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Unpublished J. D. Salinger Stories Leaked On Bittorrent Site

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the secrecy-is-like-something-out-of-a-novel dept.

Books 218

192_kbps writes "Catcher in the Rye author J. D. Salinger wrote the short story The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls and left depository copies with a few academic libraries with the understanding that the work would not see mass distribution until the mid-21st century. The only authorized place to read the story is in a special reading room at Princeton where electronics are not allowed and a librarian continuously babysits the reader. A PDF of the story, as well as two other unpublished stories, appeared on private bittorrent site what.cd where a huge bounty had been placed for the work. Incredibly, the uploader (or someone connected to the uploader) bought an unauthorized copy on eBay for a pittance. The file, Three Stories, is making the bittorrent rounds but can also be read on mediafire."

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218 comments

That's terrible... Salinger won't write any more! (5, Funny)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 5 months ago | (#45554883)

This is a great example of where copyright helps to encourage authors to write more. The fact that this copy has been leaked, and pirated massively means that Salinger has no incentive to write any more! We need to punish the perpetrators thoroughly.

Re: That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45554893)

Yes I'm sure he'll cease his heretofore amazingly prolific career forthwith

Re: That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mo (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 5 months ago | (#45555763)

Really.

Catcher is a fine thing. Even if it were misused to program "lone crazed gunmen".

But really, Salinger. You are a bizarre and maladjusted narcissistic twat. It's one thing NOT to publish - or even burn your own work. But being so fucking precious as to specify conditions of release? Fuck you, Sir. In the most sanctimonious way possible.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 5 months ago | (#45554915)

On the contrary, now he has to write another story to keep secret!

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (2)

somersault (912633) | about 5 months ago | (#45554959)

Writing your story posthumously is the best way to keep it secret.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555245)

Yes. [imgur.com]

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45554925)

Yes, that's terrible. And the fact that he is dead doesn't help at all.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555453)

Didn't stop Tupac.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#45554931)

This is a great example of where copyright helps to encourage authors to write more. The fact that this copy has been leaked, and pirated massively means that Salinger has no incentive to write any more! We need to punish the perpetrators thoroughly.

I think his death in 2010 is probably a bit of a disincentive too.

Whoooo.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45554981)

.....oooooosh.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555201)

You clearly don't understand copyright law.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#45555391)

Nobody understands copyright law.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 5 months ago | (#45555529)

That is why Nobody is highly regarded as an expert witness in copyright cases.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#45555721)

I'm thinking of changing my name to Nobody. Aside from causing general confusion I could easily make a living suing people for defamation. "Nobody would be that stupid" - now you owe me $$$ for damaging my reputation!

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555029)

Shit. Reminds me to fix my leaky toilet...

Salinger is mediocre at best. He's a one hit wonder, but his only hit is over rated tweeny garbage.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 5 months ago | (#45555719)

That story mentioned in the summary about the baseball player is supposed to be good, I hear. I've never read it. Something like "Field of Dreams".

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (5, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about 5 months ago | (#45555217)

This is a great example of where copyright helps to encourage authors to write more. The fact that this copy has been leaked, and pirated massively means that Salinger has no incentive to write any more! We need to punish the perpetrators thoroughly.

It is a disincentive to trust your unpublished manuscripts, papers and memoirs to Princeton --- it is easier to speak candidly if no one living will have to bear the consequences.

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555437)

Are you kidding me? If it wasn't for Mark David Chapman, how many people would even know about the "Catcher In The Rye"? Even more funny, is how everyone complains about the NSA while the FBI and perhaps the CIA monitored people that bought the book!! And the fact you need to have a librarian stand over you while you read these secretive releases while in the Princeton Library, only shows how paranoid others are over fictional books.

This shows me there is no freedom in the US, but I agree maybe it will blow the doors open, to authors to maybe distribute "taboo type" books unto the internet rather then waiting approval from some neo-communist (like) publisher..

Re:That's terrible... Salinger won't write any mor (1)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about 5 months ago | (#45555781)

If it wasn't for Mark David Chapman, how many people would even know about the "Catcher In The Rye"?

Seeing as how it's been on the highschool reading list for half a centruy already, I'm guessing at least 50 million?

Oh sorry, my bad. I thought you asked about how many people read the "Catcher In The Rye".

As for how many knowing about it, probably vast majority of English speaking world, 400 million, give or take.

