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The Best of Ernest Hemingway

Greatest Quotes and Novels

Ernest Hemingway once said, "Write the best story that you can and write it as straight as you can," and that approach is obvious in his understated writing style. Known for his direct tone, deep dives into love and war, and his characteristic masculinity, Hemingway is perhaps my favorite American author.

Though he wrote in a number of different mediums, I prefer his novels and have listed them below with my favorite quotes.

1. For Whom the Bell Tolls

This is the story of Robert Jordan, a young American soldier fighting in the Spanish Civil war, and his experiences with death, camaraderie, and the brutality of war.

Favorite quotes:
“I loved you when I saw you today and I loved you always but I never saw you before.”
“I had an inheritance from my father, It was the moon and the sun. And though I roam all over the world, The spending of it’s never done.”
“The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.”
“I suppose if a man has something once, always something of it remains.”

2. The Old Man and the Sea

In The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway details the struggle of the old fisherman to bring in his catch of a giant marlin. Seemingly highly allegorical, yet none too clear on the details, this is my favorite of Hemingway's works.

Favorite quotes:
“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
“Let him think that I am more man than I am and I will be so.”
“It's silly not to hope. It's a sin he thought.”
“If the others heard me talking out loud they would think that I am crazy. But since I am not, I do not care.”
“You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?”

3. The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises is based upon real people and events in Hemingway's life, Americans and Brits traveling from Paris to Pamplona to see the running of the bulls. Perhaps his most critically acclaimed novel.

Favorite quotes:
“You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”
“I can't stand it to think my life is going so fast and I'm not really living it.”
“Don't you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you're not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you've lived nearly half the time you have to live already?”
" 'How did you go bankrupt?' Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
“ 'This is a good place,' he said. 'There's a lot of liquor,' I agreed.”

4. A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms is about the love affair between American soldier Frederic Henry and English nurse Catherine Barkley during WWI. Uplifting, tragic, and always moving, it's a must read and an American classic.

Favorite quotes:
“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
“And you'll always love me won't you? Yes And the rain won't make any difference? No”
“No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.”
“Why, darling, I don't live at all when I'm not with you.”
“I know the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.”
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