Oct 12, 2011

About Books Blog 50: The Catcher in the Rye


Author: J.D. Salinger 
Genre: General Fiction 

 Favorite Line 

 “I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.” 


 Holden Caulfield relates the tale of the two days after he gets expelled from yet another “phony” prep school. 

 My Thoughts 

 The Catcher in the Rye is a book where everything happens, and yet nothing exactly happens. This is because the actual events in the plot a fairly simplistic. I felt the fact that the events were simple worked in the book’s favor. It allowed the reader to really focus on the thoughts to the main character, Holden Caulfield. 

 He’s quite a likeable character despite his flaws. He’s immature, socially inept, perhaps a little overly fond of using vulgar language, and finds almost everything depressing. With most characters these traits would probably annoy me. However, with Holden they are oddly endearing, and occasionally hilarious. I think the fact that he is a flawed character is what makes him so relate-able to so many people.

The best thing about the novel is that Salinger wrote it with a style that is similar to how everyone in real life thinks, very free-flowing and impromptu. I had to be careful about getting too into the writing style though. When I was in a good mood I could just enjoy the story. When I was in a bad mood I started writing my blog posts with an attitude very close to the book’s protagonist. For example I wrote this on my song blog one night: “I’m in a weird mood lately. Not a bad mood just weird. I can’t really explain it.” If that doesn’t sound a little like Holden I don’t know what does. Ha ha! Overall, I had great fun reading this book. It’s kind of wacky, but extremely awesome. 

 Facts I Found Interesting 

. In 1981 The Catcher in the Rye was both the most censored novel and the second most studied novel in public schools. 

 . The character Holden and some of his family members are featured in several of Salinger’s short works. A couple of where actually adapted to be chapters in The Catcher in the Rye.

. There is fan fiction for this book. I haven’t actually read any of it, but I just found it interesting that it exists. 

. The book is associated with many assassinations. I can’t say that I truly understand why. I can only think of one instance where the main character imagines committing an act of violence, and by then I was so used to the way he thinks that I didn't take it seriously. I wrote it off as a strong bout of teenage angst. I have to admit that Holden is perhaps a bit emotionally disturbed. A problem which I think stems from the death of his brother and other experiences. Yes he does need therapy, but he’s not a complete psycho. The more I analyzed it the more I came to the conclusion that you would have to be really nuts to see anything in the novel that would lead you to kill people. Thankfully most of us are not that crazy. 

 The Movie 

 There have been many attempts at adapting The Catcher in the Rye into a film, but nothing successful. There are a variety of logistical reasons for the lack of a film or stage production. However, it all boils down to the fact that the author never wished to sell the rights to the novel to anyone. I'm not sure how it would work as a film anyway. I mean you’d have to adapt it in just the right way to make a movie about a boy wondering aimlessly around New York truly interesting. If you didn't get the perfect script and the perfect actors it just wouldn't work. I when I was checking out Netflix I found a few films and documentaries inspired by the novel or J.D Salinger himself. Of course, the book has been incorporated into the plot of several shows and movies. If you want a to watch film actually based on a literary work by J.D. Salinger you can watch “My Foolish Heart,” which is based on his story “Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut.” I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I'm thinking about watching it soon. I haven’t read the story either. I will possibly look it up for Short Story of the Week sometime, and then I can tell you what I think of both of them. 

 Music To Read By 

 I didn’t listen to music for this one. It did make me think of a lot of songs though which I would hum in my head while reading. Interestingly enough The Catcher in the Rye has inspired or been mentioned in several songs. I included a few of these songs on my playlist.

The Catcher in the Rye Playlist

Outsider - The Ramones
Runaway - Linkin' Park
Who Wrote Holden Caulfield - Green Day
Tin Man - Landon Pigg
No Sunlight - Death Cab For Cutie
Oscillate Wildly - The Smiths
I'm Not Talkin' - The Yardbirds
Creep (Radio Edit) - Radiohead
What's My Age Again - Blink-182
God Put A Smile On Your Face - Coldplay
Mad World - Gary Jules
Catcher in the Rye - Gun 'n' Roses
Walking Disaster - Sum 41
Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Radio Edit) - Green Day
Dream On - Aerosmith
The Hard Way - Fort Minor
Catcher in the Rye - Datarock
Unwell - Matchbox 20
Map of The Problematique - Muse
Summer-Tempo Impettuoso d'estate - Atonio Vivaldi
American Tune - Paul Simon
Lost! - Coldplay

Well that's all folks. Happy reading and keep it shiny!


LoriStrongin said...

As if I didn't love you already.....

Catcher in the Rye is actually my favorite book. I first read it when I was 15, and I've reread it at least once a year ever since then. I honestly can't pinpoint what it is I love about this book so much, but I discover something new every time. My absolute favorite scene is where Holden is crossing the street, pulling his red hat closer around his head, and begging Allie not to leave him again. God, my heart breaks every time!


educationdiva said...

I love the idea of creating a play list to match a book. Your blog is very creative, informative, and fun to read. You have some of my favourites reads here! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Hamlet. Will you create a play list? That should be interesting!
I review some books on my blog as well, if you're interested. (Kids and adults.)

Anonymous said...

I agree I think the playlist idea is really neat and if you want that bears some resemblance to Catcher in the Rye; checkout Igby Goes down.

I love J.D. Salinger. I first read Catcher in the Rye when I was 15 and it has been my favorite book since.
In fact when I was 17 I wrote a book similar in style and I am now trying to get it published. Please check it out.

Farewell to Youth by Yossarian T. Merak