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Travel Books - A Moveable Feast

I first read A Moveable Feast in Grade 13 English class. We had one period each week where we were required to do self-directed reading. Each student was expected to bring a

book to read quietly for twenty minutes or so. My teacher was wise enough to realize that teenagers are an unreliable lot, so he had a small collection of books on a shelf at the front of the room for those of us who forgot to bring something to read. One week, I was the defaulter, so I browsed the community shelf and selected Hemingway’s autobiography of his years in Paris as a young and struggling writer. I was hooked from the first sentence. This was life, I thought. I immediately wanted to be a writer in Paris in the 1920s, hobnobbing with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and James Joyce. I wanted to sit, notebook open, drinking café au lait or something stronger, at a good café on the Place St.-Michel, have deep thoughts about the paintings of Cézanne, run with the bulls in Pamplona, and above all write immortal fiction in the short punchy masculine prose that Hemingway invented and which seemed so easy to emulate. Hemingway planted the notion in my brain that I, too, might be a writer. A Moveable Feast ruined my life. I wish I’d read an exciting book that day about being an electrician or an airline pilot.


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