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Ranking Author Ernest Hemingway’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

“What are Ernest Hemingway’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Hemingway’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by Ernest Hemingway and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!

The Top Book’s Of Ernest Hemingway

29 ) 88 Poems

88 Poems Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 29
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 28

First authorized edition of Hemingway’s collected poems; edited, with an introduction and notes by Nicholas Gerogiannis;

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28 ) True at First Light

True at First Light Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 26
  • Amazon: 24
  • LibraryThing: 25

Both a revealing self-portrait and dramatic fictional chronicle of his final African safari. Written in 1953, edited and first published by son, Patrick, in 1999. Both a revealing self-portrait and dramatic fictional chronicle of his final African safari, Ernest Hemingway’s last unpublished work was written when he returned from Kenya in 1953. Edited by his son Patrick, who accompanied his father on the safari, True at First Light offers rare insights into the legendary American writer in the year of the hundredth anniversary of his birth. A blend of autobiography and fiction, the book opens on the day his close friend Pop, a celebrated hunter, leaves Ernest in charge of the safari camp and news arrives of a potential attack from a hostile tribe. Drama continues to build as his wife, Mary, pursues the great black-maned lion that has become her obsession. Spicing his depictions of human longings with sharp humor, Hemingway captures the excitement of big-game hunting and the unparalleled beauty of the scenery — the green plains covered with gray mist, zebra and gazelle traversing the horizon, cool dark nights broken by the sounds of the hyena’s cry. As the group at camp help Mary track her prize, she and Ernest suffer the “incalculable casualties of marriage,” and their attempts to love each other well are marred by cruelty, competition and infidelity. Ernest has become involved with Debba, an African girl whom he supposedly plans to take as a second bride. Increasingly enchanted by the local African community, he struggles between the attraction of these two women and the wildly different cultures they represent. In True at First Light, Hemingway also chronicles his exploits — sometimes hilarious and sometimes poignant — among the African men with whom he has become very close, reminisces about encounters with other writers and his days in Paris and Spain and satirizes, among other things, the role of organized religion in Africa. He also muses on the act of writing itself and the author’s role in determining the truth. What is fact and what is fiction? This is a question that was posed by Hemingway’s readers throughout his career and is one of his principal subjects here. Equally adept at evoking the singular textures of the landscape, the thrill of the hunt and the complexities of married life, Hemingway weaves a tale that is rich in laughter, beauty and profound insight. True at First Light is an extraordinary publishing event — a breathtaking final work from one of America’s most beloved and important writers.

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27 ) The Torrents of Spring

The Torrents of Spring Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 27
  • Amazon: 18
  • LibraryThing: 26

The Torrents of Spring is a hilarious parody of the Chicago school of literature. Poking fun at that “great race” of writers, it depicts a vogue that Hemingway himself refused to follow. In style and substance, The Torrents of Spring is a burlesque of Sherwood Anderson’s Dark Laughter, but in the course of the narrative, other literary tendencies associated with American and British writers akin to Anderson — such as D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and John Dos Passos — come in for satirical comment. A highly entertaining story, The Torrents of Spring offers a rare glimpse into Hemingway’s early career as a storyteller and stylist.

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26 ) Hemingway, The Wild Years

Hemingway, The Wild Years Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 16
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 23

Before Ernest Hemingway turned to writing fiction, he already had become one of the great reporters of our time. Here-in the inimitable Hemingway style-is Paris at her most glorious…Italy and Germany in their darkest hours…the bloody birth pangs of new nations in the Near East…explosive excitement of Pampona and the stark drama of the bull ring…the virie pleasures of fishing and hunting in the American north woods…and much, much more.

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25 ) Across the River and into the Trees

Across the River and into the Trees Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 25
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 24

In the fall of 1948, Ernest Hemingway made his first extended visit to Italy in thirty years. His reacquaintance with Venice, a city he loved, provided the inspiration for Across the River and into the Trees, the story of Richard Cantwell, a war-ravaged American colonel stationed in Italy at the close of the Second World War, and his love for a young Italian countess. A poignant, bittersweet homage to love that overpowers reason, to the resilience of the human spirit, and to the worldweary beauty and majesty of Venice, Across the River and into the Trees stands as Hemingway’s statement of defiance in response to the great dehumanizing atrocities of the Second World War.

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23 ) Ernest Hemingway: Cub Reporter

Ernest Hemingway: Cub Reporter Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 28
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 29

It is now generally acknowledged that Ernest Hemingway’s short stint as a reporter for the Kansas City Star was an important apprenticeship to his career as a creative writer. Herein is the collection of eleven Kansas City Star stories that editor Matthew Bruccoli has been able to attribute to Hemingway.

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23 ) To Have and Have Not

To Have and Have Not Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 18
  • LibraryThing: 22

To Have and Have Not is the dramatic story of Harry Morgan, an honest man who is forced into running contraband between Cuba and Key West as a means of keeping his crumbling family financially afloat. His adventures lead him into the world of the wealthy and dissipated yachtsmen who throng the region, and involve him in a strange and unlikely love affair. Harshly realistic, yet with one of the most subtle and moving relationships in the Hemingway oeuvre, To Have and Have Not is literary high adventure at its finest.

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22 ) Death in the Afternoon

Death in the Afternoon Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 14
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 17

Still considered one of the best books ever written about bullfighting, “Death in the Afternoon” is an impassioned look at the sport by one of its true aficionados. It reflects Hemingway’s conviction that bullfighting was more than mere sport and reveals a rich source of inspiration for his art. The unrivaled drama of bullfighting, with its rigorous combination of athleticism and artistry, and its requisite display of grace under pressure, ignited Hemingway’s imagination. Here he describes and explains the technical aspects of this dangerous ritual and “the emotional and spiritual intensity and pure classic beauty that can be produced by a man, an animal, and a piece of scarlet serge draped on a stick.” Seen through his eyes, bullfighting becomes a richly choreographed ballet, with performers who range from awkward amateurs to masters of great elegance and cunning. A fascinating look at the history and grandeur of bullfighting, “Death in the Afternoon” is also a deeper contemplation of the nature of cowardice and bravery, sport and tragedy, and is enlivened throughout by Hemingway’s sharp commentary on life and literature.

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21 ) Under Kilimanjaro

Under Kilimanjaro Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 21
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 21

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20 ) The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 23
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 13

A moving account of regret and redemption as Harry, a writer and man in his prime, unexpectedly faces death while stranded on the plains of Africa. This classic Hemingway short story was originally published in Esquire magazine in 1936.

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17 ) Green Hills of Africa

Green Hills of Africa Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 20
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 19

Green Hills of Africa is Ernest Hemingway’s lyrical journal of a month on safari in the great game country of East Africa, where he and his wife Pauline journeyed in December 1933. Hemingway’s well-known interest in – and fascination with – big-game hunting is magnificently captured in this evocative account of his trip. It is an examination of the lure of the hunt and an impassioned portrait of the glory of the African landscape and of the beauty of a wilderness that was, even then, being threatened by the incursions of man.

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17 ) Complete Poems

Complete Poems Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 24
  • Amazon: 21
  • LibraryThing: 5

Ernest Hemingway never wished to be widely known as a poet. He concentrated on writing short stories and novels, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1956. But his poetry deserves close attention, if only because it is so revealing. Through verse he expressed anger and disgust—at Dorothy Parker and Edmund Wilson, among others. He parodied the poems and sensibilities of Rudyard Kipling, Joyce Kilmer, Robert Graves, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Gertrude Stein. He recast parts of poems by the likes of Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot, giving them his own twist. And he invested these poems with the preoccupations of his novels: sex and desire, battle and aftermath, cats, gin, and bullfights. Nowhere is his delight in drubbing snobs and overrefined writers more apparent. In this revised edition of the Complete Poems, the editor, Nicholas Gerogiannis, offers here an afterword assessing the influence of the collection, first published in 1979, and an updated bibliography. Readers will be particularly interested in the addition of “Critical Intelligence,” a poem written soon after Hemingway’s divorce from his first wife in 1927.

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17 ) The Essential Hemingway

The Essential Hemingway Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 26
  • LibraryThing: 16

It has been said of Ernest Hemingway that half the writers of the twentieth century have tried to imitate him and the other half have tried not to. A towering figure in the pantheon of American letters, the leading voice of the ‘lost generation’, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature and a Pulitzer Prize, Hemingway is known around the world for the brilliance of his writing. The Essential Hemmingway is the perfect introduction to his astonishing, wide-ranging body of work. This impressive collection includes the full text of Fiesta, Hemingway’s first major novel; long extracts from his three greatest works of fiction, A Farewell to Arms, To Have and Have Not and For Whom the Bell Tolls; twenty-five complete stories; and the breathtaking epilogue to Death in the Afternoon.

