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I have a graduate degree from Penn State. I studied at Penn State under a noted Hemingway scholar, Philip Young. I had an interest in thrillers, and it occurred to me that Hemingway wrote many action scenes: the war scenes in 'A Farewell to Arms' and 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' come to mind. But the scenes don't feel pulpy.
I remember having to read 'The Old Man and the Sea,' and I didn't want to read it; I didn't want to like Ernest Hemingway. I was being a stubborn teenager.
It's rather splendid to think of all those great men and women who appear to have presented symptoms that allow us to describe them as bipolar. Whether it's Hemingway, Van Gogh... Robert Schumann has been mentioned... Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath... some of them with rather grim ends.
Hemingway was really early. I probably started reading him when I was just eleven or twelve. There was just something magnetic to me in the arrangement of those sentences. Because they were so simple - or rather they appeared to be so simple, but they weren't.
Before I was reading science fiction, I read Hemingway. Farewell to Arms was my first adult novel that said not everything ends well. It was one of those times where reading has meant a great deal to me, in terms of my development - an insight came from that book.