reading Hemingway

How Hemingway Helped Me Read Again

Rediscovering reading through Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises

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It seems common among my peers that while we used to read voraciously as children and pre-teens, that behavior stagnated once we moved on from middle school to high school. I know, at least for me, that's exactly what happened. Sitting around, with nothing to do and reading a book, was replaced with sitting around, with nothing to do and mindlessly scrolling through my social media feeds.

Something hasn't felt right about that. I remembered how excited I was to go to the library as a child, eager to turn in my completed novel for a brand new one. I would always anticipate the adventures I'd embark on in those pages, and I would always be satisfied. Something has definitely felt missing these past four years, and I wanted to try to fill that absence. So, I took the opportunity this summer to attempt to get back into reading.

I decided right away to start with a fiction novel. I vaguely remembered hearing about Ernest Hemingway during my AP English Literature class, and I had heard stories about what a larger-than-life figure he was, so I gave him a search on Wikipedia and looked through his bibliography. One title stood out to me right away: "The Sun Also Rises "Perhaps it was the wording, or the subtle beauty behind the words. Whatever it was, I knew that I had to try that one out.

In Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," we observe the tragic lives of several members of the "Lost Generation." A term coined by Hemingway for those who came of age during World War I and inhabit the Earth after the devastating war, it's fitting for the bunch we're working with in the story.

We are met with an anxious group, living in Paris, who find little meaning to life besides excessive partying and drinking. We have Jake Barnes, a journalist neutered from an injury during the Great War, suffering from the pangs of lost love, and struggling to reconcile his desires with his loss of masculinity; British aristocrat Brett Ashley, Jake's former flame; Robert Cohn, his nervy coworker who also lusts for Brett; and Pedro Romero, a virile, teenage bullfighter who competes for Brett's attention in Pamplona. The plot centers on Jake and his expatriate friends taking a trip to the South of France and Spain to fish and watch the bullfights. What they seek is a common purpose, lacking one in the world after the Great War. And at first, despite what the group has experienced, at the end of the story, they seem just that: lost.

After completing the novel, I couldn't stop thinking about it. The dialogue was compelling, and the imagery was charming. However, the hopelessness of the characters seemed too skeptical of an outlook for me. I thought there was more than they had received out of life. I realized that even though it might seem like the characters were lost, they had, for a time being, found ways to move past their feelings and enjoy their lives. But it wasn't just a facade; the characters adjusted to their afflictions and found some motivation for existence that translated into happiness. Perhaps not the form of happiness that you and I think of, but happiness nonetheless. And if they really were able to find ways to enjoy their lives, I thought that was a necessary ideal to carry into my life. The day-to-day grind may get us down, and we may tire at the thought of performing the same rote actions every day, but there are ways to find happiness. These chaps found it through simple companionship. How can we find it?

There's nothing better than a good story, and a good story that has the capacity to teach is incredibly worthwhile. I was floored with the beauty of such a simple story as friends living their lives, and by the way it had the ability to teach about our existence. Discovering this tangible benefit of reading motivated me to continue after finishing. Hemingway masterfully replicated the human condition with his iconic style in this work, and it left me wanting more. But not only did The Sun Also Rises introduce me to Hemingway's work, it reminded me of how relevant lessons can be found in those objects sitting on our shelves every day. They're just waiting to be discovered, and after reading "The Sun Also Rises," I'm anxious to discover all of them.

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27 Things To Do With Your Friends When You're Bored

A little bit of fun for any season.
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I am sure many could relate: you are texting or sitting around with your friends and no one knows what they want to do, everyone is bored, and everyone is flat out of ideas that are actually realistic and achievable. Boredom makes an appearance at it's finest moments... always.

Here are 27 things you can do with your friend in just about any season (some are exclusive to a particular season) when boredom takes over!

1. Find a local coffee shop to try out.

2. Or better yet, find a local restaurant that you’ve all been wanting to try.

3. Go shopping at each others' favorite stores.

4. Tie balloons with positive messages inside of them to random places in your town to uplift a few souls.

5. Cook a homemade meal for a homeless person and deliver it.

6. Get crafty and create a time capsule that you and your friends can open after (x) amount of years.

7. Make your own sushi.

8. Plant flowers in little pots for your homes.

9. Road trip to random local cities and do some exploring.

10. Have a photo shoot.

11. Buy or create a blank page’s journal filled art, writing, sketches, and pictures of your friends that can be used as a memory book.

12. Visit a pumpkin patch.

13. Go stargazing in the middle of the night with a blanket and a few midnight snacks.

14. Go to a haunted house.

15. Go to a movie with the group.

16. Have a giant sleepover with board games, snacks, movies, and crazy pajamas.

17. Have a game night with the peeps.

18. Have a gingerbread making contest.

19. Have a bonfire when it gets cool outside.

20. Make homemade ice cream.

21. Search on maps for the nearest natural spring or river and go swimming or canoeing.

22. Take a camera, your group of friends, and stroll around town taking pictures of your adventure.

23. Use the pictures you take on your adventures and create a photo wall in your home.

24. Have a "Madea" movie night.

25. Throw a themed party.

26. Write letters of encouragement to children (or adults) in hospitals.

27. Look up random keywords on YouTube for possibly some of the best videos ever.

Cover Image Credit: aurimas_m / Flickr

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Not Having The 'Picture Perfect' Body Shape Doesn't Mean You Can't Wear A Bikini

All shapes and size are acceptable and beautiful.

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Summer has finally come again and it's now the time where everyone regrets not working out to get their "perfect" summer body. I'm here to say that these summer bodies everyone has been talking about are an unhealthy way to look at yourself and can hurt one's body image. If you're a size zero, that's great for you. If you're not a size zero, that is still great for you. There is no defined size that is required to wear a bikini during the summer, and there shouldn't be these unrealistic society norms on who can and can't wear them.

My entire life I was never worried about my size or how I look in a clothing item such as a bathing suit during the summer. I had always maintained a small figure from being active in grade school all the way through high school. Now that I am in college with no daily or weekly (and sometimes even monthly) exercise routine, I have gained weight and started to feel self conscious in what I look like in certain items that show my stomach. I don't look like the swimsuit models that are posted all over Instagram and started to feel that when summer came along I shouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit or a shirt that showed any part of my stomach. I was beginning to feel bad about my body image because I didn't have the body shape or size that is considered to be a "society norm" and let it get to me. This is when I knew I needed to change my mindset, and not my physical appearance.

Just because someone isn't a certain size doesn't mean they should be shame into not wearing something they like or makes them feel good about themselves. Summertime is all about being in the sun at the beach or at the pool and getting a tan and getting in the water. This things require a swimsuit of some sort. The size and shape of someone's body shouldn't put a restriction on what type of bathing suit they choose to wear, and no one should comment on how they look in it in a negative manner. For some people, it's hard to lose weight just as it is hard for some people to gain weight. Society is always making remarks about girls being "too small" or "too big" or comments that are similar to those and it's putting a negative effect on how women view themselves which makes it harder for them to have a sense of self love.

Let a woman feel good about herself in what she's wearing no matter her size and leave the rude comments to yourself. Whether she is a size 0 or greater, she is still adding beauty into the world. If you want to wear a bikini, then do it. Don't let the negative people in society harshen your summertime fun.

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