Cheating death and starting bar tabs in Cuba: Happy birthday, Ernest Hemingway

On July 21, 1899, Ernest Hemingway roared into the world, probably riding a bull and double-fisting daquiris. (Or perhaps just via the normal ol’ human birth way.) The literary giant, author of classics like “The Sun Also Rises” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” was born in Oak Park, Ill., but his legacy spans the Italian front of World War I; the coasts of Key West, Fla., and Cuba; the cafes of Paris; and most bookshelves.

(AP Photo/File)

(AP Photo/File)

In honor of Hemingway, who died in 1961, here are six reads about the he-man writer.

1) From Austrian mortar shells to wrangling a shark to hunting German subs from his fishing boat, the author of “A Farewell To Arms” cheated death many times. Time details five notable brushes with the Grim Reaper.

2) You might have heard Monday that the U.S. and Cuba reopened their embassies this week after decades of rancor. One connection between the two countries that has persisted despite the diplomatic tension: Hemingway, who “lived in Cuba on and off for years and worked on some of his most famous books” there, according to the Associated Press. The author is celebrated at many Cuban tourist attractions in the island nation, including his former estate at Finca Vigia.

3) Want to tour all of Hemingway’s favorite bars in Cuba? Apparently, they haven’t changed much.

4) Though he often used few of them, no one knew his way around a punchy word like Hemingway. Read some of the memorable quotes often attributed to the writer, like this one: “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

5) Of course, any literary history buff (or anyone who has Redboxed “Midnight In Paris”) knows that Hemingway hung around contemporary legends of the written word, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce. And man, were there some stories to tell.

6) With the reissue of Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa” comes a Daily Beast piece asking “What are we supposed to do with Hemingway?” The famously adventurous author, often the subject of controversy, will probably posthumously invite it with this new edition’s release. “Some readers, of course, will have no interest whatsoever in ‘Green Hills’ simply because it is, in many respects, a book that appears to glorify killing,” the Daily Beast’s Ben Cosgrove writes.


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