Odyssey Online

Entries from September 2013

New Manuscripts by J.D. Salinger

September 30th, 2013 · Comments Off on New Manuscripts by J.D. Salinger

Late August brought J.D. Salinger news…writing of the upswing in critical work being published on Salinger Michael Cieply and Julie Bosman reported in the New York Times reported that the Salinger estate was in possession of 5 manuscripts by Salinger.  Five. In an unfavorable review of Shane Salerno’s recent work on Salinger written for the Los Angeles Review of Books Cornel Bonca paused from reviewing to describe the manuscripts and the breath of themes and characters that Salinger they reengage, and comes to the conclusion that “they might reroute the course of late 20th-century American literature” (7th paragraph in this long lucid review).

Late summer is a good moment to contemplate Salinger as with the return of students to campus comes the return of youth.  Catcher in the Rye is one of the great treatise on youth, a book to be read when young, a book that makes reading the stuff of youth.  Those of us for whom youth is a memory turn to Salinger has a tangible reminder, for the magic of time travel made real by reading.  The news of new Salinger manuscripts may not make young again, but it certainly infuses early autumn with an optimism that the students here at SLU live out in their academic travels.  It’s good almost October reading news…

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography

Elmore Leonard, RIP

September 2nd, 2013 · Comments Off on Elmore Leonard, RIP

Elmore Leonard is the reason to read print books (rather than e-books).  Leonard died in mid August at the age of 87.  He is best known for his novel Get Shorty (which was made in a very popular film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld starring John Travolta, Danny DeVito and Gene Hackman), and he wrote scores of other books and screenplays.  His prose is elegance itself, no matter how gritty or violent the plots of his works become.  Speaking to his prose he claimed that the secret to his success was “I never show off.” His narratives are expertise wrought as invitation–truly they are stories that nudge you to read just a little further, just a little further, another chapter, all the while the night grows longer.  The impossibility of putting the book down is his legacy as a writer of books.  He is such a master that the world inside of one of the stories begs being held.  They are stories for reading at night when the only light the one overhead, and they beg being found by serendipity.  When I read “Tales of Jim Toole’s Tiny Bookstore” I remembered how I found copies of Leonard’s novels in used bookstores in North Country and in New Hampshire.   They are books to be found the way you meet people, by chance or chanced introduction, and like people, they are best understood face-to-face.

The libraries of the North Country Library System have a fine collection of Elmore Leonard books.  In ODY, we have a number of his more recent books that nicely represent Leonard’s voice and talent:

Elmore Leonard, RIP


Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography

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