Archives for January 2010

J. D. Salinger: Requiescat in Pace

Author J. D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, is dead at age 91.

I confess that I never liked Holden Caulfield, if I am a Salinger fan. A young co-ed at the University of Chicago told me during my Orientation Week freshman year that I was the living image of Salinger’s angst ridden, clever anti-hero. I would have preferred to have been likened to Woody Allen (and I wouldn’t have enjoyed that, either, frankly). But Salinger’s artistry was undeniable.

It wasn’t until I was a teacher at Valley Forge Military Academy, where Salinger went to school and supposedly used as a model for Pencey Prep, that I learned anything of interest about this author-recluse. It turns out that he was a loyal alumnus to ‘the Forge’ who had only fond memories of the place (he attended alumni gatherings there well after his retreat to his hermitage in New Hampshire). I suspect it was because the military skills he learned there — and Valley Forge really was a military school in the 1930’s when he was a student, including classes in how to fire a machine gun, etc. — helped him get through the Normandy invasion and drive to the Rhine as admirably as he did.

Two questions for you, in Salinger’s memory:

Do you remember your first reading of Catcher in the Rye?

And in what ways, if any, do you think Ms. Rowling’s Harry Potter and all boy-novel protagonists inevitably are shades of Holden Caulfield, Salinger’s signature contribution to letters?

PotterCast #213: Potter Pundits Talk Luna

Your team of Potter Pundits — Travis Prinzi, Pepperdine’s James Thomas, and yours truly — sent in a ‘Luna Lovegood’ segment to the The Leaky Cauldron’s PotterCast and it aired this week. It was a lot of fun to record, which is a good thing because we got to do it three times, and the feedback from Fandom for this show, John Noe tells us, has been “excellent.” The show segment is several minutes into the program. Please share your thoughts about the program and about Luna here.

‘Anne of Green Gables’ and Harry Potter

Where have I been over the holidays? Mostly on Prince Edward Island with Anne of Green Gables. I’m working on a new book, tentatively titled Bella Swan’s Bookshelf (creative, I know) about the literary influences playing on the Twilight series and that requires a lot of reading time with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s green and grey-eyed red-head.

We’ve discussed the possible influence of Anne on the Hogwarts Saga before (see Anne Shirley vs. Harry Potter from the archives of the Anne Lexicon site and my response here if you missed that). I want to re-visit the topic for three reasons: [Read more…]

John Granger Speaking Dates 2010

For those of you who have asked and others who might be interested, here are the Speaking Dates on my 2010 horizon with stops in Manhattan, Louisville, and Tucson coming right up! [Read more…]