Stephen Metcalf, Troy Patterson, and James Ryerson discuss The Catcher in the Rye.

Discussing new and classic works.
Sept. 17 2009 10:27 AM

The Audio Book Club on J.D. Salinger

Our critics discuss The Catcher in the Rye.

To listen to the Slate Audio Book Club discussion of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, click the arrow on the player below.

You can also download the audio file here, or click here to subscribe to the Slate Audio Book Club feed in iTunes.

Get your 14-day free trial of Gabfest sponsor Audible.com, which includes a credit for one free audiobook, here.

This month, the Audio Book Club tackles J.D. Salinger's classic novel The Catcher in the Rye. This massive cultural touchstone's protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is the iconic teenage rebel. (Stephen argues that you can find traces of Holden in all the works of Wes Anderson, the films Tadpoleand Igby Goes Down, and the novel Prep.) It's also a market phenomenon, with about 250,000 copies sold each year and total sales of more than 65 million.

But Catcher's influence may be on the decline. In a reported New York Times piece this summer, Jennifer Schuessler argued that adolescents are no longer so taken with Holden or with Salinger's writing. Are kids today on to something? Is Catcher a phony? Or does the novel have lasting value?

Slate's Audio Book Club now comes to you on the third Monday instead of the third Thursday of every month. (Sorry for the change up!) Our selection for October is Nicholson Baker's 10th novel, The Anthologist. Look for our discussion of The Anthologist on iTunes or on the Slatehomepage on Monday, Oct. 19.

You can also listen to any of our previous club meetings through our iTunes feed or by clicking on the links below *:

Questions? Comments? Write to us at podcasts@slate.com. (E-mailers may be quoted by name unless they request otherwise.)

* To download the MP3 file,right-click (Windows) or hold down the Control key while you click (Mac), and then use the "save" or "download" command to save the audio file to your hard drive.

Stephen Metcalf is Slate's critic at large. He is working on a book about the 1980s.

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

James Ryerson is an editor at the New York Times.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

How Moscow’s Anti-War March Revealed One of Russia’s Deepest Divides

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 7:46 PM Azealia Banks’ New Single Is Her Best in Years
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.