Links (5, Informative)

cffrost (885375) | about 5 months ago | (#45554917)

https://kickass.to/three-stories-j-d-salinger-pdf-t8257205.html [kickass.to]

https://torcache.net/torrent/ED8F9DE4B9151B3B0E5B998CAF7A124E9E7B0E17.torrent?title=%5Bkickass.to%5Dthree.stories.j.d.salinger.pdf [torcache.net]

magnet:?xt=urn:btih:ED8F9DE4B9151B3B0E5B998CAF7A124E9E7B0E17&dn=three+stories+j+d+salinger+pdf&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.istole.it%3A80%2Fannounce&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Fopen.demonii.com%3A1337

Slashdot fucks up magnet links, but the hash is right there: ED8F9DE4B9151B3B0E5B998CAF7A124E9E7B0E17

Re:Links (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 5 months ago | (#45554997)

I would not click these links. My understanding is the rights to his unpublished works are held in a trust which may start publishing some of them as early as 2015. The guy was pretty crazy at the end, and the people around him pretty litigious; who knows what the folks managing the trust might do about this. I would not want any IP address I could be associated with anywhere near anyone one of these links.

Maybe Peter Norton will ride on in on a white horse to save Salinger again somehow, that would be fun to see.

Ain't skeered (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 months ago | (#45555091)

I'm all over these torrents. What are they going to do, sue me? Let me see - me and about 3000 other seeders, and a few hundred leeches. I don't own anything worth taking, and my working life is nearing an end - what do you think they can gain by suing me?

  Funny thing - all the working magnets seem to be DHT and PeX. Interesting that. I wonder how many are using anonymizing programs on their torrent clients? Ha! Glancing through the list of peers, a fair number are coming through proxies that are easily recognizable as proxies.

I suspect that the reason we haven't heard of any high-profile suites over torrenting, is that the gestapos *IAA organizations can't reliably identify "infringers" any longer.

Whatever - I want to read the stories, and see what I think of them.

Re:Ain't skeered (2)

roninmagus (721889) | about 5 months ago | (#45555961)

LOL, parent just said "Hey J.D., love your stuff buddy. So much so that I'll pick up anything new as soon as it becomes available. Oh, but you had a plan that you set in motion for when that material would be available? Well fuck that, because I'm downloading that shit, because fuck you."

Re:Links (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555189)

Thank you for sharing irrelevant stuff.

It's a common misconception that it's ILLEGAL TO DOWNLOAD. Under the laws of the United States it's not.
So click all you want. It makes no difference who owns what, as downloading it is perfectly legal.*

The violations that people are typically pursued for are for MAKING AVAILABLE or DISTRIBUTING, which
is not at all the same as downloading.

Do make a note of it.

E
* Note: To purists, even downloading child pornography isn't unlawful in the act of downloading; it's
unlawful because once any part has downloaded, one is in POSSESSION of child pornography,
and that will get you 10-20 years in a US Federal Prison.

Re:Links (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 5 months ago | (#45555353)

But officer, I downloaded it to /dev/null

Re:Links (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555611)

Ever since my ISP instigated data caps, I've been downloading ISOs from the preferred mirrors (and if the mirrors are of equal preference, I prefer .EDU as a tie-breaker) on distrowatch to the bit bucket. Because my computer was off most of yesterday, I currently have 3 in my queue. I don't stream a lot of HD videos, so I never got near that amount in the past, but I saw it as a challenge. And yes, I have a safety in place to make sure I don't go over or impact my service, such as my traffic meter checks itself against the ISP's frame-dependant count, my network has those downloads on the lowest priority and it paces itself by dividing the month's quota by the number of days as a soft target.

Re:Links (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555891)

Ever heard about respecting the last wish of a dying man?

I'm serious.

Fucking grave robbers, no respect for anyone or anything good.

Thank Goodness... (3, Insightful)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 5 months ago | (#45554937)

...we wouldn't want to respect the wishes of an author so widely admired. He put words on paper, so fuck him. They stopped belonging to him when they saw the light of day.

I love this socialist half-paradise, where Wall Street profits are privatized, gigantic losses from gambling with people's deposits are publicly insured, and intellectual works are treated like a turkey thrown into a pit filled with hyenas.

Re:Thank Goodness... (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 months ago | (#45554953)

I could see it being a problem if he were alive: if someone doesn't want something released, and it gets leaked anyway, it can cause various kinds of negative effects for the person (unwanted attention, etc.). But he's been dead for years, so I'm having trouble seeing the harm here.

Re:Thank Goodness... (4, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 5 months ago | (#45555173)

I would say yes – if I a person does not want their work to be published and I will stand on this issue on principle.

