This book is nostalgic but makes you think.”

And then of course, rounding at the list, A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway.

The 100 Greatest Novels Ever Written? You be the judge.

So! What say you? Are these the 100 Greatest Novels ever? There can only be one per author (Explaining why there is only one Hemingway novel on the list!) These are not in any order of greatness but are merely alphabetical. So here you go. PBS has put this together so read Jay Oliver’s article. Interesting!

 

Jay Oliver
moliver@yakimaherald.com May 23, 2018

Using the public opinion polling service “YouGov,” PBS and its producers conducted a demographically and statistically representative survey asking around 7,200 Americans to name their most-loved title, according to the web page.  PBS said tallied results were organized by an advisory panel of 13 literary professionals.

Criteria allowed for works of fiction from all over the world, as long as the novels were published in English. They allowed only one title per author.

Reporters and editors in the Yakima Herald-Republic’s newsroom were given copies of the list to find out which titles were the most popular — and to see who’s read the most from their newsroom staff.

The most widely read title by newsroom respondents is Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Two books tied as the second most-read — “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” by Mark Twain and E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web” — while George Orwell’s “1984” was the third most widely read in the newsroom.

John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens tied with C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” series as the fourth most read titles.

Rounding out the top five was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” which was read by as many folks as two other series — J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” from J.K. Rowling.

Here’s the List (alphabetical not by greatest of the great.)

1984 by George Orwell
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Alex Cross Mysteries (series) by James Patterson
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Another Country by James Baldwin
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Doña Bárbara by Rómulo Gallegos
Dune by Frank Herbert
Fifty Shades of Grey (series) by E.L. James
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Foundation (series) by Isaac Asimov
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Games of Thrones (series) by George R.R. Martin
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
Hatchet (series) by Gary Paulsen
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Left Behind (series) by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Martian by Andy Weir
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Mind Invaders by Dave Hunt
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Shack by William P. Young
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
The Stand by Stephen King
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Swan Song by Robert McCammon
Tales of the City (series) by Armistead Maupin
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twilight Saga (series) by Stephenie Meyer
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Watchers by Dean Koontz
The Wheel of Time (series) by Robert Jordan
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This is me: Hmm. Food for thought. I was at first shocked that For Whom the Bell Tolls  was not here but as noted, only one book per author permitted.  Happy Memorial Day to all!  C

Walker Evans and Hemingway

Walker Evans was a photographer who translated photography in the same way that Hemingway translated literature. Both were pioneers. Each one had an appreciation for the spare style that would influence many others, both in photography and in literature. They became friendly during Walker Evans’ one month stay in Havana in 1933, although Hemingway was not yet living in Cuba. He didn’t get there until late 1939, early 1940, but he certainly visited.

Evans entrusted Hemingway with some of his original prints to be sure they would not be confiscated by authorities during political upheaval in Cuba.

A walker evans photo of a farm woman in the depression

Now, 46 of the vintage prints are for sale by rare book collections. The collection is owned by a man named Benjamin Bruce. His father, Telly Otto Bruce, known as Toby, was Hemingway’s friend and guardian of the images for many decades in Key West.

Evans had gone to Cuba to take the photos for a book that was written by Carlton Beales called The Crime of Cuba. It was a fierce critique of American adventurism and an expose of the “disgraceful part we played in her tragic history.” “I had a wonderful time with Hemingway,” Evans was quoted. “Drinking every night, he was at loose ends…and needed a drinking companion and I filled that role for two weeks.”

Martha, discoverer of the Finca

Whether Hemingway’s prose style influenced Evans is unclear. However, the political intrigue in Cuba did lead Evans to give Hemingway the prints that would in turn be taken to Key West by boat. Once there, the images ended up in storage near Sloppy Joe’s, the famous Key West saloon. “The humidity of Key West made a lot of things a little ripe but the photos are still beautiful,” Scott Dewolf, art curator, said.

