In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. An Announcement
  2. What Salinger Read
  3. A Disappearing Book Genre
  4. Recession Snows Tahoe Under
  5. Forever Young
  6. Opening Soon: Psychic
  7. Bye-Bye LA
  8. Mighty Kingdom Far, Far Away
  9. The Harder They Fall
  10. Maazel Tov

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« A Disappearing Book Genre | Main | An Announcement »

January 28, 2010

What Salinger Read

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

As many readers know by now, author J.D. Salinger died yesterday.

And many readers have read Salinger. Even not-so-lit me read "The Catcher in the Rye" when I was too young to really understand all the East Coast stuff it inhabited.

Speaking of reading preferences, what were Salinger's?

Roger L. Simon comes to the rescue with this anecdote. Key passage:

My encounters with Salinger happened when I was a Dartmouth student (1964). The already reclusive Salinger would appear on the campus occasionally, usually to make a stop at the Dartmouth Bookstore to stock up on books. (He lived some twenty miles off in the town of Cornish, N. H.)

When he was around, word would go out to the artier types at the college and we would slip over to the bookstore and, well, stalk the famous writer, I guess you could say. By then he had published Franny and Zooey, among other works, which we greatly admired. But many of us were puzzled that the majority of his purchases were mere mystery paperbacks – Dorothy Sayers was one of his favorites. Undergraduate snobs, we had expected Dostoevsky or Camus.

This deserves further comment, but I'm not equipped to deliver. Are you there, Michael Blowhard? Anyone?



posted by Donald at January 28, 2010


Why is it so surprising? I always assumed that if you loved writing, then you loved reading, and loving reading means reading what you take pleasure in. I love the heavy stuff, but if one was to go through my Barnes and Noble purchase ratio, the bulk of it would be science fiction and graphic novels. In other words Neal Stephenson is as important a writer to me as Dostoevsky.

Posted by: Spike Gomes on January 29, 2010 12:44 AM

"Undergraduate snobs, we had expected Dostoevsky or Camus." Perhaps he didn't enjoy reading in Russian or French. (Surely no snob would imagine reading those chaps in translation?)

Posted by: dearieme on January 29, 2010 1:29 PM

And another thing. Dorothy Sayer is good fun if you enjoy seeing an author falling in love with a character that she created.

Posted by: dearieme on January 29, 2010 1:30 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?