The man did not want his works to be published at this time. I can think of other cases where diarist who things that they did not to be released until ALL affected parties were dead which may not be until decades after the person has died. If a person does not want their work published now it should not be forced. It is the right thing to do.

Now if we are talking about copyright and compensation issues - that’s a different ball of wax. I would have to say no to that.

Re:Thank Goodness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555383)

If someone doesn't want their work published they shouldn't put it on paper.
It's really that simple.
And before you start on the "if you have nothing to hide" track let me say this:
If you fuck dogs in the privacy of your home that's one thing.
But if you go and tell your friend about it, don't be surprised if everyone knows about it the next day.

Re:Thank Goodness... (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 5 months ago | (#45555661)

As a person who is interested in history I have to disagree.

People who write for themselves or for some imaginary future audience write differently for public consumption. Some people are more open in privacy then in the spotlight. They tend to be more frank, expressing concerns, and exploring odd alleys of thought. If, as you say they, “fuck the dog”, I want to know about it. Or at the very least preserved for posterity’s sake.

Think of Ann Frank’s diary. Read up on Mother Teresa’s personal letters, which shows somebody struggling with their faith – a very different thing then her public persona.

Personally, I would love to read Henry Kissinger’s diaries to figure out what he was thinking but I know that is not going to happen any time soon.

Re: Thank Goodness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555579)

He should have left his works sealed in a vault with a trusted family member or attorney. Putting these works in the hands of a handful of institutions under these circumstances was just asking for this type of situation to occur. People will be people... Something of perceived value is always at risk of being stolen if the opportunity arises.

Re:Thank Goodness... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 months ago | (#45555587)

All parties are dead. As far as I understand, this is a work of fiction. It's not somebody's private journal of things they wanted to keep secret. The only affected party is the author himself.

Re:Thank Goodness... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 5 months ago | (#45554971)

When a man is dead, does he still possess the right to control his work?

Re:Thank Goodness... (3, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#45555027)

No, his heirs do, for a time at least. See also: Christopher Tolkein.

Re:Thank Goodness... (1)

fonske (1224340) | about 5 months ago | (#45555219)

I have etchings made by Tolkien with subjects of his writings: do I have to pay copyright to these "tangible" products?
Tolkien was a lousy graphic artist...

Re:Thank Goodness... (4, Funny)

TheP4st (1164315) | about 5 months ago | (#45555067)

I summoned Walt Disney to ask him about his opinion on the matter but we got into a dispute on whom that would own the rights to the recording I were making of our session and before I could ask him he the question he flipped me off and vanished.

Re:Thank Goodness... (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 5 months ago | (#45555155)

"When a man is dead, does he still possess the right to control his work?"

The evil that men do lives after them;. The good is oft interrèd with their bones... Mark Anthony is dead, so he doesn't get to control who says that line.

Re:Thank Goodness... (0)

AIphaWolf_HK (3439155) | about 5 months ago | (#45555115)

and intellectual works are treated like a turkey thrown into a pit filled with hyenas.

What? I don't see why anyone should have the ability to control what other people do with publicly released information. That's anti-intellectual, if anything. In fact, this sort of government imposed monopoly is more socialistic/communistic than capitalistic.

In short, I don't see any real problem with the last one.

Re:Thank Goodness... (1)

jandersen (462034) | about 5 months ago | (#45555131)

I love this socialist half-paradise, where Wall Street profits are privatized, gigantic losses from gambling with people's deposits are publicly insured, and intellectual works are treated like a turkey thrown into a pit filled with hyenas.

I love your graphic description, but you should get your concepts straight. Wall Street wouldn't have existed in a Socialist state, and they would have been more likely to socialise than privatise.

Re:Thank Goodness... (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 5 months ago | (#45555323)

...we wouldn't want to respect the wishes of an author so widely admired. He put words on paper, so fuck him. They stopped belonging to him when they saw the light of day.

In any rational world, they stopped belonging to him the day he died.

In the corporate run world, of which you are a fan, they have lobbied to legislate for other people to financially benefit for 70 years after the death of an author. But rational individuals have good reason to ignore that.

Re:Thank Goodness... (2)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 5 months ago | (#45555331)

...we wouldn't want to respect the wishes of an author so widely admired. He put words on paper, so fuck him. They stopped belonging to him when they saw the light of day.

I love this socialist half-paradise, where Wall Street profits are privatized, gigantic losses from gambling with people's deposits are publicly insured, and intellectual works are treated like a turkey thrown into a pit filled with hyenas.

I haven't read it yet but what if he is a time traveller?!?!? And he wrote about his secret in this story?!???!!! And its somehow important to his timeline that noone know until 2060???!!!!???! Did anyone think of that?? Huh?

