j.d. salinger

The Catcher In The Rye (The Movie)

There have been multiple attempts to adapt J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher In The Rye” to film. In fact J.D. Salinger turned down a long list of notables, including Goldwyn, Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan (for the stage rights), and Steven Spielberg, among others, for the rights. Despite that, in 2008, Nigel Tomm released an adaptation of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher In The Rye”. However, the movie is not what you might expect.

This is 75 minutes and 6 seconds of pure blue screen. Nothing less and nothing more. Abstract film by Nigel Tomm demolishes the boundaries of new absurdism. In 1951, a novel ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J. D. Salinger was published. In 2008, a film ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ directed by Nigel Tomm was filmed. Intelligent. Eccentric and subversive. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by Nigel Tomm preserves and destroys, it lifts and anchors, it aids and hinders, it’s convenient and frustrating. It has two sides. The most extravagant depths of your wildest imagination are packed in 75 minutes and 6 seconds of pure blue screen. Breathtaking.

If you are interested you can watch the movie in its entirety here.

A Literary Canon For 1974

Recently the Guardian ran an article by Rick Gekoski in which he laments the lack of a modern-day literary canon – a list of culturally essential books that one is expected/assumed to have read in order to be considered culturally literate. A list of books that have found their place in today’s common culture; books that people know about, relate to, discuss, and converge around. Referring to his past, Gekoski says,

…within our middle-class, educated world there was a canon, which wasn’t limited to Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Scott Fitzgerald. You could assume people had read the hot contemporary books; when they hadn’t, it occasioned not merely puzzlement, but disapproval

Rick Gekoski suggests that, in 1974, if you hadn’t read all of the following list of 21 books (all published in the 21 years preceding 1974, making it a modern canon at the time) then you could have garnered criticism and condemnation from his peer group.

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir (1953)
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (1953)
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)
Eros and Civilization by Herbert Marcuse (1955)
Howl by Allen Ginsberg (1956)
The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm (1956)
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
Life Against Death by Norman O Brown (1959)
The Divided Self by RD Laing (1960)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
The Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan (1962)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (1962)
The Story of O by Pauline Reage (1965)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley (1965)
The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris (1967)
Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver (1967)
Miami and the Siege of Chicago by Norman Mailer (1968)
The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda (1968)
The Primal Scream by Arthur Janov (1970)
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer (1971)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycling Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig (1974)

I would argue that Rick Gekoski is wrong in suggesting that there is no modern-day literary cannon. Tomorrow I will list 21 books, published in the last twenty years, that I believe represent today’s literary canon.

Top 10 Most Banned Books: 2009

Banned books week is here again. Every year, there are hundreds of attempts to remove books from schools and libraries. Celebrate your freedom to read and right to choose your book during Banned Books Week, September 25th to October 2nd. For more information visit the American Library Association.

Last year during banned books week I posted the top 10 most challenged books for each year spanning 2001 to 2008. Below you is the most recently updated list of the top ten most banned books for 2009:


  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality
  3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group
  5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

The Death List

The Death List takes a stab (hah!) at determining which celebrities will die during the current year. The 2010 death list contains 50 celebrities, so far two of them have died – J.D. Salinger and Michael Foot. There are some rules to the list:

  • Candidates must be famous in their own right such that their death is expected to be reported by the UK media, however candidates cannot be famous purely for the fact they are likely to die soon.
  • A maximum of 25 candidates on the previous year’s list can reappear on the next year’s list.

It is unclear how the list is ranked but these celebrities round out the top ten:

  1. Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi
  2. Ronnie Biggs
  3. Anna Wing
  4. Zsa Zsa Gabor
  5. Oscar Niemeyer
  6. Michael Foot (Dead)
  7. Chapman Pincher
  8. Eli Wallach
  9. Norman Wisdom
  10. Fidel Castro

Book List

Radcliffes List of the 100 best novels

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
13. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
23. Their Eyes are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
41. Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
52. Howards End by E.M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
68. Light in August by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Tokias by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

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