The best books about Ernest Hemingway 📚

Browse the best books on Ernest Hemingway as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of West with the Night: A Memoir

West with the Night: A Memoir

By Beryl Markham

Why this book?

There is a reason Ernest Hemingway was jealous of this author and her story of coming of age in colonial Kenya then becoming the first woman pilot on the continent. She was as adventurous as the legendary Papa, and she wrote beautiful prose. Because I attended boarding school on the escarpment of the vast Rift Valley, looking out over the landscape where Markham flew her mail runs, I loved her descriptions of the open savannah dotted with migrating wildlife, the steep forested slopes, the rainy hillsides that had been planted with countless rows of tea, like a lush green corduroy.…

From the list:

The best memoirs from American and European expats who lived in Africa

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Book cover of A Moveable Feast

A Moveable Feast

By Ernest Hemingway

Why this book?

Two titles by the same author were in competition for this recommendation—two of what I consider to be among Hemingway’s best books—the memoir, A Moveable Feast and the novel, The Sun Also Rises. It was in my mind a flip of the coin, but I went with the former, partly because the latter, although largely populated by Parisian ex-pats, was set in Pamplona, Spain, while A Moveable Feast focuses specifically on the author’s years in Paris.

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Since his personal papers were released in 1979, scholars…

From the list:

The best books about 1920’s Paris (les années folles—the “crazy years”)

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Book cover of Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost

Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost

By Paul Hendrickson

Why this book?

It was Hemingway’s Boat, with its discursive Shandean style, that set the tone for my book. It was the only way I knew to tell a story that was so uniquely decentralized, so rollickingly exploratory, but I couldn’t begin to rival Paul Hendrickson, who remains the master of the tangential truth, digging deeper into the soul of the man than any Hemingway biography I have ever read – by focusing on his boat. At one point in my Phillips biography, after wandering off-course for 60 pages and finally coming back to the narrative moment I had abandoned, I wrote,…
From the list:

The best biographical reading from a biographer

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Book cover of To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion

To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion

By Philip Greene

Why this book?

Philip Greene is probably the world’s greatest living cocktail historian (how cool is that?). I am personally grateful to him for correcting and guiding my own work. Greene has written several excellent cocktail books. In To Have and Have Another, he canvases Hemingway’s personal preferences as well as the drinks featured in his writings. I hope that Greene one day does something similar with Evelyn Waugh and his novels, though it may fill several volumes.

From the list:

The best books on culture and booze

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Book cover of Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

By Elizabeth George

Why this book?

Elizabeth George shares her approach to developing characters by exploring every aspect about them: their physical, emotional, psychological traits (core needs, what they do when their core needs are thwarted), etc. By knowing your characters thoroughly, you will be able to create multi-faceted, believable characters with effective and realistic storylines/worlds.

Reading this book was like being at an intensive and excellent workshop/conference with a master who cares about your progress and success, and who generously shares her writing journey and expertise with you. 

Doing the exercises on characters that filled up several notebooks (I decided to do this longhand, in…

From the list:

The best books to help you write your best book

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Book cover of We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War

We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War

By Paul Preston

Why this book?

Paul Preston needs no introduction to readers of contemporary Spanish history. He embodies the term ‘Hispanist’ and has been writing about the country for decades, with a focus on the Spanish Civil War. Preston tells the gripping tale of those who fought to tell the story, often at risk to their own lives, namely the foreign correspondents who, in reporting the war, made every effort to reveal the truth. Preston catches this column-inch internationalism with brilliance in his survey of such notables as Ernest Hemingway and Henry Buckley. The book is absorbing, frequently moving, and sprinkled with humour. It fills…

From the list:

The best books on the Spanish Civil War and its impact on Spain

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