Monday, February 01, 2010

I've never read "Catcher in the Rye"

People are talking about the author of that book (click the pic for more information), JD Salinger, who died recently. Unfortunately I never had great exposure to that book.

In fact I was thinking about the interview on Chicago Now radio with Chicago TV host Garrard McClendon who said that as a high school teacher he introduced his students to this book. Apparently they loved it, but my only regret is that there was no such teacher in my life who could've introduced this book to me!

Of course that's not to say I wasn't introduced to good literature. You know my history, I went to one of the worst high schools in the city and I was introduced to William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth, and Hamlet. Although MacBeth and Hamlet only solidified my admiration for the "Bard".

For me I have to think about what other literary pieces I have read and there was very few. Starting in the 7th Grade my classmates had studied the contributions of "African-American" writers. I wasn't the biggest reader around but there are some that have kept my attention over the years.

If it wasn't for the textbook we used, African-American Literature (well not sure of the actual title), I may never have known Zora Neale Hurston or August Wilson. In fact a few years ago, I recorded the TV movie based on a play we read at school, The Piano Lesson, when it aired on CBS. If I recall correctly there may have been some African authors involved as well.

Well, that is my exposure to the world of literature and the authors who make it up. What is yours?


Mrs. C said...

A couple of points: First, it's never too late to read CATCHER IN THE RYE--or any other book, for that matter, as long as you have breath to draw. And I think that it may be a better book for adults than it is/was for kids, at least as it was introduced to me and my class as seniors back in 1972. Our teacher told us we were gonna LOVE it, that it "so completely captures your experience as teens in a troubled and troubling world." Meh, not so much. But it DID give me some insight into what she, our teacher, thought of as being our "common teen experience". Boy, was she wrong! As Holden woulda said, what a phony!

As to my literary exposure: Mine has been long, broad and deep. I began reading before entering school, ate up all the text available at home, in school and at the public library, was supported in the process by mom and dad and grandparents and teachers and friends; read all kinds of great and not so great books in middle and high school (Mutiny on the Bounty, Great Expectations, Silas Marner, Return of the Native, Mill on the Floss, "all" of Shakespeare, Ethan Fromme, and and and)--enough to convince me to study English in college and then to pursue my Master's and teacher certification.

So now I teach English--high school--and I try really hard to remember that not every child is an English geek, but that every child can come to love reading, and that with reading comes great personal discretion and power. So I don't assign J.D. Salinger. But Chris Crutcher? My students are all over that boy!

Read! It's good for your heart and mind and soul!

kamagra said...

"The Catcher in the Rye" is a life-changing book. Read it. You will never be the same.

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