A Hemingway-Inspired Reading List

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On July 21, 1899, a baby boy was born to a couple named Clarence and Grace Hemingway in Oak Park, Illinois. Named after Grace’s father, the young boy was called Ernest Hemingway, and he would grow up to become one of the greatest American writers of all time.

As one of the most notorious names in literature, Hemingway arouses a multitude of feelings among readers: some praise his genius, others detest him, while others just think he’s plain boring. Like him or not, however, you have to admit that Hemingway has left a profound impact on the way we think, write, and read literature. In honor of Hemingway’s 117th birthday this Thursday, I’ve put together a list of books for those who wish to celebrate the day by reading about the man himself, or just for those folks looking for a good bit of scandalous literary history (and let’s be honest, Hemingway’s life was full of scandal). Continue reading “A Hemingway-Inspired Reading List”

Sunday Morning Book Chats Part 2 – Saoirse from @xleptodactylous

sunday-morningbook-chats-2-2Today is the day – it’s time for the second part of the Sunday Morning Book Chats series! Today’s guest is the wonderful Saoirse from @xleptodactylous (if you haven’t read the first part in this series, you can find the link here). A former book blogger whose been on bookstagram for over a year now, she has just under 5,000 followers and is currently reading her way through the massive #InfiniteVariety2016 reading challenge (it’s over 200 books long, can you even imagine??).

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Continue reading “Sunday Morning Book Chats Part 2 – Saoirse from @xleptodactylous”

Author Jennifer S. Brown on Writing, Feminism, and the Importance of Having a Support Group

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Released on April 5th, 2016, Jennifer S. Brown’s debut novel Modern Girls is a historical fiction piece set in 1930s New York City and follows the lives of Rose and Dottie, a mother and daughter who both become pregnant at the same time. Part social commentary, part family history, Modern Girls is an incredible story about growing up, second chances, and the power of new beginnings. If you’re interested in reading my full review of Modern Girls, click here. To hear more about Brown’s writing process, the books that inspire her, her time at The Debutante Ball, and if there is any possibility of a Modern Girls sequel, keep reading for my full interview with the lovely Jennifer S. Brown. 🙂

1. First thing’s first: congratulations on Modern Girls! Publishing a book is such a major achievement in any regard, but I know Modern Girls is your debut novel and to have it come out to such spectacular reviews must be a dream come true. How are you feeling now that Modern Girls has been out for a couple of months?

If anything, it feels crazier than it did than when it first came out! Because now people have read it. For so many years, Dottie and Rose existed only on my page. Now they exist on the page for anyone. It’s like my imaginary friends are now being shared with others. I’m completely excited, but a little freaked out. Continue reading “Author Jennifer S. Brown on Writing, Feminism, and the Importance of Having a Support Group”

Sunday Morning Book Chats Part 1 – Alison from @littlebookwormig

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Hello, hello, hello! Today is a very exciting day, because it is part one of my Sunday Morning Book Chats series! Before we begin, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone for their kind words, support, and participation in this series. You guys are all wonderful, wonderful individuals, and I’m so very glad to be a part of the bookstagram community.

Now, enough about me! Today’s guest for Sunday Morning Book Chats is the lovely Alison from @littlebookwormig. She’s been on bookstagram for almost three years,  has over 50,000 followers, is a rep for three bookish subscription boxes, and runs a book blog, all while raising six children. Can someone say impressive?

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Continue reading “Sunday Morning Book Chats Part 1 – Alison from @littlebookwormig”

Modern Girls – A Novel About Life, Second Chances, and the Importance of Family

IMG_4093Title: Modern Girls

Author: Jennifer S. Brown

Publisher: New American Library

Pages: 363

Summary (from back of book): In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in the family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options. After the birth of five children – and twenty years as a housewife – Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she too is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith. As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never be the same…

Happy Fourth of July to all my fellow Americans! 🙂 I apologize to those of you who read this blog and don’t like historical fiction set in the first half of the 20th century, because that seems to be all I’ve been reading lately. Even if you aren’t a fan of historical fiction, however, I think you’ll find something to enjoy in Jennifer S. Brown’s debut novel, Modern Girls, because it’s just a really fantastic piece of fiction. Continue reading “Modern Girls – A Novel About Life, Second Chances, and the Importance of Family”

