Ernest Hemingway’s Reading List

Ernest Hemingway is one of the most celebrated authors in history. His works have been translated into over 40 languages and he’s written more than six hundred books, including three novels that are considered as classics: The Old Man And The Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms.

Ernest Hemingway was a famous American author who wrote many novels, short stories, and non-fiction. His most famous books are “The Old Man and the Sea” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Read more in detail here: ernest hemingway most famous books.

Libraries of famous men illustration.

Welcome back to our series on famous men’s libraries. The great men of history were typically ardent readers, and their philosophy is a distillation of all the great texts that they consumed. This series aims to track their line of thought all the way back to the source. “Don’t follow your mentors; follow your mentors’ mentors,” as David Leach, a now-retired corporate leader, put it.

Ernest Hemingway is often regarded as one of the greatest and most virulent authors of his period, if not all time. He was the author of ten novels, nine nonfiction books, and several collections of short stories, poetry, and essays. They cover a wide variety of topics, including fictitious war stories and fishing tales, as well as real-life hunting adventures and romantic Paris lifestyle. His famous writing style exudes manliness, and in my experience, even individuals who don’t really love reading find enjoyment and ease in his writings.

What you may not know about Papa Hemingway is that he had a ravenous hunger for books. “I’m constantly reading books – as many as there are,” he once declared. Others remarked on his habit as well: “He was constantly reading.” “When he wasn’t working, he was reading,” “He was always reading,” and “I believe Ernest read everything.” He was an excellent reader.” He was noted for reading roughly four novels at a time, with the number sometimes rising to eight or ten. He also subscribed to a number of publications and newspapers, which he devoured with similar zeal. His life’s labor and passion was the written word.

Ernest Heingway is reading newspaper in library.

Hemingway’s reading habits were not developed due to a lack of schooling, as they were for many other brilliant individuals such as Frederick Douglass or Louis L’Amour. He grew up in a household that valued reading, and he attributes his childhood home’s library with creating a lifelong love of the pastime in him and his brothers. Marcelline, his sister, once wrote:

“Ernest and I both read a lot. Many of the shelves in our family library were stacked with classics by Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, Stevenson, and Shakespeare. We didn’t seem to skip any of them. I only had time to read all of Shakespeare’s tragedies and revisit the comedies because I was out of school with mumps one spring and had run out of all other reading material. Ernie’s mumps outbreak came after mine, and I know he had access to the same volumes as I had. We both enjoyed Stevenson, particularly The Suicide Club, one of his lesser-known works, as well as Treasure Island. We read the green cloth book of Vanity Fair from cover to cover since Thackeray wasn’t as simple to read as Kipling, Stevenson, or Dickens. In third and fourth grade, we both read Horatio Alger novels, and Ernest took them seriously.”

Ernest Hemingway is reading book & siting on rock.

Hemingway’s passion of reading became stronger as he grew older. He read around a book and a half each day throughout the most of his life, as well as at least three daily newspapers. And this didn’t alter when he went on vacation; he was known to carry a whole duffel bag full of books with him on every trip. Reading was not an afterthought in his life; it was an unavoidable part of his daily routine. Hemingway would usually write in the morning until around midday, then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening reading.


Hemingway read for a variety of reasons, including relaxation, getting his mind off work, and recharging, all of which he regarded crucial to his own writing:

“It was vital for me to read after I had written while I was writing.” You’d lose the stuff you were writing if you continued thinking about it, and you’d have to start again the following day. It was vital to get some exercise and to be physically exhausted, and it was very enjoyable to make love to someone you cared about. That was much superior than everything else. However, once you were empty, you needed to read to avoid thinking or worrying about your task until you could do it again.”

He would provide snatches of reading advice to youthful fans, interviewers, and even in his published works throughout his career. He didn’t take a didactic approach to reading, and when asked about reading his own work, he responded, “Read everything I write for the joy of reading it.” What you bring to the reading will be measured by whatever else you discover.” Reading was more about the experience for Hemingway than acquiring particular lessons: “[Books] were a part of learning to see, hear, think, feel and not feel, and to write.”

The list that follows isn’t exhaustive of all the books he cited, but it does include the ones that appeared in many places. There isn’t much nonfiction here, and there isn’t much “classical” literature from ancient Greece and Rome. I mention this primarily because the preceding chapters of this series all showcased ancient masterpieces. Hemingway generally kept to what was considered excellent literature at the time (most of these works are still familiar now) so that, in his own words from 1958, “he knows what he has to beat.” Enjoy.

The Reading List of Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is reading book outside at table.

Title Author
The Layperson’s Guide Woolf, Virginia
A House in Disarray Williams, Ben Ames
The Republic is a political entity that exists in the Beard, Charles
Napoleon’s Russian Invasion Tarle, Eugene
How Old You Appear Wood, Peggy
Hunting in Africa Baldwin, William Charles
Poems Collected T.S. Eliot (T.S. Eliot)
Ulysses Joyce, James
Dubliners Joyce, James
A Young Man’s Portrait of the Artist Joyce, James
King Lear  Shakespeare
Other Stories and the Open Boat Stephen Crane is a well-known author. is a well-known author.
The Courageous Red Badge Stephen Crane
Madame Bovary is a fictional character. Flaubert, Gustave
Sensitive Education Flaubert, Gustave
The Black and the Red Stendahl
Human Relationships W. Somerset Maugham (W. Somerset Maugham) was an English author who
Anna Karenina (Anna Karenina) is a Russian Tolstoy, Leo
Peace and War Tolstoy, Leo
Buddenbrooks Thomas Mann is a German author.
Salutations and Goodbyes Moore, George
The Karamazov Brothers Dostoevsky, Fyodor
The Massive Room Cummings, E.E.
Wuthering Heights is a novel written by Emily Bronte was a writer who lived in the 18th century.  Emily Bronte
Long Ago and Far Away Hudson, W. H.
The United States of America Henry James is a famous American author. is a famous American author.
Complete Collections of Short Stories Henry James
Easy, Mr. Midshipman Frederick Marryat is a fictional character created by Frederick Marryat is a fictional character created by Frederick Marryat is a fictional character created by Frederick Marryat
Mildmay, Frank Frederick Marryat
Peter is uncomplicated. Frederick Marryat
The Entire Work Rudyard Kipling was a British author and poet.
Tom Jones Fielding, Henry
Andrews, Joseph Fielding, Henry
Huckleberry Finn’s Adventures Twain, Mark
Autobiographies Yeats, W. B.
Sketches of a Sportsman Turgenev, Ivan
Sons and Fathers Turgenev, Ivan
Winesburg is a town in the state of Ohio. Anderson, Sherwood
Margot, the Queen Alexandre Dumas is a French author.
Looking for Lost Time Proust, Marcel



Ernest Hemingway’s Reading List is a list of books that Ernest Hemingway read in his lifetime. The list includes the best-selling books, as well as those he considered to be among the best. Reference: hemingway books ranked reddit.

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