Posts Tagged ‘Holden Caulfield’

Book Links 10/17/12

October 17, 2012

Yet another  Holden Caulfield link. This is from Jen Doll at The Atlantic. It starts off about the recent book recently bought by Amy Einhorn Books before venturing over to whether we still care about the character of Caulfield, then back to the likelihood of the Salinger estate filing a lawsuit to kill the book. It wasn’t my favorite book in high school, and I was unable to get through a re-reading of it. However, one of the noted criticisms in the article, from some current high schooler, that he can’t care about “some rich kid with a free weekend in New York” is really the bottom of the barrel when it comes to high school lit crit. I think a better question regarding Caulfield’s relevance might be the social maturity of high schoolers now compared to then. Whether they actually are more socially mature or if they’re just better at faking it I’m not sure, but society has certainly shifted a bit over the past fifty years.

Jobs you don’t want? Apparently one of them might be cataloging David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.

Emily Witt at The Cut delves into why adults are reading teen lit. I think she’s hit on something true that it is a bit of escapism, and trying to push another weird middle grade on us (somewhere between teen lit and adult lit it seems) isn’t going to have the same pull.

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Book Links 10/16/12

October 16, 2012

A couple of tributes to the writer Harvey Pekar are taking shape in and around Cleveland libraries over the next few weeks. The statue looks impressive, and I’ll probably make a trek over there to check it out. I like Pekar’s work, his focus on real people and the every day ins and outs of just getting by. If you’re in the area, check out the statue. Buy some American Splendor gear. Watch the incredible movie starring Paul Giammati. It’s all worth it.
Something I’m a little less sure about: someone using Holden Caulfield in their novel. In the end, it should stand on its own merit. At the same time, it’s choosing not to by hauling Caulfield into its structure, opening the door for such criticism.  I have mixed feelings on it (for the record, not thrilled with pretty much anything like this, from Ahab’s Wife to the various Classic Lit + Monsters mash-ups), but I thought it was worth putting out here.

Harper Lee writes a letter to Oprah. I don’t know why she hasn’t put anything else into print since To Kill A Mockingbird, but every time she does put something out before the public, I can only think her voice is one we needed more of over the years. She is smart, she is truthful. It’s an old letter, from 2006, but this is the first time I’ve seen it. So I’m sharing it.

Finally, Ben Masters (author of Noughties)(which I haven’t read) has a nice article up NYT about literary excess. I’m somewhat ashamed to say I don’t read a lot of literary criticism, though I had to sit through a lot of talks about it as the wife went through her MFA program and everyone talked about what gets published, what’s “in,” etc. And from what I’ve gleamed, Masters is right that there does seem to be a preference for pared down prose that goes straight to the point and goes on to the next point (just the facts).  I think people who actually buy books might agree with Masters, too.  In the world of wallets doing the talking, the average best-seller hovers just under 400 pages.