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16 ) Dateline: Toronto

Dateline: Toronto Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 21
  • LibraryThing: 27

Los artículos que Hemingway escribió para el Toronto Star entre 1920 y 1924 son en su mayoría anteriores a la carrera literaria del autor. Cuando empezó a escribirlos era un perfecto desconocido, y cuando terminó ya había publicado unos cuantos relatos y novelas breves en ediciones de corta tirada. Sus reportajes para el Toronto Star Weekly y el Toronto Daily Star le permitieron ganarse la vida con la escritura y ver el mundo, en especial Europa, cuando aún era un joven impresionable. En ellos ya se vislumbra lo que sería el estilo del autor: su dominio de los diálogos y algunos temas que serán recurrentes en su obra, de tal manera que, como afirma William White -el especialista en Hemingway encargado de esta selección de artículos-,

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15 ) Three Stories and Ten Poems

Three Stories and Ten Poems Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 22
  • Amazon: 24
  • LibraryThing: 1

Three Stories & Ten Poems was published in Paris by the Contact Publishing Co. in 1923. There were 300 copies of the first and only printing. This facsimile is published by permission of the Hemingway Estate. These three stories represent all that remained of Hemingway’s early work after the suitcase full of his manuscripts was stolen in the Gare de Lyon.

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14 ) The Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 12
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 15

A sensational bestseller when it appeared in 1986, The Garden of Eden is the last uncompleted novel of Ernest Hemingway, which he worked on intermittently from 1946 until his death in 1961. Set on the Côte d’Azur in the 1920s, it 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. “A lean, sensuous narrative…taut, chic, and strangely contemporary,”

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13 ) The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War

The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 17

Featuring Hemingway’s only full-length play, which–like the stories here–grew out of his experiences in and around a besieged Madrid, this volume brilliantly evokes the tumultuous years of the Spanish Civil War. These works, which grew from Hemingway’s adventures as a newspaper correspondent in and around besieged Madrid, movingly portray the effects of war on soldiers, civilians, and the correspondents sent to cover it.

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12 ) Winner Take Nothing

Winner Take Nothing Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 23
  • LibraryThing: 7

Ernest Hemingway’s first new book of fiction since the publication of “A Farewell to Arms” in 1929 contains fourteen stories of varying length. Some of them have appeared in magazines but the majority have not been published before. The characters and backgrounds are widely varied. “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” is about an old Spanish Beggar. “Homage to Switzerland” concerns various conversations at a Swiss railway-station restaurant. “The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio” is laid in the accident ward of a hospital in Western United States, and so on. Ernest Hemingway made his literary start as a short-story writer. He has always excelled in that medium, and this volume reveals him at his best.

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11 ) The Dangerous Summer

The Dangerous Summer Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 16
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 20

The Dangerous Summer is Hemingway’s firsthand chronicle of a brutal season of bullfights. In this vivid account, Hemingway captures the exhausting pace and pressure of the season, the camaraderie and pride of the matadors, and the mortal drama as in fight after fight the rival matadors try to outdo each other with ever more daring performances. At the same time Hemingway offers an often complex and deeply personal self-portrait that reveals much about one of the twentieth century’s preeminent writers.

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9 ) Men Without Women

Men Without Women Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 15
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 14

First published in 1927, Men Without Women represents some of Hemingway’s most important and compelling early writing. In these fourteen stories, Hemingway begins to examine the themes that would occupy his later works: the casualties of war, the often uneasy relationship between men and women, sport and sportsmanship. In “Banal Story,” Hemingway offers a lasting tribute to the famed matador Maera. “In Another Country” tells of an Italian major recovering from war wounds as he mourns the untimely death of his wife. “The Killers” is the hard-edged story about two Chicago gunmen and their potential victim. Nick Adams makes an appearance in “Ten Indians,” in which he is presumably betrayed by his Indian girlfriend, Prudence. And “Hills Like White Elephants” is a young couple’s subtle, heartwrenching discussion of abortion. Pared down, gritty, and subtly expressive, these stories show the young Hemingway emerging as America’s finest short story writer.

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9 ) The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 18
  • LibraryThing: 8

The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926,

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8 ) A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 10

A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep. Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right.

