Monday, March 11, 2013

Hemingway's Library

     I've always been interested in home libraries.  I dream about the library I'll have for myself when I settle down in one place long enough.  During a short work-up cycle off the east coast in 2002 we stopped briefly in Key West to relax and do what most sailors do when we invade a small coastal town -- eat, drink, and be merry.  Key West is famous of course, not only for fantastic Key lime pie,  Duval street, and excellent deep sea fishing, but also, it is where Ernest Hemingway lived from 1931-1939.  I went in, took a tour of the house (which is apparently the second highest piece of land in Key West and the first house to receive indoor running water). In a small cottage behind the house, upstairs, is where his library is located.  
     On the walls are big-game trophies, a typewriter sits on an old wooden table in the center of the room.  Simple and small.  If I asked, and you had to guess, which famous writer called this his library? I'd bet you would get it right in two, maybe three guesses. I didn't ask if the books were his personal books or if his personal copies were held in a museum or library (the books, however, do look like old first editions; but today you can order old books to decorate a restaurant or house).  Nevertheless, he wrote some of his famous works in that little room.   

     Me, well, I need a little more art on the walls and a few more comfortable reading chairs, maybe a globe.  And more books.  If those are his books, his library wasn't impressive; they certainly didn't dominate the room.  My first impression, if I recall correctly, is that Indiana Jones lived and worked there.  Maybe Hemingway was a bit Indiana...

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