Paula McLain’s New Novel about Martha Gellhorn

BELOW IS AN article about Paula McLain’s historical novel about Hemingway’s third wife, Journalist Martha Gellhorn.  Photos added by me. Best, ChristineLove and Ruin

Martha, discoverer of the Finca

Cleveland Heights Author Highlights Hemingway’s Competition with Third Wife Gellhorn  (By Dan Polletta in IDEASTREAMING)

It might sound like a cliché, but the subject for Paula McLain’s new novel “Love and Ruin” (Random House) came to her in a dream.
After penning “The Paris Wife,” the best-seller about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson, McLain had no intention of writing any more about Hemingway until she dreamt of being on a fishing boat with him and his third wife Martha Gellhorn.
The next day McLain researched Gellhorn on the internet. She admits to being “embarrassed” about how little she knew about her.
“I knew she was a journalist, but not that she was perhaps the most important journalistic voice of the 20th century, that her career as a journalist and war correspondent covered 60 years, every major conflict of the 20th century. Of course, as we know, journalism and being a war correspondent was absolutely a man’s world, so it was an extraordinary feat in itself, let alone that her voice was so iconic and her accomplishments so everlasting,” McLain said.
The 28-year-old Gellhorn, who had done some cub reporting for the Albany “Times Union,” met her literary hero in a Key West bar at the end of 1936.
“She literally bumped into Hemingway in his own watering hole, ‘Sloppy Joe’s.’ He was there reading his mail. He was about to go off to report on the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance,” McLain said.
McLain said Gellhorn saw meeting Hemingway, who was heading to a war that many saw as romantic, as her chance to attach herself to “noble and larger than herself.” She agreed to go with him to Spain, where she too would cover the war.
During her time reporting from Madrid, Gellhorn found her journalistic voice and fell in love with Hemingway.

Happier days, Hem and Martha

From 1936 until 1940, the two lived together off and on until they married. During that time Gellhorn covered the rise of Adolph Hitler in Germany as well as Czechoslovakia a few months before sections of it were annexed by the Nazis. She wrote about that experience in her 1940 novel “A Stricken Field.”
That same year Hemingway also published his novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” McLain said it was a major turning point in both of their lives.
“Hemingway was already quite famous at that point, but this book catapulted him into literary stardom. I can’t really imagine what it would have been like for her, under his roof, also trying to be a writer. She was trying to get her own literary ambitions realized. She loved her own books, as he loved his. She devoted herself to her novels and stories but of course didn’t have the success. Hemingway became completely involved in “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” which I think changed his life. The book became the focal point of their lives. It took all of the air and all of their attention.”
McLain said the book’s overwhelming presence in their lives started the process of driving them apart.

Hem and Marty

“I think Hemingway forgot what attracted him to Gellhorn when he first met her. Here was this incredible woman, so bold. He called her ‘the bravest woman he had ever met.’ She was clearly ambitious. Yet, once she became his wife, that ambition and devotion to her own career, that independence began to threaten him,” McLain said.
In 1944, Hemingway, feeling more and more abandoned when Gellhorn went off to cover war, offered his services to “Collier’s” magazine, for whom Gellhorn wrote. “Collier’s” accepted, replacing Gellhorn with Hemingway, just as she was preparing to go Normandy in 1944 to cover the D-Day invasion.
“She had no magazine for which to report, no credentials, no way to get over to the most important battle in history. Instead of rolling over, she found a way over to Europe on an ammunitions barge. When she got to London, she stowed away on what proved to be a hospital barge, which she didn’t know. She lied her way onto ship, locked herself in the john, and when she woke up she discovered she was on the first hospital barge for the Normandy Invasion,” McLain said.

Writing letters

McLain said Gellhorn going overseas in spite of Hemingway’s attempts to stop her was the breaking point of their relationship.
“They don’t recover after that. He really never forgave her. Of his four wives, she’s the only one to leave, and she’s really the only one who is his equal in every way. When they split in 1945, Gellhorn made it a point to never have his name spoken in her presence. She said ‘I don’t believe I should be remembered as footnote to anyone else’s life,’” McLain said.

