Wednesday 21 October 2015

Nobel Prize Winner Ernest Hemingway Read A Great Number of Books

"He read everything around the house, all the books, all the magazines, even the AMA journals from dad's office downstairs.  Ernie also took out a great number of books from the public library." (Marcelline, sister of Ernest Hemingway)

Growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, Ernest Hemingway used to read everything he could get his hands on.  His older sister, Marcelline, said that their bookshelf was filled with authors like Shakespeare, Scott, Stevenson, Dickens and Thackeray.  Periodicals such as National Geographic, Atlantic Monthly and Harper's were on the bookshelf at the family cottage on Walloon Lake in Upper Michigan.  

Hemingway also visited the public library on a regular basis.  By the turn of the last century, libraries had sprung up in many towns and cities across the United States, thanks in large part to the generosity of Andrew Carnegie.  Books were starting to come down in price with Little Leather Library, the book of the month clubs and paperback publications.  

Hemingway translated his long hours of reading into a successful writing career, penning seven novels, six short collections, two non fiction works and endless articles.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.  

The year before, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Oak Park Library, he wrote:  "I was at sea or I would have sent you a message telling you how much I owe to the Library and how much it meant to me all my life."    

Passport photograph

Hemingway worked as a correspondent for the Toronto Star Weekly at the time of this photograph courtesy

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