Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More suggested reading for Banned Book Week

You might think that a book published 55 years ago would have lost its power to shock you, make you laugh or break your heart -- not to mention royally piss off the censors, but J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" is still on the most-challenged list year after year -- ostensibly because of profanity (protagonist Holden Caulfield does like the word "goddamn") prostitution, underage-drinking, premarital sex, and tons of "morons" and "phonies."
Much has been made of the fact that this book is the favorite of nutjob assassins like Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley, and psychologists say it's because misunderstood social outcasts relate to Holden Caulfield -- and he probably is the patron saint of outcasts -- but Holden never shot any of those goddamn phonies. He really in his own clumsy way only wanted to make the world a better place -- that's why he was out there catching all those kids before they fell out of the rye.
And that's why he'll still be out there in that rye a hundred years from now, no matter how hard the book burners try to shut him up.

Here's some trivia about the book from Wikepedia:
  • Holden Caulfield's middle name is Morrisey. Although it does not appear in this book, Salinger used it in a 1946 short story featuring Caulfield called "A Slight Rebellion off Madison," that ran in the New Yorker.
  • The name "Holden Caulfield" first came to Salinger when he saw a movie theater's marquee advertising the 1947 film Dear Ruth, which starred William Holden and Joan Caulfield.
  • The word "fuck" appears in the book only six times and was sometimes given as reason for it being banned. However, in context Holden is trying to remove the word from the walls of a school and the Museum of Natural History to preserve the children's "innocence."
  • The word "goddamn" appears in the book 245 times. However and contrary to popular belief, it is not at least on every other page. (This is a little misleading, it might not be on every single page, but with 245 occurrences in 224 pages it averages out to more than once a page.)
  • Approximately 250,000 copies of The Catcher in the Rye are sold each year, with total sales at about 10 million copies. [1]
  • Is the favorite novel of Terrence Malick, Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Billie Joe Armstrong, David Tennant, Paul Bettany, Sarah Michelle Gellar and the late John Ritter.
  • Simon & Garfunkel originally wanted to name themselves "Catchers in the Rye."

  • "All morons hate it when you call them a moron." Holden Caulfield

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