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The Catcher in the Rye

Jan 29 2010

Too Many Goodbyes

by Lesley B

CatcherThis has been a sad month for the world of books and readers. We lost Robert Parker, mystery writer, on January 19. Howard Zinn, the people’s historian, died January 27 and yesterday came the news that  J.D. Salinger, reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye, has died at the age of 91. According to their obituaries, Parker and Zinn were writing up to the very end. Parker was especially prolific and at least two finished books will appear after his death; but Salinger famously stopped publishing 45 years ago, although he continued to write fiction.  The author fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep his unpublished letters private. If Salinger had novels and stories locked away, will his family decide to publish them? If they do, will you read them? I’m not sure I will. It seems disrespectful to read work the author so definitely did not want me to see. When unfinished works are published after an author dies,  I always wonder if the writer was really ready for me to see his work. We readers can be greedy and we want more of the characters and stories that we love, but I feel like I’ve arrived too early at a party. My company was requested—but not just yet, please.

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Oct 2 2008

The Catcher in the Rye

by Jimmy L

One of my favorite books ever was also a very controversial one.  It has been frequently challenged and banned, and yet it has also become one of the most studied books in high school classrooms across the country.  If you really want to hear about it, the first thing the bookseller told me when I took my used copy of The Catcher in the Rye up to the counter was “Hope you’re not thinking about becoming a mass murderer!” followed by an uncomfortable chuckle at his own joke.

Indeed, this book has earned quite a reputation.  In addition to having profanity and sexual content, it was also the book that Mark David Chapman was sporting when he was arrested after assassinating John Lennon.  John Hinckley, Jr., the attempted assassinator of Ronald Reagan, was also obsessed with the book.

But when I read this book, I don’t see any of that.  Just a warning, spoilers follow:

[read the rest of this post…]

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