Putting our minds to something has never been the problem. The problem has been: Who decides whose mind is worthy?—Amber Tamblyn, Era of Ignition
Last month I visited the Hemingway Home and Museum in gorgeous Key West, Florida.
I started in Miami, drove through the Keys over two days, and spent my last two nights in Key West—the whole trip planned around winding up here. The house and property were amazing, and the journey there wasn’t bad either ☀️🌊
There are myriad cool stories and legends associated with this house, like:
Hemingway wrote some of his best received work while living here, including the 1935 non-fiction Green Hills of Africa, and the 1936 short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”
The swimming pool on the property cost $20,000 when built in 1938—an equivalent of $330,000 now—and was the first swimming pool in Key West
The ~50 cats that live on the property! About half have thumbs and extra digits, but they all carry the polydactyl gene even if they have the normal amount of toes. Some are allegedly descended from Hemingway’s own polydactyl cat Snow White (or Snowball, some say) given to him by a ship’s captain. (Apparently thumb-cats were preferred as ship’s cats back in the day because they have better balance than regular cats and are better climbers 👍)
The fountain base that used to be a urinal, taken by Hemingway and friends from a nearby bar.
Hemingway allegedly chose the house because it’s across the street from the lighthouse (the tallest structure on the island) so he could more easily find his way home from the bars. I see a theme here.
Hemingway’s writer’s retreat with the actual typewriter he used.
Cool house, cooler history, highly recommend.
Visit the Hemingway Home & Museum site for more info 🐈
But for real, though, pour one out for Santiago ✌️Old man went through it.
Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.—Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
The genre: YA
The gist: A high schooler who loves to rap ultimately tries to make it as a rapper to help save her family.
The tea: I love Angie Thomas’s writing.
So far, I’ve only read The Hate U Give and this one, but Concrete Rose is up next, and I’m excited to read anything else she puts out.
Her characters and dialogue are so real that you feel like you’re popping in on actual conversations. Not only that, but her stories show an American experience that not everyone shares, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from her books.
In On the Come Up, high schooler Bri loves to rap. She deals with racism at school, family drama, and eventually the threat of extreme poverty that causes her to try to make it as a rapper to help her family. On top of that, she’s got normal teenager stuff going on, like crushes on boys and the pressure of getting into college.
Something I really liked was getting to see the thought process behind Bri’s freestyles, seeing her quickly transform her scattered thoughts into the sick burns she throws at her opponent.
The wrap-up: Great author, great book. Read all her stuff.
The rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 /5
I’m starting to think it doesn’t matter what I do. I’ll still be whatever people think I am.—Angie Thomas, On the Come Up
Sometimes people use thought to not participate in life.—Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower