I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be judging this month’s Cook the Books entries thanks to the kind invitation of Deb at Kahakai Kitchen. This month’s selection is Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, which I read and reviewed in October of last year. Colwin’s was a witty home cook and, now that I think about it, she would have been an excellent blogger. Her combination of amusing anecdotes with simple but delicious recipes and practical advice made for delightful essays—why not posts? For now, we’ll see how her words are translated from the page to the kitchen.
Today I bring you a new feature: From My Shelves. As you may have noticed, it can take me awhile to get through a book sometimes. Many factors contribute to the sometimes lengthy periods between reviews: reading more than one book at once, addiction to several television shows, pressing social engagements, constant struggles to maintain a clean living environment.
But the number one culprit is lack of time! I work, every day, in an office building, at a desk, and, though it pains me to say it, I just don’t have as much time for pleasure reading as I’d like. I wish I could post a new review every day (or every other day) like these amazing book bloggers. I honestly don’t know how they do it! But as I was thinking about how I could bring more reviews to you on a regular basis without staying up until 3 AM and stumbling into work bleary-eyed each morning, I realized that while I’ve only been blogging for a year now, I’ve been reading since I was six years old (see my About page for more on this).
So I thought to myself, you know Caitlin, you should really take advantage of the hundreds of books you have packed into your apartment (note to self: must dust)! Though I don’t feel comfortable giving you as detailed a review on books I read many years ago, I can certainly give you the goods on the contents of my shelves.
So, to make this even more interesting, we’re going to do themes. Today’s theme: Winter. I’m inspired by the absolutely disgusting weather outside and by my commute this morning, during which I discovered that my front stoop is doubling as an ice slick. Dear superintendent, please clear it by the time I get home today! Post to come soon!
Today we lost one of the most beloved American authors of the twentieth century, J.D. Salinger. If you ask many people of my generation what their favorite books is, there’s about a one-in-four chance they will answer with Salinger’s most famous book, Catcher in the Rye. (If you’re curious what I think the other three likely responses are, that would be The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Harry Potter.)
You may wonder why a man who wrote such a widely popular book and lived to be 91 published only two novels and some short stories and stopped publishing altogether in 1965. Simply put, Salinger had become something of a recluse, avoiding media attention and ceasing any contact with the outside world. He appeared in the news for the first time in decades late last year, when he sued a man going by the name “J.D. California” for attempting to publish a “sequel” to Catcher in the Rye. That sequel was banned.
Many people believe that Salinger has a batch of unpublished novels stacked up in his house. A real sequel to Catcher in the Rye has been a long time in coming. The question is whether his family will release this material now. They stand a lot to gain; after all, Catcher in the Rye is still selling almost 60 years after publication. Something else that might come out of this: movie rights. Studios have tried to buy the movie rights to Catcher for years, but Salinger has been unwilling to sell. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a movie in the works in the very near future.
Whatever happens, his book has certainly made an impression on millions of people and he’s left his mark on American literature. RIP J.D.
I just wanted to give credit where credit is due, and point out that the image on my homepage is a cropped shot of Colin Thompson’s amazing image called “Bookshelf,” which you can actually get as a skin for your iPhone or computer!