"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, February 29, 2024


The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Book Beginning quote: 
He was an old man who fished alone on a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
Friday56 quote:
"You're feeling it now, fish," he said, "And so, God knows, am I."
Summary: Hemingway's classic and Pulitzer Prize winning novella, The Old Man and the Sea, is about an old fisherman who goes out fishing alone on day 84 without catching any fish. He manages to hook a huge 18-foot marlin which is so strong it pulls the man and the skiff way out to sea. On day three he finally is able to pull the fish in using all the skills he had learned over his many years as a fisherman. After lashing the fish to the side of the boat, the old man has to figure out how to get back to the harbor. But there are sharks that have other ideas of what to do with the giant fish.

Review: I read this novella the first time in junior high school, I think in 7th grade. The basic story has stayed with me all these years and so has the feeling that it was a good story. It was worth reading. The plot is, you know, man vs. nature, and man wins. Or does he?

On my reread for the Classics Club Spin #36 I was a bit more cognizant of the writing, responding to Hemingway's spare style. The old man's abject poverty and his pride, the boy's love and devotion to the man, and life in the small seaside community all came into focus very quickly. 

In the note about the author at the back of the book, Old Man and the Sea was identified as Hemingway's most popular work. It was originally published in 1952 and won the Pulitzer in 1953. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 for "his powerful styleforming mastery of the art of narration." No other author had captured the imagination of the American public as Hemingway in the twentieth-century. Yet even though he won all these accolades, he commited suicide in 1961, as a byproduct of his alcoholism and untreated mental disorders. The adage, "Screwed up people make great art" is certainly at play here.

As I closed the book on its 128 pages, I wondered to myself if 7th graders are still required to read The Old Man and the Sea in the schools in my hometown and elsewhere. Have you read it? What are your memories of it? If you haven't read it, it is worth the small effort it takes to complete in a sitting or two. 

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As many of you know Freda over at Freda's Voice hosted #Friday56 for many years. On September 7th she told us she was going through some personal stuff and could no longer host. I've attempted to reach her but have had no reply. So I will host The Friday56 until she comes back. Help me communicate with past participants so they can figure out where and how to find me, please post this post's URL on your blog. Don't forget to drop a comment on my post also! Thanks.

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