Monday, July 26, 2021

IWW Members; Publishing Successes

Amita Basu

Bewildering Stories Issue 911 carries the first half (two parts) of mynovelette "Zeus & His Things." This is my only passable attempt at humour and at speculative fiction so far. The second half of this 10k (parts 3 & 4) will be out in Issue 912, though they're already accessible.

My short story "Re:Birth" has been accepted for publication by Goats Milk Magazine. I revised this story substantially with feedback from the group a couple of months ago. Thank you to everyone for reading and critiquing.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Notes For July 23rd, 2021

This Day In Literary History

On July 23rd, 1888, the legendary American mystery writer Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago, Illinois. When he was seven years old, Chandler's Irish mother moved the family to England after they were abandoned by his father, a civil engineer and drunkard.

In England, Chandler's uncle, an affluent lawyer, supported the family. Chandler received his education first at a local school in Upper Norwood, then at Dulwich College, London - the public college where P.G. Wodehouse and C.S. Forester learned to write.

After graduation, instead of attending university, Chandler traveled throughout Europe, spending time in Paris and Munich. He became a naturalized British citizen so he could take a civil examination, where he would receive the third highest grade ever earned.

Chandler then took an Admiralty job which lasted just over a year. He began his writing career as a poet, and published his first poem during this time. Chandler came to dislike the civil service.

Over his family's objections, he quit and became a reporter for the Daily Express and the Bristol Western Gazette newspapers. He was unsuccessful as a journalist, but did publish some reviews and continued writing poetry.

With a loan from his uncle, Chandler returned to the U.S. and settled in Los Angeles, where he earned a meager living doing menial jobs, including stringing tennis rackets and picking fruit.

Finally, he took a correspondence course in bookkeeping, which he completed ahead of schedule. It enabled him to find decent, steady employment. When the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, Chandler enlisted in the CEF (Canadian Expeditionary Force).

In France, he fought in the trenches with the Gordon Highlanders, an infantry regiment in the British Army. By the end of the war, he was undergoing training to be a pilot for the RAF. After the war ended, Chandler returned to Los Angeles. He soon fell in love with Cissy Pascal, a married woman 18 years his senior.

Cissy ended her marriage in an amicable divorce, but Chandler's mother didn't approve of their relationship and would not allow them to marry. He had to support both women financially for the next four years. Chandler's mother died in September of 1923. Five months later, in February of 1924, he married Cissy.

By 1932, Raymond Chandler had become a highly paid vice president for the Dabney Oil syndicate. It would only last a year, as his battles with alcoholism and depression took their toll and resulted in his firing. But he got his life back together and decided to try making a living as a writer.

He taught himself how to write pulp fiction, and in 1933, his first short story, Blackmailers Don't Shoot, appeared in Black Mask magazine. For the next several years, he wrote and published stories regularly in pulp fiction magazines.

In 1939, Raymond Chandler's first novel, The Big Sleep, was published. It became a huge success, and introduced the world to Chandler's most famous recurring character - a hard-boiled detective by the name of Philip Marlowe. He was quite different than most gumshoes.

Marlowe was intelligent (college educated) and complex, tough as nails yet sentimental at times, and somewhat fluent in Spanish. He had few friends and a passion for both classical music and the game of chess. If he suspected that a prospective client's job was unethical, he would refuse to take the case.

Chandler's writing style was hard-boiled, fast paced, and filled with clever and lyrical metaphors like
The minutes went by on tiptoe, with their fingers to their lips. This distinctive style would be referred to as "Chandleresque."

In The Big Sleep, (the title is a euphemism for death) Philip Marlowe is hired by elderly, wheelchair-bound millionaire General Sternwood. The case seems simple enough: Marlowe must track down a blackmailer who claims that he's owed gambling debts accrued by Sternwood's unstable daughter, Carmen.

Marlowe soon realizes that nothing about the case is as it seems; people surrounding Carmen and the blackmailer start turning up dead, and Marlowe becomes ensnared in a grim and sordid web of murder, madness, and the illegal stag film business.

