I've talked about him so often on this blog, and I've mentioned Catcher so often, I might as well review a couple of his books that effected me so permanently--but not in a Mark David Chapman kind of way.
Catcher in the Rye
Loved it because it's universal, an onion that never loses its layers. Constantly re-read. Loved so much I obnoxiously utter the whole paragraph of the carousel scene at the end to anyone at anytime. I have 3 copies of it--one, a hardcover, just so I can look at it on the shelf. Any non-burgundy cover--except for the hardcover with the carousel horse and NYC, of course--is blasphemy. I'm sadly serious about this.
I read this because one day in senior English class, after finishing Bang the Drum Slowly, I poured over the list of accepted books to read for class and found it. I thought it was a story of a down-on-his-luck baseball catcher who was playing so low in the minors that he had to play in rye fields, or something. My English teacher at the time said, "Oh, that book's perfect for you." Considering its sometimes lurid reputation since, I've always wondered exactly what she meant by that. But I was afraid to ask...
Franny & Zooey
It ain't Catcher, but it ain't bad. Catcher and Nine Stories are better, but you can see the genius at work here, too. Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Nine Stories are must-reads, too. A short story in Nine Stories, "A Good Day for Bananafish," is about Seymour Glass, oldest sibling of the Glass family, covered more thoroughly in Franny and Zooey--and the basis of the family in the movie, The Royal Tannenbaums.