*The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952)

This is the month of reading 9th grade honors English books with my son.  I figure if he reads them over the summer, it will take some pressure off the school year, so we started with Old Man and the Sea which he didn’t much like.  I, however, seem to like this book more each time I read it.  Hemingway’s prose is so simple, a nice contrast to the flowery writing we so often see today.  Yes, it’s 125 pages about a man catching a fish and then losing it to the sharks, probably not enough action for most 14 year old boys.  But it’s a beautiful story about courage and perseverance and patience and sacrifice and compassion.  If more people today handled their problems like the old man, we’d have fewer escalated conflicts.  If people stopped to think, to get into the minds of their adversaries, and to analyze the situation like the old man does, we’d probably have fewer wars, too.  George Bush could have learned a lot from the old man.  So could everyone who hits “send” on an email or a blog post too quickly.   (fiction)

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