Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, J. D. Salinger!

Books - Still Revered for ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and the Glass Family, J. D. Salinger Remains Elusive at 90 - NYTimes.com: "[Today], J. D. Salinger turns 90. There probably won’t be a party, or if there is we’ll never know. For more than 50 years Mr. Salinger has lived in seclusion in the small town of Cornish, N.H. For a while it used to be a journalistic sport for newspapers and magazines to send reporters up to Cornish in hopes of a sighting, or at least a quotation from a garrulous local, but Mr. Salinger hasn’t been photographed in decades now and the neighbors have all clammed up. He’s been so secretive he makes Thomas Pynchon seem like a gadabout."

The Catcher in the Rye spoke to me like no other book I read in the 1950s. No doubt it's lost much of its effectiveness for youngsters over the years, but to me it will always be one of the greats.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read it in 1961 or thereabouts and it had a big impact on me at the time, too.

Jeff

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I've read it twice since with amazement.

Bill Crider said...

I've read it several times. I never get tired of it.

Karin M said...

I loved all his books. Time to reread them again.

Michael said...

I first read "Catcher" as a teenager in the late 50s or early 60s, and it hit me like nothing else ever had. Several readings later it still gets me every time, most recently a couple of years ago. What amazes more than anything else is how effortless it seems. Even though you know Salinger was the kind of writer who sweated blood over every word, the blood isn't there on the page. I've often wondered how many would be writers have read this and thought "hey, this looks easy; I could do this." But it's not easy, and you can't do it. And even Salinger couldn't keep it up. Read the last two Glass family stories, "Seymour: An Introduction" and "Hapworth 16, 1924". The blood is all over the pages.

Bill Crider said...

Ditto, Michael!