Reclusive author J.D. Salinger died Jan. 27 at the age of 91. Last September, Slate critics Stephen Metcalf and Troy Patterson, and James Ryerson of the New York Times Magazine gathered to discuss Salinger's most famous and influential novel: perennial high school favorite The Catcher in the Rye. Their conversation is reprinted below.
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.
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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.
A Vindication of Love, by Cristina Nehring
Thy Neighbor's Wife, by Gay Talese
"The Swimmer," by John Cheever, and "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," by Flannery O'Connor
Atmospheric Disturbances, by Rivka Galchen
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Night of the Gun, by David Carr
American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
Beautiful Children, by Charles Bock
All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson
The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
Independence Day, by Richard Ford
The Emperor's Children, by Claire Messud
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Everyman, by Philip Roth
Saturday, by Ian McEwan
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
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