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Fri., Jan. 29, 2010, 5:57 a.m.

Salinger passes away…

An old outdated AP photo of Salinger
An old outdated AP photo of Salinger

Good morning, Netizens...


J.D. Salinger, one of my personal favorite authors has died. His most-notable book, “Catcher in the Rye”, was banned by the schools when I attended high school. However, I had already shifted my literary tastes to where I no longer was dependent upon their censored library for literature, and was covertly purchasing books I wanted to read, all of which were stored in the bottom of my high school locker. Upon graduation, I boxed all these banned books up and hid them at my grandparents' house where they stayed for most of two decades in the attic.


George Orwell (various books), Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five), Vladamir Nabokov (Lolita), John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye were just a few of the authors and titles the school board had determined I should not read. Nearly all the books, in later years, became required reading; nearly all were popular best-sellers. So much for censorship.


Of course, I immediately identified with the book's protagonist, Holden Caulfield, and once I had read the book, I began searching for other works by the same author, without a great deal of success.


To say that Salinger was a recluse, which is what a lot of the news sources have been saying since he passed away two days ago, is hardly news. Based upon his experience, he did not like literary success, and assiduously avoided publicity and/or fanfare. I hardly can disagree with his position.


Rumors have persisted that a safe at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire contains several other books which Salinger had written during his life, but never published, perhaps out of aversion to the hue and cry. One might presume that, in his death, the contents of that safe, if they exist, will be revealed to the world, and his heirs will make a bundle. One can hope.


Did you ever read Catcher in the Rye?


Dave




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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.