Re:Thank Goodness... (1, Troll)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#45555449)

If he doesn't agree, he's free to protest it.

Huh? Oh, he's dead? Then why the fuck should he care? Oh, his kids (or whoever inherited the "rights" to it)? Why the fuck should they have any rights to it in the first place? What rights do the kids of the architect designing my house have, what's their say when I decide to tear down part of it and remodel it? Huh? What do you mean, not even the architect himself has no say?

What's the difference between an author, painter or composer and an architect, bricklayer, plumber or carpenter? "Art"? Please listen to contemporary music and show me how this is more "art" than a carpenter's creation of a table. If anything, the latter is more art and less "handiwork" than the former.

Re:Thank Goodness... (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about 5 months ago | (#45555769)

I don't follow you. First of all, privatizing profits while publicly insuring profits isn't socialism (socialism has its own problem). Second, copyright is primarily a tool by which corporations monopolize intellectual works in near perpetuity; that's essentially the same problem as the first one.

Salinger should have gotten 15-30 years of copyright, and afterwards his works should have fallen into the public domain and become an integral part of our culture. Instead, you still can't even get his works in e-book format because his "estate" has a stick up their ass. Yes, those people deserve to be disrespected.

that just takes the mystery back one step (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 months ago | (#45554957)

How did this paper book's publishers get a copy of the story? They seem to have put out an unauthorized limited-edition run of 25 copies in 1999, but from what source?

Re:that just takes the mystery back one step (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 5 months ago | (#45554975)

yeah that it's on a torrent isn't that much of a surprise if there's 25 copies + any number of photocopies going around..

it sounds like a gimmick though, the whole deal. how else to get a private fucking reading room for your book?

Re:that just takes the mystery back one step (2)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#45555821)

how else to get a private fucking reading room for your book?

Write it on the inside of a bathroom stall door?

Bye bye what.cd (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 5 months ago | (#45554973)

I expect this will start a bit of a witch hunt...

Re:Bye bye what.cd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555081)

It the RIAA and MPAA can't take down the pirate bay, why would you think the estate of J.D. Salinger could take down anything?

Overrated (5, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | about 5 months ago | (#45554987)

As a foreigner, I'd never heard of Salinger or Catcher in the Rye. When I first made it to the US, my friend gave me the book: "You HAVE to read that". I was underwhelmed and to this day still do not understand what all the fuss is about. A story about a whiney teenager with too much money for his own good ? This describe America pretty well to me !!!

Re:Overrated (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555083)

As a foreigner, I'd never heard of Salinger or Catcher in the Rye. When I first made it to the US, my friend gave me the book: "You HAVE to read that". I was underwhelmed and to this day still do not understand what all the fuss is about. A story about a whiney teenager with too much money for his own good ? This describe America pretty well to me !!!

It's not my favorite book either but I think if that's your take away from the book then you missed the point of it. It's a criticism of several facets of American society. Use google or wikipedia for better detailed literary analysis than I can do.

Re:Overrated (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555171)

Criticism of what? Whiny teenagers?

Re:Overrated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555577)

Criticism of what? Whiny teenagers?

Yep. That describes everyone, from teenagers to adults, to the Feminist Media bullshit, to the Politicians in DC who don't always get their way. Waah! If you don't do what I say, I'll SHUT DOWN THE GUBBERMINTZ! I'll fucking KILL MYSELF, then they'll be sorry!

Re:Overrated (5, Interesting)

Quimo (72752) | about 5 months ago | (#45555141)

Read some other novels from the 1950's and you will see how different it is from other books of the time. Yes compared to current novels it is somewhat underwhelming but compared to its contemporaries it is something completely new.

Re:Overrated (1)

frank-the-fake (2850225) | about 5 months ago | (#45555363)

Very true. The novel prefigures the whole teen angst genre. You would expect it to underwhelm now when you consider the development of that genre over the last half a century.

Re:Overrated (1)

thsths (31372) | about 5 months ago | (#45555711)

And what if I don't like the whole genre? I am not saying that growing up is easy, but hundreds of pages of pointless self pity are not going to help, are they?

Re:Overrated (1)

nherm (889807) | about 5 months ago | (#45555833)

I think you hit the nail. Just like Don Quixote [wikipedia.org] , you have to appreciate how different this book is from other works of that time. We are talking about 1605, a few people could write, read, and most of the book were about religious stuff and natural philosophy.

