The Hemingway Book Order

The Hemingway Order - Meg Biram

My mom and I always talk about books. We give each other recommendations and talk about them, but there are times where we completely disagree on books. I’ll love it, she’ll hate it. For example, Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love). I really enjoyed Committed, my mother not so much. Hate is a strong word, but I believe she strongly disliked the book.

Maybe I’m just young in my “reading career” but I’m fairly easily entertained. Similarly with movies. I feel like if I was entertained while watching  a movie or reading a book — I didn’t want to pick up my phone, I appreciated the story or the costumes or the actors — then it did its job of entertaining me.

Whether you end up liking a book or a movie or not, in my mind, is a bit different than being entertained by it. It may have been just an okay book or movie, but if I’m entertained I’ll keep watching or reading as long as I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time.

I have only put down a few books over the past few years, where I just felt like I was wasting my time reading them — Wicked (loved the play, couldn’t get through the book) and Blink (same examples over and over, and over), and I’m actually reading a book right now that I’m hoping gets better because a lot of my colleagues loved it, but I am not loving it so far.

Recently while I was at the beach with my family my mother and I naturally started talking about books and my mom told me I had to read two series of books in a specific order. I had only read one of the books, The Old Man and the Sea, a long time ago and I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it at the time, so I was up for the challenge considering in the summer I pretty much eat books up. I read business books and magazines during the day by the pool, and novels, memoirs or biographies before I go to bed.

The two book series (dictated by my mother) are a Hemingway series and a Kennedy series (I have still yet to read the Kennedy series). I know, I know I haven’t read The Paris Wife yet, what rock have I been under? I’ll be starting with The Paris Wife, and making my way through these books as soon as I finish what I’m reading now — Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. (Update, here’s what I thought about that book.) My mother told me that I should actually read everything Hemingway has ever written, but I’ll start with this series and tackle the rest later.


1. The Paris Wife: A Novel, by Paula McLain — Inspired while reading A Moveable Feast, McLain writes about Hemingway’s time in Paris (after lots of research) and the love story between him and his first wife Hadley.
2. A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway — Hemingway’s memoir about his early years in Paris.
3. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway — A novel about the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation.
4. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway — A novel about love and war.

5. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway — The last novel Hemingway saw published, a story of courage and personal triumph about an old Cuban fisherman and his battle with a giant marlin.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are you going to read them in my mother’s order with me?


2017 Update: I’m pretty sure I read The Sun Also Rises on my kindle, and that I bought For Whom the Bell Tolls and read it as well even though it wasn’t on my mom’s specific list. I feel like I need to read all of these books again!