Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mister Salinger

The New York Times ran an interesting story in honor of J. D. Salinger's 90th birthday, today (January 1st). The story briefly told the rather mysterious tale of Salinger's retreat into reclusion in the 60's and the eventual cessation of new publications (despite rumors claiming he has not stopped writing all these years).

Most famously known as the author of "Catcher in the Rye", Salinger also created a fascinating familial universe of the Glass clan, so genuinely conceived as to resonate in the emotional cores of their real life counterpart generation. It truly shames me that I was not aware of these stories and books' existence until now, so I will take this opportunity to add them to the growing reading list.

I can only imagine the kind of pressures being exerted from critics, peers and readers alike (or, perhaps at least as importantly, himself), that could have led to such drastic measures. Another artist who has also withdrawn to a great degree from public life is Jeff Mangum, formerly of Neutral Milk Hotel. It is with a clip of him performing and a quiet Happy Birthday greeting, that I can end this post (and head on to the library).

Neutral Milk Hotel - Oh Comely (Live on Watt Club, Athens, GA from 10/14/97, originally from In the Aeroplane Over The Sea)

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