I finished reading The Catcher in the Rye just yesterday. I think teenagers can appreciate that book just like I enjoyed reading The War of the Buttons by Louis Pergaud [wikipedia.org] when I was twelve.

Re:Overrated (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555143)

As a foreigner, I'd never heard of Salinger or Catcher in the Rye. When I first made it to the US, my friend gave me the book: "You HAVE to read that". I was underwhelmed and to this day still do not understand what all the fuss is about. A story about a whiney teenager with too much money for his own good ? This describe America pretty well to me !!!

Learn to read a book and not just skim over the letters.
The only instance where you should be excused for not having understood Catcher's in the rye message is if you were 7 years old when you read it. Otherwise good god, I doubt you would even understand what's written in a newspaper.

Re:Overrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555435)

You tell someone else to learn to read yet you write " Catcher's in the rye". You seem unable to grasp the concept of an apostrophe being anywhere else than next to a letter s.

Re:Overrated (3, Insightful)

jonadab (583620) | about 5 months ago | (#45555165)

> As a foreigner, I'd never heard of Salinger or Catcher in the Rye.

Yeah, as an American, I've heard about it all my life. However...

> I was underwhelmed and to this day still do not understand what all the fuss is about.

Yeah, I think this is how most Americans who have actually attempted
to read the book feel about it. It's one of those works that gets by
on pure reputation: people don't want to publicly admit that they
didn't like it, because then they would not seem intellectual, because
everyone knows intellectuals all like the book. (Of Mice and Men has
almost exactly the same reputation and is even more poorly written.
The Scarlet Letter isn't very much better, and lest I pick exclusively
on American authors, I'll throw War and Peace into the mix as well,
though I suppose maybe it's better in the original Russian; I've only
attempted to wade through it in English.)

We need somebody famous but with no pretensions (someone like
a Letterman or a Foxworthy) to speak out in a voice that will be
heard and tell everyone the obvious: the emperor is butt nekkid.

Please don't mistake me for saying that classic literature isn't
good. There are a lot of classics that I really like. In fact, most
of my favorite books are classics. Hamlet deserves its reputation.
So does Tom Sawyer. To Kill a Mockingbird is pretty decent even
just viewed as fiction and furthermore can contribute significantly
to understanding certain historical social issues. A Tale of Two
Cities is if anything underrated. The Bible is grossly underrated.
I'm not saying that classic literature in general isn't good. I'm
only saying that certain specific works traditionally listed among
the greats don't actually deserve to be included.

Re:Overrated (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555295)

You had me until you said the bible is 'grossly underrated'. If by that you mean actually 'grossly overrated' I'll agree again.

Re:Overrated (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555381)

There's certain parts of it that are greatly underappreciated. A big one is the Book of Ezekiel, which describes the landing of extraterrestrials, as described by someone of a primitive society, and lends credence to the theory that humans were visited by extraterrestrials long ago.

Re:Overrated (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555553)

Or someone ate a magic mushroom or a piece of rye bread with ergotamine rot. Given what we know of primitive cultures and sacred plants, what's the most likely explanation? Oh yeah, aliens. Gotta be aliens.

Re:Overrated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555427)

I think a large portion on the take of it depends on the age/mindset in which you read it.

When I was a wee lad in the early years of high school, it was a great book. It dealt with realization of ones own identity and perception of the world around them, in a distorted adolescent sort of way.

As an adult trying to re-read it....Holden is bloody annoying. I still appreciate it for 'what it was to me the first time', but trying to re-read it...blargggh *belch* yawn.

Re:Overrated (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 5 months ago | (#45555485)

We need somebody famous and who isn't an intellectual and doesn't have any credentials but with no pretensions (someone like a Letterman or a Foxworthy) to speak out in a voice that will be
heard and tell everyone the obvious: the emperor is butt nekkid. Because they're popular celebrities every one will take their opinions as truth.

There, fixed that for you. And what's the latest on the Kardashians?

Re:Overrated (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#45555795)

I suppose you have to see it in its historical context. I read a British classic called Tess of the D'urbervilles at school. It was terrible, poorly written, full of clichés and ridiculous coincidences. The characters were thin and stereotypical, and the whole thing was contrived. Even so I could at least understand how it was interesting as a historical artefact.

But yeah, it was a terrible book.

Re:Overrated (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about 5 months ago | (#45555199)

No offense intended but I think its very possible as a foreigner you might not be able to really get it. Its like students today don't seem to get as excited about it as people who read it 20 years ago or more did. Catcher and more specifically Holden's experience everyone so identifies with have a lot to do with him facing the reality of life in mid century America in contrast to what he'd been told to except. That is why he is always up in arms about phonies. The less our nation looks like that less people identify with him.

