My father, Tim Wholey, wrote On the Bookshelf articles for almost eight years, and his philosophy was very simple. Find a book on one of his vast bookshelves at home and write about it in such a manner as to encourage people to read more. Dad thought there was nothing bad about reading except that people were not doing it anymore. He felt terrible that things like the internet, cell phones, video games and the general hustle and bustle of life were taking so much time away from peopleâ€™s lives that they didnâ€™t find time to just grab a book and sit down and read it.
My father grew up in an era that afforded people the luxury of time to read, and he kept that luxury of time for reading available for himself throughout his life, literally devouring thousands of books over the course of his time here. It made him a better person, and increased his knowledge of the world he lived in enormously. He learned from what he read. He enjoyed reading. My thought on this for all of us now is that he was right, and we should make time to read in our lives. Read anything. Read on your own. Read in a group. Read to a child. Just read!
Our book this week is one of my favorites, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, original copyright 1926 through Charles Scribnerâ€™s Sons. It came to mind immediately when I had the honor of being asked to take on the legacy of On the Bookshelf for my father. Having read it several times, some years ago, it seemed like a solid place to start. Searching around on my own rather extensive bookshelf I found my tattered copy. There it was right on the top of a pile on the second shelf. Finding things is not always that easy. My father must have mystically tucked it there for my easy access.
Opening the old book carefully, and looking inside we find Hemingwayâ€™s dedication, to his wife at the time Hadley, and son Jack. Appropriate I thought. Following that, we find a few quotes from history that Hemingway decided to include to set up the book. Gertrude Stein, one of his contemporaries said, â€śYou are all the lost generation,â€ť which interestingly was one of the early titles Hemingway chose for the book, along with the potential Fiesta, due to the nature of the plot, which we will discuss briefly in a moment. The other quote Hemingway included was from Ecclesiastes, â€śOne generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever... The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose... The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits... All the rivers run to the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.â€ť Well, I was floored by that, and found it very encouraging embarking upon this assignment to continue to bring the fun and joy of reading to all of you!
The Sun Also Rises, as with many of Hemingwayâ€™s work, is a fictitious novel, based upon his real life experiences in Europe in the early 1920s. Hemingway famously and accurately noted that all fiction is based on reality. He was a master of taking events that occurred around him and writing wonderfully easy reading stories for his works. This story starts in Paris with a group of expatriate Americans (Hemingway was such a person, disgruntled by Americaâ€™s role in WWI, and the politics of his homeland) and British writers and artists who had gathered there to then proceed on to Pamplona, Spain to see the running of the bulls and some famous bullfighters.
The protagonist is Jake Barnes, a war-wounded veteran who has some physical problems, and well as some emotional ones with women, and particularly the fair Lady Brett Ashley, an open minded, freewheeling socialite who was breaking the barriers of femininty on the scene in Europe. There are lots of little juicy love triangles and love spats that go on through the book, as well as plenty of bullfighting, imbibing, and good old fashioned fish stories. The book touches on love, death, the renewal of nature, and issues of masculinity and femininity in a time of great change. It also has a feel of things that could have been. These are all heavy topics we deal with in our own lives today. It is a fun, easy read, with lots of reasons to want to turn the page and keep on going.
Ernest Hemingway wrote a great number of books for your reading pleasure. The Sun Also Rises may be the one that gets you hooked on this interesting and informative great American writer. I hope to see you on the beach this summer with a copy of The Sun Also Rises, or something equally tasty, enjoying a good read and soaking in the sun that also rises for you. You can find it used on Amazon for the low, low price of $0.01, plus shipping. Enjoy, and read on!