Monday Miscellany

Two Items on J. D. Salinger

Two recent news items about J. D. Salinger, reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye:

New biography of JD Salinger to be published this September

An attempt to piece together the life of the notoriously reclusive Catcher in the Rye author JD Salinger, researched over the course of eight years in strict secrecy and including more than 200 interviews, is to be published as a biography on 3 September. A documentary film about the author will be released in the US the same week.

Arriving three years after Salinger’s death at the age of 91, The Private War of JD Salinger promises new insights based on accounts from his “World War II brothers-in-arms, family members, close friends, lovers, classmates, neighbours, editors, publishers, New Yorker colleagues and people with whom he had relationships that were secret even to his own family”, according to a description on Amazon. The author’s literary estate has remained resolutely silent.

‘The film was run like a CIA operation’: Inside the secretive documentary ‘Salinger’ that promises major revelations about reclusive author of the Catcher in the Rye

For much of the nine years that Shane Salerno worked on his J.D. Salinger documentary and book, the project was a mystery worthy of the author himself.

Code names. Hidden identities. Surveillance cameras. Until 2010, when The Catcher In the Rye novelist died at age 91, only a handful of people were fully aware of what he was up to. Even now, with the release date of the film Salinger less than three weeks away, little is known about a production that draws upon more than 100 interviews and a trove of documents and rare photographs, and that promises many revelations about an author who still fascinates millions.

This second article promises that the film, to be released September 6, features “commentary from famous Salinger fans like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, and John Cusack.” There’s also some background information about Salinger here, and you can watch the movie trailer.

Best of British: Five iconic food moments in literature

From writers of canonical prestige, to the classics of our childhood, appetizing and iconic literary food moments are at the forefront of many of our best books. Here is a selection of some of the tastiest:

This list is drawn from British literature. Any suggestions for comparable scenes from American literature?

Early Reader

Priscilla Gilman describes her son’s early love of books:

As an infant, my son Benj was aloof and never wanted to cuddle with me, but if I read to him, he would snap to attention and listen avidly. He shunned toys and stuffed animals, preferring instead to surround himself with books. . . . But when Benj was almost 3, he was given a diagnosis of a rare disorder called hyperlexia: the ability to read at an early age coupled with difficulty with social interaction and verbal communication, and typically, although not exclusively, found in children on the autism spectrum. I was devastated to learn that Benj’s fondness for reading and reciting literature, which I’d taken to be impassioned and profound, was, in fact, a symptom of his disorder.

Read this entire piece for Gilman’s examination of hyperlexia and her discussion of how it has given her growing son an extraordinary appreciation for the inner workings of language.

‘Bone Season’ author suggests 5 other books of dark futures

You’ve probably heard that the Today show is starting up a new book club and that the first selection is The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon:

The 21-year-old phenom, whose book, “The Bone Season,” came out Tuesday, cites a variety of classics among her biggest influences. Characters like Lucy Snowe from Charlotte Bronte’s “Villette” helped her forge a path for Paige Mahoney, the female protagonist of “The Bone Season.”

Here Shannon recommends five dystopian novels that contributed to the creation of her own dystopian world.