In 1946, The Big Sleep would be adapted as a feature film starring Humphrey Bogart. Though the novel had to be sanitized considerably for the screen as per Production Code requirements, the film is still considered one of the all time great movies, and rightfully so.

Before the film was made, Chandler's success as a novelist earned him a job as a Hollywood screenwriter. In 1944, he and legendary director Billy Wilder wrote the screenplay for Wilder's classic suspense thriller Double Indemnity - an adaptation of James M. Cain's novel.

In 1946, Chandler wrote an original screenplay for a noir thriller called The Blue Dahlia, which starred Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. In 1951, he co-wrote the screenplay for the Alfred Hitchcock classic Strangers On A Train - an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel whose story Chandler found implausible.

Raymond Chandler continued to write more classic Philip Marlowe novels, including Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Lady In The Lake (1943) and The Long Goodbye (1954), which won him an Edgar Award for Best Novel in 1955.

After he completed The Long Goodbye, Chandler's wife Cissy died following a long illness. Her death shattered him, and he plunged into a new battle with his old demons, drink and depression. He attempted suicide in 1955. After recovering in England, Chandler returned to California. He died three years later at the age of 70 from heart and kidney failure.

Quote Of The Day

"I have a sense of exile from thought, a nostalgia of the quiet room and balanced mind. I am a writer, and there comes a time when that which I write has to belong to me, has to be written alone and in silence, with no one looking over my shoulder, no one telling me a better way to write it. It doesn't have to be great writing, it doesn't even have to be terribly good. It just has to be mine." - Raymond Chandler

Vanguard Video

Today's video features a BBC documentary on Raymond Chandler and his iconic detective called The Simple Art of Philip Marlowe. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Notes For July 22nd, 2021

This Day In Literary History

On July 22nd, 1936, the famous American writer Tom Robbins was born in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Both his grandfathers were Southern Baptist preachers. The family moved to Virginia in 1947.

At the age of 16, Robbins studied journalism at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, but he dropped out of college when his fraternity expelled him for disciplinary problems.

In 1954, Robbins was drafted into the military. He enlisted in the Air Force and served a two year tour of duty in Korea as a meteorologist. After his discharge, he returned to civilian life, settling in Richmond, Virginia. He became part of the local art scene and hung out with his fellow painters.

In 1957, Robbins enrolled in art school at Richmond Professional Institute, now known as Virginia Commonwealth University. While there, he became the editor of the campus newspaper and worked as a copy editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper.

After art school, Tom Robbins spent a year hitchhiking his way around the country. He settled in New York City and became a poet. In 1961, he moved to San Francisco, then a year later, he moved to Seattle to get a Master's degree at the University Of Washington's School of Far Eastern Studies.

Over the next five years, Robbins worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, first as a sports reporter, then as an arts reviewer. In 1966, he wrote a column for Seattle Magazine and hosted a radio show on KRAB-FM, a non-commercial station in Seattle.

The following year, Robbins went to a concert by the legendary rock band The Doors, which was a life changing experience for him and a major factor in his decision to move to La Conner, Washington, and write his first book.

Tom Robbins' first novel, Another Roadside Attraction, was published in 1971. It introduced his trademark writing style - a non-linear narrative filled with offbeat humor and scathing satire.

It told the story of John Paul Ziller and his wife Amanda - a hippie guru - who open a combination hot dog stand and zoo called Captain Kendrick's Memorial Hot Dog Wildlife Preserve.

Other weird characters in the novel are a baboon named Mon Cul, a well educated fellow called Marx Marvelous, and L. Westminster "Plucky" Purcell, a football great and part time drug dealer.

Plucky accidentally uncovers a secret order of monks who work as assassins for the Vatican. He also uncovers a shocking secret dating back to the beginning of Christianity.

Robbins' next novel, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues (1976) featured a main character, Sissy Henshaw, who was born with an unusual birth defect - enormously large thumbs, which she uses to hitchhike around the country. In her travels, Sissy meets and becomes a model for the Countess, a lesbian feminine hygiene product tycoon.

