Friday, January 29, 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!


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