Sure people still experience adolescent angst and loss of innocence and always will but as time marches on the forms become different and I think readers don't as easily think "hey I once was Holden Caulfield", or depending on your age "I totally get that." So the book does not work its magic so easily anymore. Stream of conscience was brave and innovative. J.D. Salinger deserves lots of credit for trying it and executing it in a way that made it work. I think its a work very tied to a particular age though, and while its had a great 60 year run now, it may be becoming less relevant.

As to his other works "Franny and Zooey" may be a little more timeless. Sure its still set in a very particular time and place, but the familiar struggles and spiritual questions that book asks may be more enduring. Which is not to say I have any interest in exploring the Tolkienesque Glass family history Salinger is supposed to have crafted and locked in safe somewhere when it does come out. At least for me a farther exploration of their history can only take away for the intellectual experience. So even if you though "Catcher in the Rye" was just okay, I'd still recommend "Franny and Zooey" they are characters Salinger himself loved better than Holden by all accounts and themes of the book are more mature; its worth reading. If you did not like Catcher at all than skip "Franny and Zooey" the texture if you will is much the same.

Re:Overrated (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 5 months ago | (#45555621)

Oddly, I read CITR as a very alienated teenager and got nothing out of it. Re-reading it as a slightly more balanced adult, I find it far more interesting.

Re:Overrated (2)

cybaz (538103) | about 5 months ago | (#45555203)

I remember reading the book in high school, and it was like a light in the darkness, I felt that someone was finally speaking to me. I promised myself to read it every year so that I wouldn't forget the books message. By about my second year of college when I got half way through the book, I couldn't stand Holden's condescending, entitled attitude, and wondered what I had ever seen in the book.

Re:Overrated (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555227)

I am a foreigner too, and I read it in Russia soon after USSR fall, and I knew about this book years earlier, just could not obtain it.

After that, I read everything I could get by Salinger. Original book was stolen from me by fellow college mate, who was afraid he won't be able to obtain it otherwise (years later, we both laughed about it).

This book is fascinating, man. And if you do not understand why - do not worry. Some people never get what is so special about Van Gogh either, so you are not unique.

Personally, I think in the same vein as computer literacy, one can develop his taste just by doing things repeatedly. So, read more. And if you think you read too much already, then quadruple the number.

Re:Overrated (1)

jandersen (462034) | about 5 months ago | (#45555281)

No, I had to look it up too. Apparently it is about teenage rebellion and was published in 1951, at a time just before being a teenager was seen as something different that deserved a name for itself; as far as I remember, the term "teenager" is relatively new, and the idea that teenagers would reject the ideas of their parents was surprising, to say the least. On that background, perhaps it isn't surprising that it was a powerful book at the time, but I feel the subject is somewhat dated now. The "youth revolution" in the 60es was about the widespread feeling that the parent generation had let their children down, on one hand being far too controlling and restrictive, while on the other hand not caring about them and guiding them in a world where everything seemed to be teetering on the brink. And the 50es was where it started, with Rock'n'Roll and teeange culture.

Highly Overrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555291)

I don;t want to say it's crap. But, well... It's utter crap.

The fact that it is presently regarded as some pinnacle of American literature is a sad sad state of affairs.

Re:Highly Overrated (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about 5 months ago | (#45555395)

I'll agree it might not deserve its place of regard near the apex of American literature but it certainly isn't crap. Maybe it no longer should be one of the five or six books we determinedly cram down every high schoolers throat anymore but someone seriously interested in American literature still needs to pay it a visit for certain.

It was a work of avaunt guard art in its day. There really was little in the way of "modern" coming of age works at the time, and nobody had done a novel length narrative in stream of conscience. The fact he did both and created a book that most people at least like well enough to finish even if they find they can't identify suggests its actually a pretty good book.

Some of its artistic greatness comes from the fact that it was unique. There have been lots of imitators who have created lots of crap since, but the original deserves a little reverence. If in visual arts I took a canvas painted half orange and half yellow and then drew a read smear down the center you'd rightly call it crap; but when Mark Rothko did expressed something and said something nobody had ever done before. What exactly I am not sure but when you see "Orange, Red, Yellow" you do react to it. The fact that someone was willing to put it out there and assert, this can be art, makes it special in a way no derivative work ever can be; its similar with Catcher.

