I think favorite books are often just as much a matter of fate as the quality of the work itself. When I read Farewell to Arms the winter of 2011, I was in just the right place to be awed by Hemingway's novel of love in the midst of war. It's really too bad that Hemingway's reputation so often overshadows his work because his work is a revelation. I find his books more interesting and enjoyable than the works of Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, or Faulkner. There's an unpretentious honesty to it. There are so very few writers I can think of who handle dialogue so well. Reading his dialogue, one feels like he is listening in on a very private conversation - there is such a naturalness to it. Comparatively, the dialogue of other writers feels stilted and derived for the sake of plot - the reader can sense the strings being pulled from behind the curtain. It's the dialogue between Catherine and Frederic that makes this story special. It shows a level of intimacy that is so rare in relationships. As a result, the reader feels so deeply that shocking maw that opens up at the story's end.