Saturday, December 23, 2023

Islands in the Stream, Hemmingway

 100-Proof Old Ernest, Most of it Anyway (

If you want to read the book and enjoy the mystery and tension of it, don't read the linked review that will remove all of that. 

The book is somewhat special to me because it was purchased at the Hemingway home in Key West Florida. Here is a nice memory of my sons and I at Sloppy Joe's, a favorite Hemingway hangout. 

The book is a lot of Godless manliness. Risk-taking, deep-sea fishing, shark attack, fighting, womanizing, war, tragedy, etc. Needless to say, it is well written with vivid attention to detail, inner thoughts, richly developed characters, etc. 

I learned the way to use Campari in a drink, and the goodness of a dash of Angostura bitters in a Martini. My curiosity led me off to look into the bitters a bit, and found a Wisconsin connection (From Wikipedia): 

The largest purveyor of Angostura bitters in the world is Nelsen's Hall Bitters Pub on Washington Island off the northeast tip of Door Peninsula in Door County, Wisconsin. The pub began selling shots of bitters as a "stomach tonic for medicinal purposes" under a pharmaceutical license during Prohibition in the United States. The practice, which helped the pub to become the oldest continuously operating tavern in Wisconsin, remained a tradition after the repeal of Prohibition. As of 2018, the pub hosts a Bitters Club, incorporates bitters into food menu items, and sells upwards of 10,000 shots per year.[15]

In visiting Hemingway's home in KeyWest, I learned of his love of cats, which I share. The book provides some touching insight to how much Earnest cared for his cats.  

I've been veering into fiction, because I read too much history, biography, philosophy, politics, physics, and such, that I seem to be discovering that all we ever really have is a "story" ... our reality is not nearly as "real" as we often believe, and looking at the world through quality fiction may be a way to better grasp what it means to be an embodied human living a life in what I believe to be eternity. 

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