This week’s book recommendation is The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I think this story does many things below the surface. It is also two-fold. It mainly recounts the efforts of an old man who attempts to capture a seeming leviathan (in a way it could be considered a much shorter version of Moby Dick), and it also tells the story of a young boy who helps the old man. These two levels of interaction do much to comment on a human life. Because of this books brevity (coming in at 127 pages), I won’t dive into details. All I can say is that I enjoyed it and would love to read it again sometime while sitting on a beach or even on a boat. Sometimes Hemingway’s machismo can be a little much, but the tale of the old Cuban fisherman calls for an evaluation of life and what is important for each of us.
I think this story can have a greater impact today if people are willing to give it time. Not time to dwell on it. Just time to read it. To take a few hours out of their day without any distractions from social media or technology or seemingly urgent obligations and just sit down with a book and read it without any thought to time or the outside world. To let the words guide them alongside the old man and let them enjoy a world less chaotic than the one they may be living. It may seem weird to think a story about a lone fisherman out on an empty ocean could be interesting, but humanity has always been drawn to the ocean. Even today, over 40% of people living in the United States live directly on a shoreline. This book was published in 1952. There is an audio version of this book read by Charlton Heston if you’d prefer to experience the story through his voice. A lot has changed in the last 66 years. Sometimes it’s good to look back every once in a while to remember that life doesn’t have to be so hectic. That sometimes we fight things much larger than we are, but we fight nonetheless.