• Renata Haidle

Three For The Weekend

I had all the best intentions to make this series a weekly occurrence but, as always, life (read: tedious chores and menial tasks) got in the way. I'm back today with fresh recommendations for you to check out this weekend. 

In last month's post I was talking to you about The Lost Generation, the AE Biography documentary that I had watched and loved. Things snowballed from there. I read a bit more about Hemingway: his life, his wives, which led to my discovery of the fabulous woman that was Martha Gellhorn. Hemingway's third wife was so much more than just a celebrity spouse. She was a war journalist whose career span for almost six decades. She covered most major conflicts of the 20th century, including D-Day in Normandy. Novelist Paula McLain went to Cuba in search of Martha Gellhorn, and visited the place where she had made a home with Hemingway. The article she subsequently wrote for Town&Country drew me in right away and I read it hungrily. It wasn’t long before I realized that Paula McLain penned not only Love and Ruin, a novel about Martha Gellhorn’s adventurous and exciting life, but also the better known The Paris Wife, which you are probably already familiar with.

The writer Martha Gellhorn, who reported on the Spanish Civil War for The New Yorker, and from the beaches of D Day in a nurse’s uniform. Photograph from AP / Shutterstock via The New Yorker

The second thing I'd like to talk to you about is Down To Earth, a documentary that I've been watching on Netflix. I liked it so much that I'm now rewatching it with my children, as it touches so many subjects that I am very passionate about: wellness, sustainability, travel, climate change, and more. It is extremely enjoyable to watch and it soothes the craving for travel that most of us experience these days.

Back to the literary scene: on and off, I've been reading Cecil Beaton's diaries, available from Amazon on Kindle Unlimited. They recount Beaton's memories over several decades, from his young years as a student at Cambridge to the last productive part of his life in the '70s. I found Beaton to be a very interesting man, extremely talented and very ambitious, yet struggling with his class status, which he was not proud of, despite the fact that his family was fairly affluent. He also struggled with his artistic identity and fought really hard to find success. At times he comes out as unlikable due to his strong desire to climb the social ladder and be part of England's high society. I think by now we can forgive his ambition considering that he left us considerable treasures in the form of his photographs, illustrations, and costume design.


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