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J.D. Salinger Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

The Catcher in the Rye is on Time magazine's list of the All-Time 100 Novels (which, technically, is a list of the top 100 novels written since 1923, in English. Still, it's a big accomplishment.)9

Holden Caulfield's constant worrying about the status of Central Park's ducks in the winter is apparently contagious. The Central Park Conservancy fields frequent questions about this topic from recent Catcher in the Rye readers. "People are always calling and asking, 'Where do the ducks go?" conservancy historian Sara Cedar Miller told a newspaper in 2009. "I say, 'Did you just finish reading 'The Catcher in the Rye'? The answer is always yes." (For the record, they migrate to warmer climates, just like any other ducks).10

Mark David Chapman, the man who assassinated John Lennon in 1980, was obsessed with The Catcher in the Rye. He brought the book with him to the murder scene and read a few pages while waiting for the police. He later released a statement that said, "The reason I killed John Lennon was to promote the reading of J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye."11

The New Yorker rejected The Catcher in the Rye when Salinger offered it to them in story form. Editors told him the Caulfield children sounded too precocious and the writing was too "clever."12

Salinger briefly dated Oona O'Neill, the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, who was a teenager at the time. She dumped him for Charlie Chaplin, whom she eventually married.13

Holden Caulfield's cursing habit and frank talk about sex has made The Catcher in the Rye> one of the most frequently banned books of the last fifty years.14

In contrast with the reclusive lifestyle he chose for his adult years, J.D. Salinger was a bit of a ham as a kid. When he was eleven years old, the boys at Camp Wigwam in Maine voted him "the most popular actor of 1930."15

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