Ernest Hemingway is renowned for his distinctive writing style and intriguing storytelling. An iconic figure in 20th-century literature, Hemingway’s books have left a permanent mark on literature as we know it!
In this article, we’ll journey through Hemingway’s entire bibliography, and you’ll get to see a comprehensive list of all Ernest Hemingway books ranked from best to worst in a complete reading guide. So, if you’re interested in Hemingway’s work but you’re not sure where to start, stay tuned!
About Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21st, 1899, and spent most of his younger years exploring the outdoors, which later became a significant influence on his writing. After serving in World War I as an ambulance driver, Hemingway settled in Paris, where he joined the vibrant literary and artistic community of the ‘Lost Generation.’
During this time, he honed his distinctive writing style, publishing his debut novel, The Sun Also Rises, in 1926. From then on, Hemingway would become an acclaimed writer with numerous accomplishments under his belt.
From receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Nobel Prize in Literature to being inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame and winning an Academy Award for his novel, The Old Man and the Sea–which was adapted into a film–Hemingway achieved many goals and surpassed his own expectations for his career!
His writing continues to resonate with millions of readers today. Known for his lean prose, which usually takes a minimalistic approach with its concise and direct language, the true depth and complexity of Hemingway’s stories often lie just beneath the surface, leaving room for readers to engage and interpret the subtext actively.
Sound like the kind of writing you’d like to read? Keep reading to see all Ernest Hemingway books ranked from best to worst!
All Ernest Hemingway Books Ranked – Complete Reading Guide
Dateline Toronto (Non-Fiction)
At the top of this ranking is Dateline Toronto, which is a collection of all 172 pieces Hemingway published in The Star while working as a reporter. These pieces showcase his unique voice and talent for writing dialogue and provide early reportorial accounts of events and subjects that influenced his later fiction.
This collection offers readers both historical records and insights into Hemingway’s writing development, which makes it one of his best works in my eye!
The Old Man and the Sea (Standalone)
The Old Man and the Sea is a timeless work of fiction that is cherished by all of Hemingway’s readers, especially considering that it was the final of his novels to be published during his lifetime.
It’s a sorrowful novel depicting the epic struggle of an old Cuban fisherman, Santiago, as he battles a giant marlin in the Gulf Stream. Through Santiago’s solitary journey, Hemingway showcases the indomitable strength and determination that can be found even in moments of apparent defeat.
50 Great Short Stories (Anthology)
This collection features renowned authors such as Hawthorne, Poe, Aldous Huxley, Anne Porter, and Hemingway himself, showcasing their diverse styles and subjects.
Despite the diverse set of authors and the wide variety of themes and genres presented in this collection, all the stories share one trait—the superb quality of the writing that places them among the world’s literary masterpieces.
Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Non-Fiction)
Throughout most of Hemingway’s career as a writer, he maintained that it was bad luck to talk about writing—that it takes off “whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of hawk’s feathers if you show it or talk about it.”
However, in this book, Hemingway defies his own belief by discussing writing and sharing his reflections on the writer’s nature and life. Here, he offers valuable advice on the craft, work habits, and discipline, sharing his immense wisdom with others in the profession.
Short Story Masterpieces: 35 Classic American and British Stories from the First Half of the 20th Century (Anthology)
Since its initial publication in 1954, this remarkable anthology has become a favorite among educators, students, and lovers of short fiction. Editors Robert Penn Warren and Albert Erskine have carefully chosen groundbreaking and imaginative stories by British and American writers from the first half of the twentieth century.
The collection features enduring works that have shaped the literary landscape of our time, including the classic Soldier’s Home by Hemingway,
The Complete Short Stories (Short Story Collection)
Another well-received collection, this one is a definitive collection of Hemingway’s timeless tales, which contains sixty stories in total and showcases Hemingway’s mastery of stunning prose and diverse plots!
Selected Letters 1917-1961 (Non-Fiction)
Selected Letters offers a glimpse into the private life of Hemingway. Spanning from 1917 to 1961, this extensive collection reveals Hemingway’s candid and entertaining self-portrait. Through nearly six hundred letters, he shares his thoughts with family, friends, foes, and prominent writers of his time.
From turning points in his career to his views on writing and a range of topics, these letters act as an informal autobiography that displays Hemingway’s humor and leaves a lasting impression of an extraordinary man!
Conversations with Ernest Hemingway (Non-Fiction)
If you want another glimpse of Hemingway’s personality, you’ll enjoy reading Conversations with Ernest Hemingway, which is a collection of interviews with him.
Hemingway on Fishing (Non-Fiction)
Hemingway on Fishing is an enchanting compilation of Ernest Hemingway’s writings about his lifelong love for fishing. From his early stories set in Michigan to his adventures angling for marlin in the Gulf Stream, Hemingway’s passion for the sport shines through!
For Whom the Bell Tolls (Standalone)
Born from his experiences covering the Spanish Civil War, For Whom the Bell Tolls is set in the mountains of Spain and follows Robert Jordan, an American fighting with the antifascist guerillas.
Amidst the turmoil of war, Jordan’s love for Maria and the gripping account of a guerilla leader’s last stand unfolds.
A Moveable Feast (Standalone)
With a personal foreword by Patrick Hemingway and an introduction by Seán Hemingway, A Moveable Feast captures the vibrant atmosphere of post-World War I Paris and offers readers an intimate glimpse into his early life and a behind-the-scenes look at his artistic journey.
