Today is Someday: Book 3 - Franny and Zooey

          This.  Goddamn it.  THIS was what I was hoping for.

          There seems to be a growing and yet infinite amount of "Best Book" lists (one maybe might want to use the term innumerable).  An aggregate collection of those best-of-the-bests now contains hundreds of books—thousands when they are spread-grouped by genre/decade/language.  J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey is on almost all of them and near the top of many.

          When I walk into my favorite bookstore on the planet I head straight for the Gold Room where I begin browsing the Fantasy/Science Fiction shelves and then the Action/Suspense/Thriller sections before I cross the isle to take a gander at the Mysteries; if I'ven't (is a double contraction too many?) found enough to sate my brain for the coming weeks, I try the coffee shop and scan the graphic novels before walking down a few steps to the Blue Room in order to peruse the Small Press/Literature areas.  Still not carrying enough?  Green Room for New Release/Non-Fiction and then Sale Books.

          The first reason I've avoided reading F&Z for so long is because it was in the Red Room (World Religion) or the Blue Room (Classic Literature).  Also, I have a clear economic aversion against small books because I want my entertainment money to stretch and F&Z is only a four-hour book at best.

          I've avoided reading F&Z for so long because when I was but twenty-one years old Mark Chapman became, overnight and forevermore, Mark David Chapman (one maybe might want to use the term with a bullet...but should immediately suppress that urge).  Chapman caused me to read my first J.D. Salinger: Catcher in the Rye.  At the time and in hindsight, I recognize my own scorn at my least common denominator pandering and (for more than the obvious reason) I wish I could, instead, say that I learned the metaphor of Holden Caulfield's dream after a smoky-eyed Yugoslavian college girlfriend recommended it.  The truth is rarely so.  But.  I didn't identify with Caulfield, or his surroundings, or life, or outlook.  Even a little bit.  And I was a full-time art college student at the time.

          Franny and Zooey is non-abstract, photo-realistic, character based, and the most tightly descriptive successful balancing...nay juggling act I have ever read.  With the complete human condition rendered perfectly in the center, unchallengeable objective knowledge solidly detailed on one end of the fulcrum, and spiritual belief critically explained on the other.  It gets my highest recommendation.  I'm really happy today was someday.

Today is Someday:  Book 2 - A Clockwork Orange

Today is Someday:  Book 1 - Watership Down



Davecat said...

Between ACO and Franny & Zooey, I have the sneaking suspicion that you've been rummaging through our bookshelves! I'll simply have to get Sidore & Elena to sleep in shifts when I'm away.

I'm still really keen on Catcher in the Rye, although I can see why not everyone in the year 2013 would agree. Actually, I was disheartened to read an article online somewhere recently, where a class of highschoolers had read Catcher in the Rye, and the overall reaction was that Holden needed to get over himself. But you'd drawn a line from Holden Caulfield to Franny Glass, as both of them are fed up with the 'phonies' of the world. Technically, you could say that's the overall theme of all of Salinger's tales, but y'know. Franny just happens to be more spiritual about how she's coping with existence.

As much as I enjoyed the story 'Franny', 'Zooey' was more my speed. Maybe it was all the sarcastic banter that filled the pages. Maybe it was Zooey's cocky attitude that he used to cover up the fact that, like Franny, he felt adrift without their older brother Seymour. And yes, the stories are more character sketches than narratives, but it made me wish that Salinger had written even more about the Glass family.

Glad you found another winner! Now go read 'Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters', as it's pretty damned funny! In that bittersweet Salinger style, of course...

veach glines said...

Your bookshelves must contain all the best of the best, davecat; or, more probviously your 'somedays' in the 'I will get around to reading that someday' has been sooner than mine.

Is Salinger's RH the RB, C a "shouldn't miss another day" like F&Z? I have a handful of someday-is-today books, but it seems you may be able to recommend another handful or two. Please do so if you would be so inclined...I would love to see your top books one should not put off reading another day.