Re:Overrated (5, Insightful)

cffrost (885375) | about 5 months ago | (#45555379)

As a foreigner, I'd never heard of Salinger or Catcher in the Rye. When I first made it to the US, my friend gave me the book: "You HAVE to read that". I was underwhelmed and to this day still do not understand what all the fuss is about. A story about a whiney teenager with too much money for his own good ? This describe America pretty well to me !!!

No way, god damn it. I think "The Catcher in the goddamn Rye" is one of the best goddamn books there is. Hell, I think it even won a few o' them fancy goddamn awards, but I can't remember their goddamn names.

Re:Overrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555445)

Sometimes, literature just doesn't age well. In my opinion, Sartre also comes across as particularly whiny, self absorbed and somewhat irrelevant nowadays, whereas the works by Camus still have this timeless, fresh feeling to them. Subjective opinions, yes, but hey, so was yours.

Re:Overrated (5, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 5 months ago | (#45555471)

Personally, I think Salinger's best, and most accessible, work is "Nine Stories". Have a go at that, if you are interested. How can you resist such titles as, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" and "For Esmé – with Love and Squalor" . . . ?

A story about a whiney teenager with too much money for his own good ?

A lot of famous literary works can be summed up in simple sentences:

  • "Romeo and Juliet" - Kids from the wrong families want to get married, and things go terribly wrong.
  • "The Da Vinci Code" - People solve puzzles and find stuff.
  • "Crime and Punishment" - Guy kills a loan shark, and worries about it later.
  • "The Metamorphis" - Dude turns into a cockroach, and his family freaks out.
  • "Jane Eyre" - Poor chick grows up, and gets married.
  • "Goethe's Faust" - Guy cuts a bad deal with the Devil.
  • "The Bible" - God creates humans, and claims to be good and loving, but spends most of his time making life miserable for humans.

Re:Overrated (2)

trackedvehicle (1972844) | about 5 months ago | (#45555569)

As a foreigner, I'd never heard of Salinger or Catcher in the Rye. When I first made it to the US, my friend gave me the book: "You HAVE to read that". I was underwhelmed and to this day still do not understand what all the fuss is about. A story about a whiney teenager with too much money for his own good ? This describe America pretty well to me !!!

Different strokes for different folks: as a non-american (and non-Brit) myself, I absolutely loved Catcher in the Rye when I first read it (which was in Croatian), and became instant fan of J. D. Salinger. After I graduated, I moved to a Nordic country and with more disposable income, bought all his published works in English - and devoured them!

*Different strokes for different folks, dude.*

Re:Overrated (1)

ledow (319597) | about 5 months ago | (#45555631)

I've thought the same of many "classics". In fact, I stopped trying to read the classics that everyone says "I MUST read" because they always turned out shite. I stuck to the famous authors (Dickens, etc.), and the popular books, and was a hell of a lot happier.

Sorry, but even Shakespeare - it's a load of shite. It may have been ground-breaking in its day, but it's almost impossible to read in context nowadays and not that fulfilling even once you have. Why we still teach kids it, I have no idea.

The worst I ever read, though, was The Demolished Man, the first ever Hugo Award winner. God, it was awful.

I get that some books, like some of the H.G.Wells, are just dated and mired in the politics of the times, but there's a world of difference between being out of your time and being god-damn atrocious. I can handle reading a book and thinking "I'm just not interested in what they are saying", "I don't get the historical context", "I'm just bored even if it's good writing".

What I can't handle is being forced to read utter shite because it's "a classic" or by a famous author. I tell you now, every "famous" author has at least one steaming pile of turd behind them somewhere, and I refuse to seek it out and read it just to say that I've read all their books. And lots of the famous authors wrote nothing but crap.

It's a matter of personal taste, of course, but it's the same with everything - art, music, literature. Some of it is by a famous artist and utter shite. Some famous artists are entirely utter shite.

We could argue about it until the cows come home.

(P.S. Every time someone has ever told me "You HAVE to read that", it's been utter shite... I'm assuming that's just me).

New depth to "RTFA" (2)

swampfriend (2629073) | about 5 months ago | (#45555009)

Funny that I don't see anyone talk about the stories themselves, just the news surrounding their acquisition... Is there some radical content in these stories, something of super-human insight or intelligence, that was supposed to be locked away for a good reason?

Re:New depth to "RTFA" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555253)

Funny that I don't see anyone talk about the stories themselves, just the news surrounding their acquisition... Is there some radical content in these stories, something of super-human insight or intelligence, that was supposed to be locked away for a good reason?

