One title on the list:
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (1951)Read about the other books on Allen's list.
The Catcher in the Rye has always had special meaning for me because I read it when I was young – 18 or so. It resonated with my fantasies about Manhattan, the Upper East Side, and New York City in general. It was such a relief from all the other books I was reading at the time, which all had a quality of homework about them. For me, reading Middlemarch or Sentimental Education is work, whereas The Catcher in the Rye is pure pleasure. The burden of entertainment was on the author. Salinger fulfilled that obligation from the first sentence on.
When I was younger reading was something you did for school, something you did for obligation, something you did if you wanted to take out a certain kind of woman. It wasn't something I did for fun. But Catcher in the Rye was different. It was amusing, it was in my vernacular, and the atmosphere held great emotional resonance for me. I reread it on a few occasions and I always get a kick out of it.
The Catcher In The Rye appears on Patrick Ness's top 10 list of "unsuitable" books for teenagers, David Ulin's six favorite books list, Nicholas Royle's list of the top ten writers on the telephone, TIME magazine's list of the top ten books you were forced to read in school, Tony Parsons' list of the top ten troubled males in fiction, Dan Rhodes' top ten list of short books, and Sarah Ebner's top 25 list of boarding school books; it is one of Sophie Thompson's six best books. Upon rereading, the novel disappointed Khaled Hosseini, Mary Gordon, and Laura Lippman.