After reading, in the past months, the short stories of Turgenev, Chekhov, Maupassant, James Joyce, and Hemingway, I found O. Henry‘s stories to be remarkably different. They were refreshingly delightful, poignant, and easy to read, and yet, I was struck by the inferiority of O. Henry’s actual writing in comparison to the others. In the end, though, I think everyone should read some of O. Henry’s stories: they are enjoyable.Continue Reading
Hemingway’s stories are poetry: that is my first and lasting impression of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories. In his short stories, Hemingway treats words as sparsely as do poets.
I don’t usually understand or enjoy poetry because it feels so much must be inferred or interpreted. (After I finish reading the HTR&W short stories, I’m reading a number of poets for my HTR&W personal challenge. I’m a bit nervous.) While reading Ernest Hemingway’s stories, I likewise felt the need to infer and interpret beyond my comfort zone: I didn’t “get” them and I certainly didn’t enjoy reading the few stories I read. While I’ve only read a dozen of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories, I’m finished.
That, however, doesn’t mean you should avoid Hemingway’s stories: they may resonate with you, and you may love his writing style. He does a magnificent job of capturing a scene through dialog. Hemingway is worth reading.Continue Reading
Harper Lee wrote one novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and it won the Pulitzer prize in 1961. Its themes still resonate with readers and her novel has become a part of our culture. That, I believe, is success.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee almost perfectly captures the main challenge of growing up: realizing human nature, both good and bad.
(I say “almost” perfect because I am sure there are faults in the novel, but I love this novel so much that I don’t want to search for them.)Continue Reading
Mirth, noun: gladness or gaiety as shown by or accompanied with laughter
If you are looking for “mirth,” The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton is not the book for you. The House of Mirth is about a woman searching for happiness where true happiness will not to be found: through money and a life of materialism. While I did not enjoy reading The House of Mirth as much as I enjoyed reading Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, I did like Lily Bart and I sympathized with the frustrations she felt as a single woman in the repressed early 1900s New York City.Continue Reading