Day 4: My favorite book

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Psst. Come here for a second. Ummm…can I cheat on this one?

Can I just say, “The book I am writing”? Because, technically-speaking, it truly is my favorite book because of the old adage of write what you want to read. So this book should have all the qualities of the other books I love to read.

And it certainly IS the book I think about the most. I think about it no less than five or six times a day, every single day. I honestly can say that not one day has gone by when I didn’t think about my book for some reason. It’s permanently fixed in my head and it’s not going anywhere until I crap the whole thing out onto the computer.

That answer isn’t any fun, though. And I don’t want to be known as The Cheater. I want to play the Blog Challenge 2011! the way it’s meant to be played.

My favorite book:

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

First of all, I totally thought I was going to say The Talisman, because I always say that it is my favorite book. And it IS my favorite book, but so is The Catcher in the Rye… they’re equally loved. For different reasons. But, since I find myself quoting The Catcher in the Rye frequently, and passages always stick in my head, I think I have to edge it out to the front just enough to name it my Favorite with a capital F.

Holden Caulfield is my absolute favorite character who speaks in first person.

There is no contest.

He’s troubled, and a little disturbed. He’s got a unique way of seeing the world and JD Salinger completely made it real and authentic to the character. No other character will ever be like Holden, although it’s laughable how many have tried over the years. So many writers and filmmakers want to do the wry, disillusioned, angry youth because Salinger did it so well, first. But they’re not going to get it. I’m all for creating unique characters, of course! But I hate when I can tell the author was trying to sound like Holden.

I first read this book in 8th grade or so. I’d heard about it in People magazine, oddly…not school. Some article described the plot and I thought “hmmm… I should check that out.” So I did.

I laughed my way through that book. The way things are described are just hilarious. Holden’s thoughts on the darker side of things, yes, the depression, sounded familiar to me. I don’t know if that is sad, or not. But it’s true. I didn’t get depressed reading CITR, though. Far from it! I didn’t know enough about analyzing the crap out of ‘literature’ at that point; I was just enjoying the story and the voice of the character. I don’t care what critics and professors and teachers want to say about the themes and character arc in CITR. It ruins it. Thank GOD I never had to read this book for school, like most of my friends did! It was never assigned in any of my classes. I used to wish it would be assigned, back then, because I knew that book inside out. But in retrospect, yeah…thank God it didn’t get ‘ruined’ by school.

CITR’s humor is just so similar to the weird sense of humor I have about a lot of things. For instance, when Holden watches the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall, he says he can only think of them rehearsing the show, and how the angels all looked like “they couldn’t wait to get off the stage and have a smoke.” Why is this so funny? I can’t explain it! It just IS. And you do have to wonder what goes through the minds of performers who do the same show, several times a day, for weeks or months on end. I cracked myself up when I was last at SeaWorld watching the stupid, horrible Shamu show… I imagined a trainer saying over the loudspeaker, “OK, when I wave my hand, Shamu waves his fin. Let’s see what happens when I wave my dick at him!” And you know what, I still giggle about that one. I can’t help but think that performers are gonna snap someday. Holden felt the same way.

Now, these quotes are not verbatim. So if you’re a purist, you’ll see that I misquoted them slightly. I think it’s OK though, to go from memory, and not cheat by looking up the passages in the book online for accuracy. That’s not the point. The point here is the thoughts, words that stay with me, always. That being said, some things I always say that come from CITR:

“I’m the goddamned Governor’s Son!” (then I must pantomine tap dancing)

“There, on the steps, someone had written FUCK YOU on the wall in crayon… you could be in the most peaceful place in the world, and some jerk will come up and write FUCK YOU right under your nose.” (I am kind of paraphrasing it here, but that’s the idea. And it’s true. Because people SUCK.)

“I bought Phoebe a ‘Little Shirley Beans’ record.”

“I could read little kids’ notebooks all day.”

“I watched the guy on the kettle drums. He only gets to bang them once, at the end of the song, but he gets this peaceful look on his face like he is praying when he does it.”

“I wonder about the ducks down in Central Park, when it gets cold and the lagoon freezes over. Where do the ducks go when the water freezes? Do they just fly away somewhere? Or does a guy come and load them into a truck and take them to a zoo?”

“Cars don’t really interest me. I’d rather have a horse. A horse is HUMAN, for Christ’s sake.”

Oh man… that was fun! I think I have to go re-read it now when I get home.

By the way, CITR is also one of the only books I own (the other being The Talisman) that had to be replaced because I read it so much the first copy fell apart. That, and I lent it out to people all the time. I think it’s still around, someplace, though. I don’t want to get rid of it. I wrote in the front of it when I first read it. In blue ballpoint, I wrote: “This is the best book I ever read! I ❤ Holden Caulfield!”

This is what the old, fell-apart, written-in copy cover looks like, and the cover I still prefer even though the horses are cool on the other cover:

 

 I guess it really IS the best book I ever read. Damn, I was astute as a kid.

Astute. What a phony word. When I say it, it makes me sound like a real pain in the ass.

😉

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3 responses »

  1. Me either. I always meant to read The Catcher In The Rye and never got around to. Probably should do that this year…I am so surprised I never have considering how much I have read and how much I love to read.

  2. REALLY?
    I thought everyone had read this book. But, the more I think about it, I know a lot of people who never read it. I also know people who don’t like it, too. It’s terrific, in my humble opinion! Give it a chance, especially if you want to laugh. 🙂

    And the Talisman, well… no question, you would both like it because you like reading about fantasy worlds mixed with the current world. It has things in common with the NeverEnding Story, CrazyPrincess.

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