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Our Community's 5 Book Recommendations - Hemingway, Camus, Remarque

Our Community's 5 Book Recommendations - Hemingway, Camus, Remarque

    It’s November. Days are becoming shorter and colder, and our desire to stay-in with a blanket and a cup of tea is increasing. Good literature is something that can cozy up our wintery evenings and add excitement and pleasure to the wind bumping into the windows.

    The following list of books to read this winter comes from our active members in our Fashion Potluck community. Make some tea, jump under the plaid and choose the book you want to start with.♥


    1) Men Without Women – Ernest Hemingway. The review made and written by our content creator Chelf. 


    My first experience with Hemingway was more than a decade ago when I stumbled upon an interview of his while I was waiting to be interviewed for a job. I thought “wow, now that’s an interesting man who has something to say.” He exuded a sense of brotherhood and a hint of a stoicism that I found intriguing.

    Later that night, at home, I went through my book stash and discovered a copy of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” hidden in BF’s old books.

    Big, yellowish and scuffed, just like I like them. I like big books and I cannot lie so I started reading that right away. It was and still is to that day the only book that I never finished in my entire life. But this is a story about a different book, so let’s get to that.

    I thought I would give Hemingway a second chance with “Men without Women”.

    In theory, nothing could go wrong with this one. Penguin book, thin, 14 short stories, I thought I would definitely find one at least, to enjoy. These 14 stories are very representative of his favorite themes: war, the fighting side of man’s nature, fear, emotional authenticity, and indirect indications of existentialism that is relieved by nothingness and death. Those elements I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed his easy on the eyes writing style, vigorous English, short sentences, short paragraphs.

    The book opens with a bullfighting story, then in another country, a man who’s loses lead him to a complete loss of will to believe in anything. The next story flows smoothly as a conversation between a man and a woman.

    …………………

    -And we could have all of this. -she said.

    -What did you say?

    -I said we could have everything.

    -We can have everything. We can have the whole world.

    -No, we can’t. It isn’t ours anymore.

    ………………….

    In the same collection you will find Hemingway’s most famous story “The killers” followed by “Che Ti Dice La Patria?” which is Hemingway’s reproval of fascism, and the very popular “A Simple Enquiry” where a man asks a man  "And are you quite sure that you love a girl?" before making a sexual proposition.  There are very interesting bits in every story, yet somehow I struggled to finish a 150-page book which would normally take me less than a day if the topic is interesting. Maybe there is something disorientating as the stories are so small that you have to quickly parkour from one theme to another. Sad, wounded, raw characters that would normally excite me, left me uninterested looking for my phone to see if you texted me a fun meme.  

    Earnestly maybe Ernest is not for me. But you should give it a go and see if he speaks to you in a way that you forget to look at your phone for funny memes.


    2) The Fall - Albert Camus. The review The review made and written by our content creator Mary Raptopoulou.

    I was studying Philosophy when I first heard about Albert Camus. It was a name though that felt like I’ve heard many times before, but never truly tried to know more about him. Being busy studying about the great philosophers of the modern age he was a bit of an outcast in the academic courses, even though he was Nobel Prize awarded.

    I read The Fall accidentally. I was looking for something new to read in my spare time and my boyfriend had a Nobel Prize collection in his library. I chose it not because of the plot, but more because I wanted to know who’s this guy that’s so famous, yet not a philosophical subject in my academic department.

    “Oh young girl, throw yourself again into the water so that I might have a second chance to save the two of us!”

     

    The Fall is a philosophical novel, formed in a monologue. The successful lawyer Jean- Baptiste Clamence, is a good man. He is so satisfied with himself. He is compassionate, a good Christian, a man willing to help everyone, charitable, a liberal, a man full of morality and dignity. A man of the system. He manages to adapt in every occasion. He is a chameleon. And that’s the frame of his perfect, modern age existence. 

    “That's the way man is, cher monsieur. He has two faces: he can't love without self-love.”

