January 29th, 2010

Lit Bits

1) JD Salinger, literary hero of many youths (including this one) has died. I haven’t read a lot of the coverage, but I have seen a few references to the fellow as the author of “just one novel,” and while I loved The Catcher in the Rye as much as anyone (so much!), I am a bit miffed for Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories (one of my lifetime fave short-story collections), and even Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters and Seymour: an Intorduction, the first half of which I did truly enjoy (and the second…oh dear).

But I can’t feel quite as sad as I think I ought to about the passing of such a great author. Of course, I didn’t know him personally (though my cousin did meet him once in the library at Dartmouth, a fact I always try to seem unimpressed about, and fail). It’s more that I haven’t been reading straight along with him–he stopped publishing decades ago, and I haven’t read any Salinger for the first time since my teens. Unlike, say, Mr. Updike, we weren’t moving along together.

There is a bit of excitement going around that now all his output for the last many years will be revealed and published. I’m not sure that would happen, and anyway, though I greatly hope for something that can stun me like For Esme, with Love and Squalor, I fear a reprise of Hapworth 16, 1924, the last of his published work (in the New Yorker in 1965–that same cousin photocopied an old library copy). I hate that story, though in googling it just now I found some people like. Who knew? It is deeply boring to me. So I am worried that now lots of books will come out by Salinger and I will read them and not like them and be disappointed.

2) From a literary end to a literary beginning: I went with blogger and friend Kerry Clare and her daughter Harriet to Mables Fables in celebration of Family Literacy Week (which is, as it turns out, is not real–it is only Family Literacy Day except on Kerry’s blog. But I am still going to most my family-literacy post today or possibly tomorrow, in solidariy!

*Anyway,* our fieldtrip was wonderful, prefaced by cake and punctuated by the stroller blowing down the sidewalk past the store window. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in seeing photos of a bookstore (er, but why *not*?) you should click on Kerry’s link to see pictures of Harriet, a very lovely baby with great, if over-literal, taste in books!

RR

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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