The Countess introduces Sissy to her future husband, a Mohawk Indian named Julian Gitche. Sissy also meets sexually open cowgirl Bonanza Jellybean, and an escapee from a U.S. government Japanese internment camp with the erroneous nickname "The Chink."

In 1993, director Gus Van Sant - a friend of Tom Robbins - adapted Even Cowgirls Get The Blues as a feature film starring Uma Thurman as Sissy Henshaw, John Hurt as the Countess, Rain Phoenix as Bonanza Jellybean, Keanu Reeves as Julian Gitche, and Pat Morita as The Chink.

Tom Robbins has written ten novels so far, including memorable works such as Still Life with Woodpecker (1980) and Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (1994). His most recent novel, B is for Beer, was published in April of 2009.

B is for Beer is classic Robbins. Dubbed "a children's book for grown-ups" and "a grown-up book for children," it's presented in the form of a children's novel. It tells the story of six-year-old Gracie Perkel, who is fascinated by beer, her dad's favorite beverage, which she describes as "the stuff that's yellow and looks like pee-pee."

Gracie turns to her favorite uncle, beer-guzzling hippie Uncle Moe, for help. He leads her on a quest to find out all there is to know about beer, then leaves her in the lurch, running off with a woman - a podiatrist he's fallen in love with.

Undaunted, Gracie drinks her first beer, throws up, passes out, and is visited by the Beer Fairy, who teaches her all about the history and production of beer. In a recent interview, Tom Robbins claimed that he wrote B is for Beer as a satirical ode to the brewed beverage:

Kids are constantly exposed to beer. It's everywhere, yet, aside from wagging a warning finger and growling - true enough as it goes - "beer is for grownups," how many parents actually engage their youngsters on the subject? As a topic for detailed family discussion, it's generally as taboo as sex.

The novel was adapted as a musical called B Is for Beer: The Musical by Tom Robbins and Australian musician / actor Ben Lee.

As for his next novel, Robbins said, "I've decided to take advantage of outsourcing. My next novel will be written by a couple of guys in Bangalore."

Quote Of The Day

"There is a similarity between juggling and composing on the typewriter. The trick is, when you spill something, make it look like a part of the act." - Tom Robbins

Vanguard Video

Today's video features an interview with Tom Robbins. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Notes For July 21st, 2021

This Day In Literary History

On July 21st, 1899, the legendary American writer Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois - a suburb of Chicago. His father, Clarence Edmonds "Doc Ed" Hemingway, was a country doctor. His mother Grace was an aspiring opera singer.

Grace, who earned money giving voice and music lessons, was a domineering and fiercely religious woman who shared the beliefs of the strict, fundamentalist Protestant population of Oak Park, which Ernest Hemingway described as having "wide lawns and narrow minds."

As a boy, Hemingway adopted his father's hobbies of hunting, fishing, and camping in the woods and lakes of Northern Michigan, where his family owned a summer home. They often vacationed there, and the young Hemingway's experiences instilled in him a passion for both outdoor adventure and living in remote areas.

In high school, Hemingway excelled in both sports (he boxed and played football) and academics, displaying exceptional talent in his English classes. His first literary experience was writing for both the school newspaper and yearbook.

In his senior year, he became the editor of the newspaper. He sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Ring Lardner, Jr. as a tribute to his literary hero, Ring Lardner.

After graduating high school, Hemingway decided not to go to college. Instead, he began his writing career as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. Six months later, with the Great War raging, against his father's wishes, he left the job and joined the Army.

He failed his physical due to vision problems, so he joined the Red Cross Ambulance Corps instead. On his way to the Italian front, he stopped in Paris, which was being bombarded by German artillery. He tried to get as close to the combat zone as possible.

When he arrived in Italy, Hemingway witnessed first hand the horrors of war. After an ammunition factory near Milan exploded, he had to pick up the human remains. He wrote about the experience in his first short story, A Natural History Of The Dead.

