Friday, January 29, 2010

J.D. Salinger dies

There's a small number of books I read when I was a teen that stuck out in my mind so much that I still have a visual memory of reading the words on their page and where I was when I was reading them. Among these are Hiroshima (John Hersey), One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez), To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Alex Haley), and Catcher In The Rye (J.D. Salinger).

Maybe not the most impressive list — I should have read far more than I did, but I was busy getting good grades and that didn't necessitate reading great literature — but I was reading for my enjoyment, not to dazzle anyone.

The last author listed there, J.D. Salinger, has died, at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. He was ninety-one.

The book impressed me, though not in the life-changing way that made some people hunt down poor Mr Salinger so they could tell him how life-changing it was. If I'd met him, I would have simply said, "I loved your book," and then asked him how New Hampshire was. I remember from the book thinking how screwed up some adults were and how that ended up screwing up some kids and adolescents. (That message resonated a bit with me, because at the time I was in some student leadership positions where I ended up going head-to-head with a handful of teachers and administrators who, well, had lackluster ethics and were in need of recalibrating their moral compass and their life's direction; that's all I have to say about that.)

Requiescat in pace, Mr Salinger.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, "Catcher" was a memorable book. Made all the more popular because it was on the proscribed list at my high school (zealous principle, Baptist dominated school board). Although it was a bit of a disappointment when we actually got to read it. "This is a banned book?" Most of us in the late '70s we having much more morally debauched weekends than the main character. But the church ladies on the school board were probably not aware of it.


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