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  • January 2010
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J.D. Salinger

“Life is a gift horse in my opinion.” – From 9 Stories, “Teddy” (1953)

Jerome David Salinger, perhaps the world’s most popular cult author, literary recluse, and American genius died today, apparently of old age. (He was 91 years old, so that stands to reason.)

The author gained lasting and unwelcome fame when his story of put-upon teenage misanthrope Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye, was published in 1951. (The New York Times calls Holden “America’s best-known literary truant since Huckleberry Finn.”)

Salinger found his most vociferous audience among those teenagers and young(er) adults who saw in his characters kindred spirits, a literary cadre of friends as world-weary as any young person has a right to be.

In the decade after Catcher in the Rye‘s publication, Salinger released three more books (the short-story collection 9 Stories as well as compilations Franny & Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour – an Introduction all featuring his Glass family characters) before withdrawing from society to an estate in New Hampshire where he lived out the rest of his life in near solitude. From that point on, the writing continued but the publishing stopped. “I like to write. I love to write.” Salinger said, “But I write just for myself and my own pleasure.”

Now is a great time to revisit Salinger, or pick up one of his books for the first time. If you enjoy authors like John Green, Ned Vizzini, and Per Nilsson or titles such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, and King Dork, chances are you’ll love J.D. Salinger.

Here’s one of my favorite Salinger quotes (leave yours in the comments section as a tribute!):

“The worst thing that being an artist could do to you would be that it would make you slightly unhappy constantly.”

– Corey – Main

2 Responses

  1. Also, my username is a Salinger reference! It refers to his great short story ‘For Esme – with Love and Squalor’ from 9 Stories. Check it ‘aht!

  2. Thanks, Corey … solid piece.

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