J.D. Salinger's passing bums me out, but this article about Salinger by Lillian Ross got me thinking about his utter awesome-ness.
I've probably read Catcher in the Rye more than 20 times, and loved it more each time, but I don't think it'd be half as wonderful without J.D. Salinger being a total punk in real life. He saw the connection between being a writer and being narcissistic, and he avoided ruin by isolating himself from people who wanted to lavish him with praise--something he considered damaging.
In the New Yorker article, Lillian Ross says:
"The older and crankier he got, the more convinced he was that in the end all writers get pretty much what’s coming to them: the destructive praise and flattery, the killing attention and appreciation. ...He talked about how easily writers could become vain, complaining that they got puffed up by the same 'authorities' who approved putting monosodium glutamate in baby food."
Have you read The Catcher in the Rye? Should we have a group reading of the original YA novel? I'll lead the discussion. Let me know if you're in, or if you're just a crummy phony.