Paula McLain will discuss her book at these Northeast Ohio locations this weekend

The Tough Guy book Club

Hello Spring and Readers!I just read an article about a club that formed in Australia called the “Tough Guy Book Club.” It was interesting to read about how the men connected over the book and made new friendships through discussing the books. The themes are “manly” and the two rules are that: (1) you don’t talk about work, what you do is not important and the members don’t want to know; and please (2) bring a positive attitude to each meeting.

The club started in Melbourne, Australia and there are now 30 chapters with the first international chapter recently launched in the U.S. The club members meet once a month in pubs to have in-depth discussions about the themes of the chosen books.

Quoting the article: “We’ve read two books by Ernest Hemingway and he’s a perfect example of the masculine. His books are strong and pioneering, they are about conflict and bullfighting, loving, drinking, war, and the ocean.”

I’ve printed the whole article below but in case you’re short of time, I just wanted to call this group to your attention.

As always, I thank you more than I can say for reading this blog and maintaining an interest in Ernest Hemingway as a person and as a writer.

Love,

Christine

 The Tough Guy Book Club is a meeting place to discuss books and life in general

Tough Guy Book Club members of the Castlemaine chapter at a monthly meeting. Picture: SUPPLIED

Tough Guy Book Club members of the Castlemaine chapter at a monthly meeting. Picture: SUPPLIED

There are only a couple of rules you need to follow to join the club.

First, don’t talk about work, what you do is not important and the members don’t want to know.

Second, bring a positive attitude to each meeting.

That’s right, finishing the club’s monthly book is not vital and members are always encouraged to come to each meeting regardless of if they have completed it.

The Tough Guy Book Club was initially started as a way for a group of mates to check in with each other every month, which led to its inception at a pub in Melbourne.

They started using a book as an excuse to get to the pub so they could talk properly, eventually a few guys at the bar noticed them and were more than eager to join in on the discussion.

But from there it grew, from suburb to suburb, state to state there are now almost 30 chapters across the country and the first international chapter was recently launched in the United States.

“The tough guy thing is more of a theme than anything,” Shay said.

“Mostly we read books by tough guys, rather than as tough guys. The books we choose are guided by a loose central theme of masculinity.

“We’ve read two books by Ernest Hemingway, and he’s a perfect example of the masculine. His books are strong and pioneering, they’re about conflict and bullfighting, loving, drinking, war and the ocean.”

Some of the books the club have read include The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson.

Essentially the club acts as a meeting place for men to come together to discuss literature and the everyday issues they face.

Alex Playsted has been influential in launching the Bendigo chapter. Picture: ANTHONY PINDA

Alex Playsted has been influential in launching the Bendigo chapter. Picture: ANTHONY PINDA

Alex Playsted or ‘Wash’ as he is known by fellow members, was hooked from his first meeting.

“I really liked what I saw when I rolled up,” Alex said.

Alex’s love for books and having a good chat were a good draw-card to join, but he felt he wanted to be even more involved with the club and is now a director that helps form new chapters.

“I was in a pretty challenging time of my life,” he said. “Tough relationship, isolated from people and was in the role of a carer.

“Very quickly I found I had a very strong community around me of like minded guys that were all very different individuals, but unified with compassion and our interest in the fellow man.”

When Alex Playsted moved to Castlemaine, the first thing he did was start a new chapter, not because he wanted to but because he needed to.

“I was amazed by how much you get to know people by listening to them talk about a book, you could just tell how they were opening up about their own life experiences.”

The name Tough Guy Book Club led him to believe it would be a bunch of bearded guys sitting around chatting about books, but it turned out to be a whole lot more.

It dawned on him how book clubs can attract ‘genuine, open and honest people’.

“Guys having a new friend catch up would be a bit awkward, but because we have the book as the basis of the conversation it just allows for a greater flow of conversation.”

Members of the Bendigo chapter which meet on the first Wednesday of each month at The Metropolitan Hotel. Picture: ANTHONY PINDA

Members of the Bendigo chapter which meet on the first Wednesday of each month at The Metropolitan Hotel. Picture: ANTHONY PINDA

 

Jamie Rooney had just moved to Bendigo from Glasgow, Scotland.