It left him badly shaken. In July of 1918, Hemingway's career as an ambulance driver ended when he was badly wounded while delivering supplies to soldiers. Shrapnel from an Austrian trench mortar shell lodged in his legs, and machine gun fire badly injured his knee.

While recovering in a Milan hospital, he fell in love with Agnes von Kurowski, an American nurse six years his senior. They planned to return to America together, but when the time came, Agnes jilted Hemingway and ran off with an Italian officer.

This painful betrayal left a mark on his psyche, and was reflected in his classic novel A Farewell To Arms (1929). After the war, he returned briefly to Oak Park before leaving for Toronto, Ontario.

There, he lived in an apartment on Bathurst Street, now known as The Hemingway. He resumed his journalism career, landing a job as a reporter for the Toronto Star newspaper. He met and married his first wife, Hadley Richardson.

She hated their cramped apartment, so they moved to Paris, where Hemingway covered the Greco-Turkish War for the Toronto Star. In this obscure yet important war, he witnessed the horrific burning of Smyrna, which he mentioned in a few of his short stories.

While living in Paris, he met Gertrude Stein, who became his mentor and introduced him to the American expatriate community of writers and artists who lived around the Montparnasse Quarter. This community came to be known as the Lost Generation, a term Stein coined from a comment made by her mechanic.

In 1923, after enjoying great success as a foreign correspondent, Hemingway returned to Toronto, where he began writing fiction under the pseudonym Peter Jackson. His first child was born - a son named John but known as Jack. Hemingway asked Gertrude Stein to be his son's godmother.

Around this time, Hemingway had a falling out with his editor, who believed he had been spoiled by his overseas assignments. He deliberately gave Hemingway mundane assignments.

A bitter Hemingway angrily resigned from the Toronto Star in December of 1923. His resignation must have been either ignored or rescinded, as Hemingway continued to write for the newspaper - albeit sporadically.

In 1925, Ernest Hemingway's first book was published. It was a short story collection called In Our Time. It featured four Nick Adams stories.

The book's title, which came from the English Book of Common Prayer, was suggested to Hemingway by Ezra Pound. The 1930 reprint of the book included the piece On The Quai At Smyrna as an introduction.

It was based on Hemingway's experiences covering the Greco-Turkish War. The same year his book was published, Hemingway met writer F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Dingo Bar in Paris. Just two weeks before, Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby was published.

Hemingway and Fiztgerald became close friends. They spent a lot of time together talking, drinking, and exchanging manuscripts. Impressed with Hemingway's writing talent, Fitzgerald did a lot to advance his career.

Unfortunately, Fitzgerald's wife Zelda took an immediate dislike to Hemingway. The feeling was mutual. Zelda and her husband were having marital problems at the time, and she blamed the decline of their sex life on Hemingway, whom she called a "fairy."

She accused him of having a homosexual affair with Fitzgerald, but there's no real evidence that the two men had an affair or were gay or bisexual. Zelda was both a heavy drinker and a schizophrenic, and would later be institutionalized.

(Literary scholars have speculated that Ernest Hemingway's aggressive hypermasculinity was the result of his being a deeply closeted, self-loathing gay man unable to accept his homosexuality.)

To get back at Zelda for attacking his masculinity, Fitzgerald slept with a female prostitute and flaunted the affair. The conflict between Hemingway and Zelda ended his friendship with Fitzgerald and created lifelong animosity between the two writers.

Ernest Hemingway made his name with his classic debut novel, (he had previously published a novella) The Sun Also Rises (1926). It told the unusual love story of Jake Barnes, an American whose war injury left him impotent, and Lady Brett Ashley, a promiscuous English divorcee - expatriates who meet in Paris.

While Jake is unable to have sex, Brett, a twice-divorced British flapper, enjoys the sexual freedom of the Jazz Age. Though they come to love each other, both ultimately realize that they have no chance at a stable relationship.