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7 ) Islands in the Stream

Islands in the Stream Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 11

First published in 1970, nine years after Ernest Hemingway’s death, Islands in the Stream is the story of an artist and adventurer — a man much like Hemingway himself. Rich with the uncanny sense of life and action characteristic of his writing — from his earliest stories (In Our Time) to his last novella (The Old Man and the Sea) — this compelling novel contains both the warmth of recollection that inspired A Moveable Feast and a rare glimpse of Hemingway’s rich and relaxed sense of humor, which enlivens scene after scene. 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, where his loneliness is broken by the vacation visit of his three young sons, to his antisubmarine activities off the coast of Cuba during World War II. The greater part of the story takes place in a Havana bar, where a wildly diverse cast of characters — including an aging prostitute who stands out as one of Hemingway’s most vivid creations — engages in incomparably rich dialogue. A brilliant portrait of the inner life of a complex and endlessly intriguing man, Islands in the Stream is Hemingway at his mature best.

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6 ) In Our Time

In Our Time Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 12

In Our Time contains several early Hemingway classics, including the famous Nick Adams stories “Indian Camp,” “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife,” “The Three Day Blow,” and “The Battler,” and introduces readers to the hallmarks of the Hemingway style: a lean, tough prose — enlivened by an ear for the colloquial and an eye for the realistic that suggests, through the simplest of statements, a sense of moral value and a clarity of heart. Now recognized as one of the most original short story collections in twentieth-century literature, In Our Time provides a key to Hemingway’s later works.

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5 ) The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 12
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 9

It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

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4 ) For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 11
  • LibraryThing: 4

For Whom the Bell Tolls. The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan’s love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo’s last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving and wise. “If the function of a writer is to reveal reality,” Maxwell Perkins wrote to Hemingway after reading the manuscript, “no one ever so completely performed it.” Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author’s previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.

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3 ) A Moveable Feast

A Moveable Feast Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 3

Hemingway’s memories of his life as an unknown writer living in Paris in the twenties are deeply personal, warmly affectionate and full of wit. Looking back not only at his own much younger self, but also at the other writers who shared Paris with him – James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald – he recalls the time when, poor, happy and writing in cafes, he discovered his vocation. Written during the last years of Hemingway’s life, his memoir is a lively and powerful reflection of his genius that scintillates with the romance of the city.

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2 ) By-Line: Ernest Hemingway

By-Line: Ernest Hemingway Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 2
  • LibraryThing: 5

Selected Articles & Dispatches of Four Decades Spanning the years from 1920 to 1956, this priceless collection of pieces written by Hemingway ranges from articles for the “Toronto Star” and the Hearst newspapers to popular magazines such as “Esquire, Collier’s” and “Look”, and includes Hemingway’s vivid eyewitness accounts of the Spanish Civil War and World War II.

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1 ) The Nick Adams Stories

The Nick Adams Stories Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 2

The Nick Adams Stories show a memorable character growing from child to adolescent to soldier, veteran, writer & parent–a sequence closely paralleling events of Hemingway’s life. The 1st section, called Northern Woods, includes “Three Shots”, “Indian Camp”, “The Doctor & the Doctor’s Wife”, “Ten Indians” & “The Indians Moved Away”. The 2nd section, On His Own, includes “The Light of the World”, “The Battler”, “The Killers”, “The Last Good Country” & “Crossing the Mississippi”. The 3rd section, War, has “Night Before Landing”, “Nick Sat Against the Wall”, “Now I Lay Me”, “A Way You’ll Never Be” & “In Another Country”. The 4th section, Soldier Home, has “Big Two-Hearted River”, “The End of Something”, “The Three-Day Blow” & “Summer People”. The 5th section, Company of Two, has “Wedding Day”, “On Writing”, “An Alpine Idyll”, “Cross-Country Snow” & “Fathers & Sons”.

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Ernest Hemingway’s Best Books

Ernest Hemingway Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
The Nick Adams Stories 272 1
By-Line: Ernest Hemingway 525 2
A Moveable Feast 393 3
For Whom the Bell Tolls 4114 4
The Old Man and the Sea 1239 5
In Our Time 9412 6
Islands in the Stream 6911 7
A Farewell to Arms 91110 8
Men Without Women 15414 9
The Sun Also Rises 7188 9
The Dangerous Summer 16420 11
Winner Take Nothing 11237 12
The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War 18717 13
The Garden of Eden 121615 14
Three Stories and Ten Poems 22241 15
Dateline: Toronto 12127 16
Green Hills of Africa 201119 17
Complete Poems 24215 17
The Essential Hemingway 82616 17
The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories 231613 20
Under Kilimanjaro 211121 21
Death in the Afternoon 142617 22
Ernest Hemingway: Cub Reporter 28129 23
To Have and Have Not 181822 23
Across the River and into the Trees 251124 25
Hemingway, The Wild Years 162623 26
The Torrents of Spring 271826 27
True at First Light 262425 28
88 Poems 292628 29