Friday, March 27, 2015

THE CEPHALOPOD COFFEEHOUSE: MY SALINGER YEAR

Dear It's . . . and Its,

It's time for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, hosted by The Armchair Squid.

The idea is simple: On the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.

My book for March is
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff.




I purchased this book  HERE from Amazon.

When I saw the title of this book, I thought,  Say no. Run away. Tell Someone.

Then it kept turning up on all these best books of 2014 lists, so I decided that maybe it wasn't about a maniac who lived in the woods in New Hampshire for a year because she hoped she would meet J.D. Salinger and he would explain the meaning of life to her and what Zooey really thinks.

This memoir isn't really about Salinger. It's about Joanna Rakoff, who seems to have time traveled backwards when she gets a job at a literary agency where everything is written on typewriters. The entire office, including Joanna's boss, exists in the past, so it makes sense that one of their biggest clients, Salinger, hasn't published anything in decades. 

Rakoff has little contact with Salinger, who is hard of hearing:

I picked up the phone and heard someone shouting at me. "HELLO? HELLO?" Then something incomprehensible.  "HELLO? HELLO?" More gibberish. Slowly, as in a dream, the gibberish resolved into language. "It's Jerry," the caller was shouting. . . . "WHO IS THIS?" he asked, though it took me a few tries to understand. "It's Joanna," I told him, nine or ten times, yelling at the top of my lungs by the final three. "I'm the new assistant."

"Well, nice to meet you, Suzanne," he said, finally, in something akin to a normal voice.

These exchanges with Salinger are few and far between. He comes into the office once while Rakoff works there. He gives her some good advice about writing, but it's just part of her Salinger year as she lives in New York and learns to be a grown-up and comes of age as a writer. Part of that coming of age is reading Salinger's books over and over. Ah, if it were only so simple. I can read books over and over, but I have to write to be a writer.

Rakoff wrote a successful novel called A Fortunate Age, which I would like to read. Her writing appeals to me because it's warm and uncomplicated and funny and open.

My Salinger Year earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




29 comments:

  1. This book sounds interesting Janie.

    R

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  2. It is nice to hear about a new book for reading...

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  3. Sounds clever. I like the cover.

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    1. It is clever, but I wouldn't want to use a typewriter.

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  4. Wow! That sounds great. Actually, the title intrigues me straight away. I've only read Catcher in the Rye once (in grad school), but I'm intriuged by the idea of Rakoff's memoir interspersed with Salinger interaction. I love memoirs in general.

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  5. Sounds like an interesting book especially that it is retro in feel:)

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    1. It's as if she stepped back in time when she worked there. They got a computer after a while, but limited use was allowed.

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  6. Sounds like a terrific book. Gee, I wish reading alone were enough to make the writing side of things happen, too. With all the books I read, I'd have written a couple hundred books by now.

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  7. I adore Salinger. I can only imagine, though, that he must have been a very strange man.

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    1. With Bobby Fischer and JD Salinger both gone, are there any great recluses left in the world?

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  8. I've heard of this book, but haven't gotten around to reading it.

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  9. ummmmmmmmmmmm this sounds very interesting.
    I am happy she wasn't a crazes stalker who lived in jail for a year and who this book based on her drug induced imaginary talks with him.

    cheers, parsnip

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  10. Wow, I haven't used an old fashioned typewriter in a dog's age, actually, a couple of dogs' age. That would be hard to get used to again.

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    1. I never really learned how to use one. The first typewriter I had was quite fancy. It even made copies.

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  11. Sounds like an interesting read, especially in that old school environment. I remember hunting and pecking on a typewriter... so nice not to have to go back to that.

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  12. I put Franklin on an egg on my blog today. You can't stop this Franklin train.

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  13. I didn't know Salinger was hard of hearing. I learned something new today.

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  14. Keep a lookout for a similar book I'm writing called "My Seuss Year"

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  15. I said many nasty things to my typewriter during my college years. My laptop gets it once in a while, but not nearly as often.

    Glad you enjoyed the book -- thanks for your take on it. If I had any hope of reading all the books that are already on my tbr pile, I might add it to my list.

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  16. Can you imagine if we suddenly were all forced to go back to typewriters? There would be an uproar.

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  17. So, is it a memoir, or creative fiction? I agree, one only becomes a writer by writing. Reading is necessary, but not enough...
    Thanks for sharing Janie!
    Best,
    Veronica

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  18. Nice it sounds like something I would enjoy. I am finally getting back into my blogging and it is good to read your blog again.

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