Did you happen to catch the huge article about J.D. Salinger in The New York Times a couple weeks ago? It's a great read.
I've been rather fascinated with Salinger since high school. While I skimmed through most of the books I was assigned to read (not out of a sense of anti-establishment idealism, but out of laziness), I did get through and love all of Nine Stories, his short fiction collection, and I almost got to the end of The Catcher in the Rye. (I told you I have trouble with novels, even if I love them!)
The fact that he's been in seclusion in New Hampshire since the 50s and that he's not released anything else he's written since the 60s has added to the myth, a myth so intriguing that I actually read W.P. Kinsella's novel, Shoeless Joe, from cover to cover because Salinger actually appeared as a character. It's strange, funny, and heartbreaking. (Shoeless Joe was later made into the Kevin Costner film, Field of Dreams, and the Salinger character was replaced by a fictional author played by James Earl Jones.) I also wrote a short play in college that was built around Salinger's hermit-like lifestyle.
Okay. What should I do? Read Nine Stories over again (it's been about decade, maybe more), read The Catcher in the Rye from beginning to end, or try one of his other books? (Granted, this is not a high priority—I have a about a half dozen novels written by my novelists friends in the queue. [Couldn't you all have been flash fiction writers instead?])
Read the entire article here.