5 Best Hemingway Books Ranked
When it comes to influential writers, few have been more impactful than the great Hemingway himself. Although unlike contemporary writers who have to be massively prolific in order to make money, writers during Hemingway’s time wrote considerably less. And yet, he still has a pretty size-able bibliography. But of these notable works, these are the five best Hemingway books ranked.
5. The Nick Adams Stories
Hemingway wrote a collection of short stories that showed up at different points in time in different places but that were all about the same guy. Nick Adams. If you are used to reading Hemingway’s more well known works, reading about Nick Adams might come as something of a breath of fresh air. These stories are more intimate in feel than his better known works, and are often about something as simple as a breakup.
4. For Whom the Bell Tolls
Many consider this to be one of Hemingway’s best books. It was written during the heigh of his powers as a writer. It is probably most similar (although not in any way identical) to his other war novel, A Farwell to Arms. In both works, Hemingway channels real world experience to make the action all the more believable.
3. The Old Man and the Sea
This one is different from all the others. In fact, when it came out, it caused many to declare that Hemingway had “found God”. It’s true, this book is oddly religious for a largely not religious fellow. It’s about what it sounds like – an old man attempting to catch the greatest fish he’s ever known. We go along with him and his young friend for a journey of hardship, determination, self sacrifice, and enlightenment.
If you want a dose of Hemingway style without the usual spoonful of sadness, this might be the book to begin and end with for you.
2. The Sun Also Rises
Did we mention depressing? Well this book is just a little somber. I mean, it’s about a guy who lost his man parts during the war, can’t be with the love of his life, and instead finds himself attending bull fights as a way to experience what it means to be a man again.
From a critical standpoint, The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway’s first big book, is also considered his best and most influential. Yet, I would argue it lacks some of the depth of the book that tops this list.
1. A Farewell to Arms
Or as I like to think of it, the book where Hemingway falls in love, A Farewell to Arms is surprisingly romantic for a book from a writer with such a bent for the traditionally manly arts. In fact, the love story between the two central characters is arguably one of the greatest love stories of all time, and modern readers will be pleasantly surprised to find that this book lends incredibly well to reading thanks to its nearly cinematic scene structure.
A Farewell to Arms is the perfect blend of hope in the face of adversity, sadness in the face of tragedy, and love in the face of war – it couldn’t have been pulled off by any other writer, in any other time.