“Being a standard boy from the west coast of Scotland, we do not discuss emotion, it’s not something that is done is Glasgow,” Jamie laughed.

“During the couple meetings that I’ve been to, I’ve been able to open up a bit more which is something I generally would never have done.”

 “It’s great to actually have someone sit me down and say ‘you need to read this book this month’. Books I’ve never heard of are great because they help me branch out,” he said.

Like other members from Castlemaine and Bendigo, Jamie was feeling the pressure of social isolation and struggled to find new friends.

“When I first moved here, it was quite difficult getting to know anyone. Everything here seems to be based around sport, so it has been a great way to meet other people.”

Bendigo member Troy Beamish also had a similar experience, having just recently moved from Melbourne and had a very limited social network.

 He found great relief in the open discussions he experienced at his first meeting and was surprised in the depth of the analysis that was explored in the book’s themes and its characters.

“I thought it would be more of an analysis of the characters, whereas it branched out into a deeper look into humanity and how the books applied to the world,” he said.

“It was the most appealing part that will make me come back.”

Tough Guy Book Club meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month and to find your local chapter visit http://toughguybookclub.com/.

No chapter in your area? Why not be a tough guy and start your own.

The original Tough Guy

New Book to Read: Galantiere

Hello Hemingway Fans!  I just finished and reviewed on Amazon a book called Galantiere about Lewis Gallantiere who is an unsung oberver and commentator on the arts scene especially in France in the twenties. Hemingway was in his circle and there are some great vignettes. However, the book itself even without Hemingway was wonderful. Well written, good scenes, just delightful. Please check it out if you are looking for your next fun book.  Best Christine  (Just click on this para and you’ll get a direct link to the book on Amazon.)

Hemingway’s Cuban Home: Finca Vigia

Happy Spring all!  A few photos and background about Hemingway’s home in Cuba where he lived from 1940-1960.

It appeared that things were opening up in Cuba and that there might one day be actual access to Hemingway’s home Finca Vigia outside Havana. The name means Lookout Farm. Since the new election, it is unclear if this will happen.

Regardless, Hemingway had over 10 acres and a rundown house that was found by his then wife, Martha Gellhorn. It was his home from approximately 1940 to 1960. He had a staff usually of 3 people to help in the house, drive, work in the gardens. The vegetation was lush and he and Martha brought the pool and tennis court back to former glory.

Even after the divorce from Martha Gellhorn, he kept the farm as his residence and his new wife Mary Welsh moved in and became the mistress of the house.

Mary’s tower for the cats and writing

When asked why he didn’t live in America, Hemingway noted that he could boat and fish year- round in Cuba, always had a breeze, fantastic food and drink, and a welcoming and warm people. He indicated that if he found a similar place in America, he would move there.

60′ living room

Ultimately he had to move. Although Castro did no

Martha, discoverer of the Finca

t force him out, the anti-Americanism was everywhere. Further, when he came to visit in the United States in 1960, the FBI told him he could not return. There then ensued great drama in trying to get his personal items and book manuscripts out; his animals re-settled; and to provide care for his staff left behind. It was a devastating blow to him although he did anticipate that he would have to leave Cuba at some point. He had a small apartment in New York but after not being able to return to Cuba lived much of the year in Idaho in the house in which he died.

Hem drinks with Boise

Finca Vigia is presently in the midst of renovations. The goal is to keep it as it was when Hemingway was there but with preservation. In a humid climate, much deteriorates relatively quickly and the restoration project is afoot.

After Hemingway’s death, Mary donated the house to the Cuban government and the restoration began in 2005 by the Finca Vigia Foundation working with the Cuban government. The house itself is in San Francisco de Paula, a modest town 9 miles outside Havana. The Cuban people have always respected Hemingway’s choice to live among the people he fished with. The house was built in 1886 and was purchased by Hemingway in 1940 for $12,500.

He wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea primarily while living there. A Moveable Feast was also written there. After Hemingway’s death in 1961, the Cuban government took ownership of the property and Mary Hemingway agreed to that appropriation.

Please enjoy the photos of his home.