Wednesday, January 5, 2011

J.D. Salinger

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.


  1. I was Salinger crazy in high school. I actually picked up "Catcher" because I was (and am) a big Beatles fan and I was curious why the man who shot John Lennon would read that book after doing so.

    I liked "Catcher," but I enjoyed Salinger's Glass Family stories more. I love "Nine Stories" (For Esme with Love and Squalor, A Perfect Day for Bannanafish, Teddy), but I also really liked "Seymour an Introduction"-- there were a few sections of that story I really loved. One was a paragraph about blooming parenthesis, the other was a story about how Buddy and Seymour used to be up all night secretly reading and how Seymour could sometimes go days without sleep. It didn't make him tired, but it made his feet cold. Their mother could tell how little the boys had been sleeping by how many pairs of socks Seymour was wearing. I loved that, and used to wish that was the only sleep deprivation side effect that I would suffer.

    1. Wow, four years too late responding...Sorry about that! Anyway, I agree that his Glass stories were also very good, as were Seymour: An Introduction, and Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters--just for the title alone, if nothing else. Sorry again for the extreme slowness. I miss your responses!