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Friday, January 29, 2010

A brief goodbye to J.D. Salinger

Not the most cheerful of topics for a Friday, but I felt I couldn't let the passing of J.D. Salinger go unmentioned. New York Times obit here. In today's world of "famous for being famous" wannabees like Speidi and Paris, it's interesting to contemplate how the author of one of the most well known books in the world actively shunned the spotlight for all of those years. No interviews, no new books. To the point of being labeled a recluse. Apparently he still wrote all the time, but for his own pleasure, not for publication.

It may sound cliched, but I must say that I've read The Catcher in the Rye no fewer than 20 times. And each time it's better than the last. It's become a comfort book for me, one I reach for if I'm ever feeling a bit out of sorts...or just want to read a book I know is great. I don't usually re-read books, but this one is an exception.


I find it so interesting that Salinger turned down countless offers for his book to be made into a movie or a play. On one hand, it could be genius on the screen or stage. On the other hand, someone could really butcher it. But I must admit that I'd love the movie version if only for the visuals- well-dressed prep school students, Holden's Mark Cross luggage, glamorous ladies dolled up and dragging on a cigarette, the glitz of 50's New York. Sort of like a precursor to Mad Men.


Salinger's other books- Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenters never really had the appeal to me that The Catcher in the Rye did.  


Perhaps I'll be pulling out my tattered, dogeared, highlighted version of The Catcher in the Rye this week and giving it a spin. Have a great weekend, everyone!


tarheel said...

I love him. And I like having Holden in my mind rather than on the screen!

Lalla said...

The Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorites too! I agree with the last poster - I wonder if it would mess up my vision of Holder to see him on a movie screen. Great post!

Elle Moselle said...

I've only read Catcher in the Rye once, but now I feel the sudden urge to go out and buy a copy to take a second look. Having to read things for class kind of takes the enjoyment out of them for me, especially since I can't read them at my own pace. Regardless, I hope Salinger is able to rest in peace. Goodbye, brilliant writer and thanks so much for your contributions to the literary world.

Thank you for this post!

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