Camping Out (Novella)
Hemingway’s 1920 article, Camping Out, was originally published in the Toronto Daily Star and offers practical camping advice, covering bug avoidance, bed preparation, and outdoor cooking. This piece is part of Applewood’s “American Roots” series, showcasing iconic American writers.
The Nick Adams Stories (Short Story Collection)
This complete collection of Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories chronicles the protagonist’s life from childhood to parenthood, soldiering, veteran status, and writing.
Islands in the Stream (Standalone)
This posthumous novel has a summary that speaks for itself!
“First published in 1970, nine years after Hemingway’s death, this is the story of an artist and adventurer—a man much like Hemingway himself.
Beginning in the 1930s, Islands in the Stream follows the fortunes of Thomas Hudson, from his experiences as a painter on the Gulf Stream island of Bimini through his antisubmarine activities off the coast of Cuba during World War II. Hemingway is at his mature best in this beguiling tale.”
Hemingway on War (Non-Fiction)
Hemingway on War is a collection of Hemingway’s writings on the nature of human combat. Spanning from World War I to the Spanish Civil War, it includes passages from his novels and short stories that vividly depict the physical and psychological impact of war.
On Paris (Non-Fiction)
Written for the Toronto Star, this collection of lively pieces by Hemingway focuses on Paris during the 1920s. It explores cultural topics such as living on a budget in Paris, American bohemians, and the unique atmosphere of the Café Rotonde in the Latin Quarter.
The Sun Also Rises (Standalone)
In Hemingway’s debut novel, the complex relationship between Jake Barnes, an American journalist living in Paris with a war injury that has left him impotent, and Lady Brett Ashley, a liberated Englishwoman with multiple romantic entanglements, is explored.
In Our Time (Short Story Collection)
In Our Time is Hemingway’s very first short story collection! It includes stories that deal with themes of nature, death, cruelty, and alienation.
The First Forty-Nine Stories (Short Story Collection)
This collection includes Hemingway’s first forty-nine short stories! Spanning lesser-known gems to well-known classics like The Snows of Kilimanjaro, these stories showcase Hemingway’s craftsmanship.
The Garden of Eden (Standalone)
Finally, Hemingway’s final unfinished novel–and published posthumously–The Garden of Eden is “the story of a young American writer, David Bourne, his glamorous wife, Catherine, and the dangerous, erotic game they play when they fall in love with the same woman.”
Other Books by Ernest Hemingway (In order from best to worst)
- Winner Take Nothing (Short Story Collection)
- Death in the Afternoon (Non-Fiction)
- Bullfighting, Sport & Industry (Non-Fiction)
- The Dangerous Summer (Standalone)
- Men Without Women (Short Story Collection)
- The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War (Short Story Collection)
- The Killers and Other Short Stories (Short Story Collection)
- Green Hills of Africa (Non-Fiction)
- A Farewell To Arms (Standalone)
- To Have and Have Not (Standalone)
- Under Kilimanjaro (Non-Fiction)
- True At First Light (Standalone)
- Across the River and into the Trees (Standalone)
- The Undefeated (Novella)
- 3 Short Stories and 10 Poems (Short Story Collection)
- The Torrents of Spring (Standalone)
- The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories (Short Story Collection)
Ernest Hemingway’s books are timeless treasures that continue to resonate with readers today. Whether you’re embarking on a journey through war-torn landscapes or immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of human emotions, Hemingway’s books promise an unforgettable reading experience. Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you’ll know which one to pick up first!
What is Ernest Hemingway’s most famous writing?
The Old Man and The Sea is often thought to be Hemingway’s greatest work. Even Hemingway himself thought it was his best work! It was also the final novel to be published during his lifetime, so reading it with that in mind can make the words on the page seem even more prominent.
Why was Hemingway so special?
It can’t be said enough that his writing style is what really set Hemingway apart from everyone else and solidified his legend-in-literature status.
His deceptively simple writing, which tends to unravel slowly to reveal a deeper meaning, has become beloved by many, and for good reason. You’ll fully understand why Hemingway is so highly praised once you read his work!
Why was Hemingway called Papa?
He didn’t like his first name, Ernest. In his late twenties, he began telling people to refer to him as Papa Hemingway, but it’s unclear why he chose this specific name.
What is Hemingway’s writing style like?
Hemingway’s writing style is simple, easy to read, and straightforward–at first glance. But as you continue to dive deeper into his novels, you realize that not everything is as simple and straightforward as it seems and that there are underlying messages just waiting to be received!
Which books did Ernest Hemingway write?
Ernest Hemingway’s Novels:
- “The Sun Also Rises” (1926) – Modernist literature
- “A Farewell to Arms” (1929) – War novel
- “To Have and Have Not” (1937) – Thriller/Drama
- “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1940) – War novel
- “Across the River and Into the Trees” (1950) – War novel
- “The Old Man and the Sea” (1952) – Nautical fiction
- “Islands in the Stream” (Published posthumously in 1970) – War novel
- “The Garden of Eden” (Published posthumously in 1986) – Modernist literature
- “True at First Light” (Published posthumously in 1999) – Fictional memoir
Ernest Hemingway’s Collections of Short Stories:
- “Three Stories & Ten Poems” (1923) – Short stories and poetry
- “In Our Time” (1925) – Short stories
- “Men Without Women” (1927) – Short stories
- “Winner Take Nothing” (1933) – Short stories
- “The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories” (1938) – Short stories
- “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1961) – Short stories
- “The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway” (1987) – Short stories
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