Brit Lit: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

 

FullSizeRender (10)Title: The Paying Guests

Author: Sarah Waters

Publisher: Virago Press

Pages: 595

The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters’ sixth and most recent novel, is set in the early 1920s and tells the story of Frances Wray, who lives with her elderly mother in a large house in the London suburb of Champion Hill. In order to bring in some extra income after the death of her brothers (in the war) and her father (from a stroke), Frances and her mother decide to take in lodgers. These “paying guests,” as they are referred to throughout the novel, turn out to be Lilian and Leonard Barber, a young couple from the so-called “clerk class.”

Now, this was my first Sarah Waters’ novel, and it’s actually her lowest-rated book on Goodreads. If you talked to a Sarah Waters fan, they would probably recommend that you start with Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith, however I picked up a copy of The Paying Guests while I was in England (you can find my full English book haul here) last summer primarily because I’m instantly intrigued by any book that takes place in the 1920s. I can’t speak to whether or not this is the best place to start with Waters’ bibliography, however I can tell you this: I thoroughly enjoyed The Paying Guests. Continue reading “Brit Lit: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters”

Fitzgerald Follies: Z by Therese Anne Fowler

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Title: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Author: Therese Anne Fowler

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 371

Summary (from inside flap): When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant. Before long, Zelda has fallen for him, even though no one else believes that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. When Scott sells his first novel, she optimistically boards a train to New York, to marry him and take the rest as it comes. What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald legends in their own time. In New York City, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera, they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein. Everything seems new and possible, but not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous – sometimes infamous – husband? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.

It seems that for the past couple of weeks all I’ve wanted to read is historical fiction set in the first half of the 20th century (see my review of A Touch of Stardust here), and has been sitting on my shelf since Christmas, so I decided that now was as good a time as any to pick it up. Z, as it says in the summary I’ve included above, is a historical fiction novel that follows the life of Zelda Fitzgerald, from her early years as belle of the ball in Montgomery, Alabama, to the endless parties of Lost Generation Paris alongside her rather famous husband, novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. This novel is often compared to The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, which many of you may know is one of my favorite books, so I was worried going into this that it wouldn’t live up to my high expectations. I am very, very happy to say that I was wrong. This book was utterly, completely, 100 percent fantastic. Continue reading “Fitzgerald Follies: Z by Therese Anne Fowler”

What I’m Currently Reading: An Update

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Hello lovely readers! It’s been far too long since I’ve sat down at my laptop to type up a new blog post, but I officially graduate high school this Sunday (cue internal happy dance),
which means I will have much more time to write and post on here. I have lots of exciting things planned for the weeks to come, such as continuing my Hemingway Files series, a literary Paris-inspired reading list, and some art history book recommendations, but for now I will leave you with a quick list of all the books I am currently reading. I don’t know about anybody else, but I tend to read a lot of books at once and read little bits of each when the mood strikes me. I find I read more overall this way, as when I get tired of one book I just move on to another. Continue reading “What I’m Currently Reading: An Update”

The Hemingway Files: A Moveable Feast

A couple weeks ago I read “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain, which is a historical fiction novel set in Paris during the 1920s about Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to his first wife, Hadley. To tell you the truth, I mainly picked “The Paris Wife” up because I love reading about artists and writers and I was aware that Hemingway was a good friend of F. Scott Fitzgerald, another literary giant who I have loved ever since reading “The Great Gatsby.” I knew nothing about Hemingway, other than he was this huge literary presence who readers either seemed to love or hate.

I finished “The Paris Wife” in a mere number of days. I was completely entranced by the atmosphere and climate of post-war Paris. The scandal, the passion, and, most importantly, the tragic love affair of Ernest and Hadley Hemingway. I was eager to learn more about the couple’s relationship and their time in Paris so I dove straight into “A Moveable Feast,” which is Hemingway’s own account of the same time period. (Side note: if you do not know anything about Hemingway, his wife Hadley, or 1920s Paris, then I highly recommend you read “A Paris Wife” before picking up “A Moveable Feast” because it more fully explains a lot of the events Hemingway writes about in his account.)

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You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.

Continue reading “The Hemingway Files: A Moveable Feast”