Hemingway and his wife Hadley divorced in 1927. He later married Pauline Pfeiffer, a devout Catholic from Arkansas who was an occasional fashion reporter, writing for Vanity Fair and Vogue. Hemingway converted to Catholicism and continued to write.

Tragedy struck the following year when his father, in poor health and with financial troubles, committed suicide by shooting himself with an old Civil War pistol. Hemingway returned to Oak Park to arrange the funeral.

He angered the Protestant community by voicing the Catholic view that all suicides go to Hell. Not long afterward, Harry Crosby - an old friend of Hemingway's from his Paris days and the founder of Black Sun Press - also committed suicide.

A year later in 1929, Hemingway published his classic novel, A Farewell To Arms. It was an autobiographical novel based on Hemingway's experiences in World War I. In it, Frederic Henry, an American soldier, is wounded in Italy and recovers in a Milan hospital.

There, he meets a British nurse, Catherine Barkley, and falls in love with her. By the time he has recovered, she is three months pregnant. They are separated by the war, then reunited later.

They flee to Switzerland by rowboat where, after a long and painful labor, Catherine gives birth to a stillborn baby, then bleeds to death. The novel would later be adapted for the stage and screen.

Ernest Hemingway wrote ten novels, most of them all-time classics. He also wrote ten short story collections, several nonfiction books, and two plays. His famous 1952 novella The Old Man And The Sea -written while Hemingway was living in Cuba - was his favorite, and with good reason.

His previous novel, Across The River And Into The Trees (1950) was savaged by the critics. They said that Hemingway was washed up as writer - he had become a parody of himself. The Old Man And The Sea proved his brilliance.

Hemingway's thrilling tale of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman far out in the Gulf Stream who struggles to reel in a giant marlin, won him tremendous praise from the critics, who compared his novella with Melville's Moby Dick and Faulkner's The Bear.

The Old Man And The Sea also won Hemingway the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1983, my eighth grade English teacher assigned the class to read this amazing novella. I loved it and became a big Hemingway fan. I still am.

In July of 1961, just three weeks before his 62nd birthday, after suffering from health problems and mental illness, Ernest Hemingway committed suicide with his hunting rifle.

Ironically, even though he had previously voiced the Catholic belief that all suicides go to Hell, the Church ruled that Hemingway was not responsible for his suicide due to mental illness. He was therefore allowed to be buried in a Catholic cemetery.

Hemingway's father and two of his siblings had also committed suicide, and years later, his granddaughter, actress Margaux Hemingway, would take her life. Some believe that the disease haemochromatosis ran in Hemingway's father's family.

Haemochromatosis is a genetic disease that causes an excessive level of iron in the blood - which not only results in damage to the pancreas, but also causes instability in the cerebrum, resulting in depression and mental illness.

Quote Of The Day

"The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector. This is the writer's radar, and all great writers have had it." - Ernest Hemingway

Vanguard Video

Today's video features a full length documentary on Ernest Hemingway called Ernest Hemingway: Wrestling With Life. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Notes For July 20th, 2021

This Day In Literary History

On July 20th, 1304, the legendary Italian poet, philosopher, and scholar Petrarch was born. He was born Francesco Petrarca in Arezzo, Italy. Petrarch's father was in the legal profession, so he demanded that his sons study law as well.

Petrarch spent seven years in law school, but he considered it a waste of time - his main interests were writing and Latin literature and he hated the practice of law, which he considered to be the art of selling justice.

After the death of their parents, Petrarch and his brother Gherardo went back to Avignon, where they spent most of their early years. To support himself, Petrarch worked in clerical offices. This gave him time to write.

He became friends with the legendary writer Boccaccio and corresponded with him frequently. Petrarch also completed his first major work, Africa - an epic poem written in Latin that told the story of the great Roman general, Scipio Africanus.

Petrarch's epic poem made him a celebrity throughout Europe. He became a priest and continued his work as a scholar and writer. He wrote mainly in Latin, but his most famous collection of poems, Il Canzoniere, (The Songbook) was written in Italian.