     

    One night, walking by the river, Jean- Baptiste sees a woman on the edge of the bridge, ready to take the fall. He stands still, unable to do something. And the woman falls, but he did nothing to prevent it. This honest and compassionate man. This man who framed himself with all these virtues. This fake philanthropist. This coward. But was he a coward? Can an obedient marionette be fearful?

    The moral scratch culminates after the fall of the woman. At this point, Jean- Baptiste starts to make his account. And the reader along with him. Who am I in the dearth of modern life? What is left of me, ground in the meat mincer of the system? I am the man I wanted to become? Or I got lost in my attempt to survive my harsh reality? Am I moral? Am I vulgar? Am I compassionate? Or do I feed my void with the misery of others? Can a modern man be a man? A human? 

    All these wonders and insight questions find a place in the philosophical view of this novel. And I realized that Camus’ legacy is too big to fit in an academic course. A well deserved Noble Prize and a masterpiece that everyone should read.


    3) All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. The review made and written by our content creator Liz Breygel.


     The "All Quiet on the Western Front" is my favorite book at the moment. I've read it a few months ago, but still can´t forget those strong emotions I felt while enjoying the story.
     
    This masterpiece is a timeless war novel, written by German writer and World War I veteran Erich Maria Remarque. The book tells about uneasy everyday life, mental and physical struggles of young soldiers, who urgently joined the German army during the Great War. The main theme of the book is to reveal to the reader the severity of war conditions, show the real value of human's life and the meaninglessness of war, any kind of war.
     
     It is very hard to read this touching novel without dropping a single tear, so you can hardly call an "All Quiet on the Western Front" a leisure book. But, surprisingly, while you are reading this truthful story, the time flies and the novel flows effortlessly. And the last few sentences leave you with a bittersweet aftertaste of extrication, a feeling of strange relief. Erich Maria Remarque reminds all of us, humanity, that war never changes...
     
     I strongly recommend everyone to read this book or watch an old movie adaptation directed by Lewis Milestone. You will never regret spending your time together with this masterpiece, especially if you are looking for a profound story with an honest background.


    4) Contagious – Jonah Berger & A Beautiful Boy – David Sheff. The review made and written by our content creator Emily Kaitlyn.


     
    I treat my November as my January. The end of the year is creeping up and I for one like to make sure I’ve achieved or am on the right track to completing my 2018 goals. I’m quite the finance and self-development book nerd. My mom told me on vacation back in March to bring a book I don’t need any sticky notes to read with haha. So I’ve been mixing it up a bit. One book that I’ve been enjoying and I think every blogger or YouTuber should read is the book Contagious by Jonah Berger. It talks about how things catch on through word of mouth but also over the Internet. It’s very interesting and has lots of brand examples of what he talks about. I have more information about this in my “Business Books everyone should read” video. It’s a good book to get you motivated into what you’re creating and how you can reach a bigger audience.

    Another book that I’ve started to read is called A Beautiful Boy by David Sheff. It’s about a father who is trying to help his son recover from his drug addiction. The movie with Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet is coming to theatres soon so I wanted to read the book beforehand to appreciate the story a bit more. Those are just two books that I’ve been reading or like to read to get my mojo back. If you want more book suggestions or want to know what else I’ve read or want to read then check out my “2018 Autumn Reading List” video! Happy Reading! 


    We hope that you enjoyed this post’s format! We can’t wait to read these books recommended by our community.

    If you read these books, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! And, if you want to share your reviews, don’t hesitate to email us at inspire@fashionpotluck.com.

    Have a warm winter!♥

    Love,

    The Fashion Potluck Team


    • Susan C Susan C : I would probably agree that Ernest is not for me either, but I may check out some of these others. I may need a book like "Contagious." I read "Beautiful Boy" years ago and liked it, but the movie version may still seem new to me when I see it.
      2 weeks ago 
      • Fashion P Fashion P : Susan, thank you for the comment! "Contagious" seems like a universal book, which is good to read for general awareness. This mix of books is quite universal. What do you think about the "All Quiet on the Western Front"?
        2 weeks ago 
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