Content? What? We have SHINIES! And someone said they were ILLEGAL, so that makes them MORE BETTERER, because we can't let anyone tell us what to do! Our dragon hoards won't increase themselves, you know! Just you wait; someday someone will ask for one of J. D. Salinger's unpublished works, and WE'LL have them and nobody else will, and WE'LL be heroes! Just like how any day now someone's BOUND to ask for these twenty ripped albums of classic yodeling instructional lessons, ALL IN RAW LOSSLESS FORMAT, BITCHES! YOU'LL SEE!

Re:New depth to "RTFA" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555401)

I have read the three stories now thanks to:
http://tracker2.postman.i2p/index.php?view=TorrentDetail&id=24297

[Using the url requires running i2p and by the way i2p torrents are fully encrypted. Please join i2p, especially if you create or share normal popular content and/or if you actually care about (at least digital) freedom.]

*insert vague (meta-)spoiler alert here*

The stories should be considered unfinished and not merely unpublished. "An Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" is the first story and the most complete. Despite this they're all very much Salinger for better or worse and a pleasant or intriguing read if you like him/his works or his style and atmosphere, but if one reads them one can easily understand why he would not want them public in the form they have.

For the people who couldn't care less (this includes literary critics) he is right, for the people who appreciate him at face value and who are possibly also aware of him not enjoying the way "Catcher in the Rye" was being interpreted he couldn't be more wrong; if anything these unfinished short stories made me want to know him and his context better (even if the three stories themselves contribute to that).

The three stories are very different to each other but still (perhaps obviously) invites speculation as to being connected (one could imagine the other two stories being part of "An Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" as stories written by the protagonist).

Likewise one could point out that there are more than three stories in "Three Stories" :)

The stories suck (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 months ago | (#45555537)

Really - they suck. As stand alone stories, they are worthless. If you actually know something about Salinger, and his life, then the stories might mean something.

First story: "I took my kid brother in to town for oysters, then we went to the beach, he swam for a bit, and he collapsed. Took him home, he died, end of story."

Unfortunately, my version is probably slightly more coherent than Salinger's version.

The other two stories aren't any better.

So where did the eBay copy come from? (3, Insightful)

Wootery (1087023) | about 5 months ago | (#45555051)

Incredibly, the uploader (or someone connected to the uploader) bought an unauthorized copy on eBay for a pittance

One presumes then that although this stuff is now kept under lock and key, it wasn't always so carefully protected?

Re:So where did the eBay copy come from? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 5 months ago | (#45555287)

Or someone with a perfect photographic memory read it and reproduced it word for word. It could happen ... it COULD!

Re:So where did the eBay copy come from? (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 5 months ago | (#45555397)

Back in the days of Shakespeare, rival publishers used to print "scripts" of the plays based on what they could recall from having seen the plays. They were of course wildly inaccurate, with entirely different text.

It was a major reason for the First Folio. An official version to correct the record of what Shakespeare's texts actually were.

Re:So where did the eBay copy come from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555499)

You are quite right.

According to The Times today, Princeton prohibited the photocopying of this book sometime in the 1980s. So there may well be old photocopies in existence.

The mystery of how the story got out (5, Funny)

KBehemoth (2519358) | about 5 months ago | (#45555119)

Slightly overweight visitor: "Ok, Glass..."
Heavily-Armed Librarian Guardian: "What did you say?"
Slightly overweight visitor: "Uh, I said... looking classy... Looking classy, Mr. Salinger!"
Heavily-Armed Librarian Guardian: "Shh."

[ later that day ]

Heavily-Armed Librarian Guardian: "I wonder why that guy was wearing a Guy Fawkes mask."

Lovin' the 'Conspiracy Theory' synchronicity (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 5 months ago | (#45555405)

In the movie Conspiracy Theory (1997) [imdb.com] Jetty Fletcher (Mel Gibson) is obsessed with Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and does not know why (she swallowed the fly). His apartment is full of unread copies. It turns out that the spooks who monkeyed with his mind planted the suggestion to purchase copies of it because the relative unpopularity of the book made it an excellent way to track his movements electronically.

Today there is discussion on this thread of people who feel compelled to download these torrents, and the possibility of being traced by some shadowy well-connected organization while doing so.

Bring on the evil MK-ULTRA mastermind, Captain Jean Luc Picard.

[Walking through a metal detector]
Jerry Fletcher: Why is this thing safe for me and not for my keys?

Jerry Fletcher: July eighth, 1979, all the fathers of Nobel Prize winners were rounded up by United Nations military units, all right, and actually forced at gunpoint to give semen samples in little plastic jars, which are now stored below Rockefeller Center underneath the ice skating rink...

what.cd LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45555921)

a bunch of fagots who shame the real scene

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