2017 Reading Challenge: The Sun Also Rises

Would you look at that?! Look who’s off to a fine start to their 2017 reading! *raises hand*

Okay. I’m going to be completely honest. I read this book because it’s one of Amazon’s 100 books everyone should read, which y’all know by now that I’ve been slowly working my way through the list since it first came out almost three years ago. It was my first foray into the world that is Ernest Hemingway. I was so excited to read the book that I didn’t even bother to read the back of it before I started.

I could not have been more disappointed. I considered splitting my review in half between this post and the video, but I just couldn’t do it. When I went back and edited the video it was so obvious how frustrated and disgusted I became with parts of this book. I didn’t want to fail to convey those feelings through the written word. So, all of my thoughts are in the video.

I imagine many of you have already read this book, so I do want to tell you some of the things I discuss in the video.

  • The objectification of women in the book
  • The drinking habits of the characters
  • Bullfighting
  • The Jewish character
  • The overall writing style

ALL are discussed. I have extremely strong thoughts about every aspect of this book. As always, I encourage you to take a quick look at my reaction to my first Hemingway read. This book fulfilled the requirement to read a 20th century classic for my 2017 Reading Challenge.

Have you readΒ The Sun Also Rises? What did you think of it?

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14 thoughts on “2017 Reading Challenge: The Sun Also Rises

  1. I’ve tried challenges like this before. Do you ever deviate from them? How much does this hinder you from reading other titles throughout the year. I found that I can’t even try doing lists like this any more. I’m too much of a mood reader and always end up reading whatever is screaming at me most.

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    • My goal isn’t to only read the books for this and nothing else. I’ll read whatever I feel like reading. I used to be of the mindset that I’d never read what someone either forced me to or told me to because they aren’t me. And over the years my shelves became full of one genre. I never branched out and stuck to what I liked, which is fine. No one says we need to be well-read. But I want to be. So I hosted my own challenge last year and I’m hosting this one in 2017. If you don’t want to branch out and do a challenge, then don’t. Who am I to say otherwise? Just like those who read in one or two genres almost exclusively.

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  2. I have a couple of challenges going as I want to ensure I read widely. πŸ™‚ Hemingway is not, and never will be, on my TBR. He’s on my list of ‘authors Americans idolise but I don’t understand why’. I don’t pay a lot of attention to those 100 books you should read lists that are featured in the mainstream media. One list I am working through is Dr Anita Heiss’ Black Book Challenge which focuses exclusively on books by Aussie Indigenous authors. πŸ™‚

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    • I’m curious to know how many of his books you’ve read. Also, I give a lot more credit to these lists you say you don’t pay attention to over any list compiled by one person. At least these are literary minded people who have differing opinions rather than a single person who has a singular agenda or cause to push. But that’s just me.

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      • I haven’t read any Hemingway, but I read plenty about him while I was studying. He’s just not my bag. And don’t get me wrong, I was in a classics kick for quite a while, but now I’m looking for different stuff that tends not to be represented in those lists.

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      • I’d find it incredibly difficult to claim an opinion on an author without ever actually reading their work. I can tell you if someone told me they hated an author and then said they’d never actually read their work, well that opinion immediately means nothing.

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  3. I didn’t say I hated him, I said I wasn’t interested in reading him, which is a different thing.

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    • You claimed to not understand why Americans idolize him, which makes sense. You shouldn’t understand why if you’ve never read his work. That’s a completely different statement if it comes from someone familiar with his work. One has credibility. One doesn’t.

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      • Does reading secondary texts not allow me to form an opinion?

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      • You can form an opinion about anything you like. Doesn’t mean you’re credible. Simple. No different from any other aspect of life. People form opinions about all kinds of things they’re not really familiar with. If one is going to have an opinion about an author (especially one they’re willing to share with others), then you’d expect them to have read the author. Maybe that’s too much to ask, but it seems like common sense to me.

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  4. I agree with most of what you said about this book and Hemingway’s style in general. I definitely agree with you on the anti-Semitism, the racism and the glamourisation of bullfighting throughout the book. Hemingway’s characterisation of Robert Cohn is just awful.

    On the other hand, the character Brett Ashley (who I also dislike because I disliked all of the characters) is a bit more complicated than the way you describe her. She does love Jake, yes, and if I’m not mistaken there’s a scene in the back of a cab where we understand their relationship a bit more. They both love each other, but Jake has been left impotent from an injury after the First World War – it’s explained to us that Brett needs physical love as well as emotional love and Jake is completely unable to give that to her. They’re both tortured by this. It’s heartbreaking when you sit down and think about it really. Her going off with these other men is a means of coping I assume, but everyone interprets these things in their own way.

    I also dislike Hemingway’s writing style. I think he’s the founder of the ‘Iceberg’ theory no? Basically you write as little as possible, and omit a lot, leaving much unsaid. It’s the things that are left unsaid that give the story it’s true meaning, I think that’s why there’s a lot of dialogue. The dialogue is absolutely boring, but I guess you have to sit there and really think about what is not being said, if you know what I mean?

    For Whom the Bell Tolls is much better (although I still dislike it) and the instances of writing that Hemingway does, without dialogue, really are quite good.

    Well that’s my two pennies’ worth and the comment is a lot longer than I planned on it being πŸ™‚

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    • I think my problem with Brett Ashley is kind of the same as my problem with Robert Cohn. What I mean is that she’s the only woman we get to know even a little bit, and he wrote her out to be so dependent on men. I don’t know. Maybe you see it differently. Just like the only Jew was treated terribly throughout the book. I’m not familiar with that writing method, but it makes sense to me. Way too much repetitive dialogue. And much too boring for my tastes. I don’t mind the author leaving the reader to think a bit, but in this case it didn’t seem like it was done well. I’ll have to think about For Whom the Bell Tolls.

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      • I don’t remember the book well enough to agree or disagree on whether she was dependent on men, she could have been quite possibly.

        You’ll have to let me know once you read For Whom The Bell Tolls if you’re opinion changes a little.

        Happy reading!

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      • Most definitely will. 😊

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