Wednesday, September 15, 2010


the boychik is taking a class this year in school called "epic and heroic literature."  he's fairly excited to read some more greek myths, and the teacher includes comic books as well (yay!), but i was stoked to see catcher in the rye on there.  i tried to mention it in an offhand way, like "oh, i have that book."  i know as well as anyone who lives with a teenager, that the best way to get him to automatically hate something is to talk about how much i LOVE it.  take neil gaiman for instance; i've tried to get the boychik to check out his work, and he just rolls his eyes at me and makes "gay-man" jokes.  so for now i'm all hush-hush about how good the book is, and how i think he'll appreciate holden's contempt for phonies.

i have to admit, though, that the first few times i read catcher, i hated it.  or rather, i found the writing oddly stiff and holden insufferable.  i actually read it three times before i realized i liked it, which i know sounds weird ("why re-read a book you hated?") but as much as holden made me crazy, the story and certain lines from it would stick around in my head, or come back to me at odd times (like the chorus of Copa Cabana), and i would pick the book up again.  i knew that the fact that i couldn't just brush it off meant something.  after having an "a ha!" moment with catcher, realizing i liked it more than i thought, i read everything else i could get my hands on.  talking about the boychik's class and catcher with my sister has got me all stirred up about salinger again.  i'm reading franny and zooey again, and have done a little reading about the upcoming salinger biography.  part of me wonders if i'll even want to read it; the mystery around salinger, his reticence, is oddly compelling.  people who like salinger kind of like that in real life he was a bit of a weirdo hermit.  personally, what could be more romantic than a great writer at home in his little hovel, working away, with no thought to publication or fame?  of course, salinger was famous, and was able to spend a great part of his life working at writing (instead of working at some office job) because of his literary success.  he was far from some pure artist writing in the woods.  i also don't think neil gaiman's openness via his blog diminishes his work at all, so what's the difference with salinger?  i suspect my curiosity will win out in the end.  although it might wait until the book comes out in paperback...       

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