For Whom the Bell Tolls
By Ernest Hemingway

At Wellesley, I was still intimidated by "important" books written by "important" writers. Once I went up to our little house in Maine to get away and be alone for a few days. I of course became lonely and decided to read a book. I went to the store and chose this one. I read and read and couldn't stop, finishing it in one day. It's written in a beautifully poetic but direct and simple way that I could instantly take in. Even though the story is about the Spanish Civil War, it's really about a man's courage to follow through with his mission and a woman's love giving him the strength to fight on. I remember feeling tense and afraid all day, as if I was in the mountains with the main character. After reading it, I no longer felt as intimidated by literature, and I appreciated the way the solitary act of reading could transport me to another world. I finally understood the companionship that books give.


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