This work contained over 300 sonnets, a form his name would always be associated with. Though he is sometimes mistakenly credited as being the inventor of the sonnet, he was not. He did, however, invent the particular rhyme scheme for the form that came to be known as the Petrarchan sonnet.

The sonnets in Petrarch's book were inspired by a mysterious young woman known only as Laura. When Petrarch was 24 years old, after he had left the priesthood, he first saw Laura in church on Good Friday.

It was love at first sight for Petrarch, but alas, Laura was a married noblewoman who could not return his affection. Although an aristocrat, Laura was also a sweet-natured and humble girl, which endeared her to Petrarch.

Unable to realize his love for Laura, Petrarch wrote over 300 sonnets secretly professing his unrequited love for her. They are among the greatest love poems ever written. Not much is known to history about Laura.

Some scholars believe that she may have been Laura de Noves, wife of Count Hugues de Sade - an ancestor of the Marquis de Sade. When she died in 1348, Petrarch was wracked with grief.

The legendary composer Franz Liszt would set three of Petrarch's sonnets to music for voice in his work Tre Sonnetti Di Petrarca, and later transcribe them for solo piano in his suite Annees De Pelerinage.

In 1341, Petrarch was crowned the first poet laureate of Rome since antiquity. He traveled all over Europe as an ambassador. During his travels, he collected old, crumbling Latin manuscripts and became a leader in the movement to recover and restore the manuscripts of ancient Roman and Greek writers.

He advised Leontius Pilatus in his translation of a Homer manuscript acquired from Boccaccio, but was greatly displeased with the result. In 1345, Petrarch himself discovered a previously unknown collection of Cicero's letters, the Ad Atticum.

During the Italian Renaissance, Petrarch became a respected and influential philosopher. He is credited with founding the Humanist movement and describing the ignorant times that preceded the Renaissance as the "Dark Ages." But he will always be known as one of the greatest writers and poets of all time.

Throughout his remarkable life, he wrote poetry collections, essays, numerous scholarly works, and a large volume of correspondence. He brought the sonnet to prominence long before the birth of Shakespeare, and his love poems were magnificent. One of his most beloved sonnets is Sonnet #140:

She ruled in beauty o'er this heart of mine,
A noble lady in a humble home,
And now her time for heavenly bliss has come,
'Tis I am mortal proved, and she divine.
The soul that all its blessings must resign,
And love whose light no more on earth finds room,
Might rend the rocks with pity for their doom,
Yet none their sorrows can in words enshrine;
They weep within my heart; and ears are deaf
Save mine alone, and I am crushed with care,
And naught remains to me save mournful breath.
Assuredly but dust and shade we are,
Assuredly desire is blind and brief,
Assuredly its hope but ends in death.

Petrarch died in July of 1374, just before his 70th birthday.

Quote Of The Day

"There is no lighter burden, nor more agreeable, than a pen. Other pleasures fail us or wound, us while they charm, but the pen we take up rejoicing and lay down with satisfaction, for it has the power to advantage not only its lord and master, but many others as well, even though they be far away- sometimes, indeed, though they be not born for thousands of years to come. I believe I speak but the strict truth when I claim that as there is none among earthly delights more noble than literature, so there is none so lasting, none gentler, or more faithful; there is none which accompanies its possessor through the vicissitudes of life at so small a cost of effort or anxiety." - Petrarch

Vanguard Video

Today's video features a documentary on Petrarch and his contribution to the sonnet. Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2021

IWW Members' Publishing Successes

Chandrika Radhakrishnan

My flash story, The Last Will and Testament, was published by Short Story Town.

Another flash story, When Rotis* Throw a Curveball, was published by Galpa Short Stories.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Notes For July 16th, 2021

This Day In Literary History

On July 16th, 1951, The Catcher in the Rye, the classic novel by the legendary American writer J.D. Salinger, was published. Salinger's poignant coming-of-age story opens with teenage student Holden Caulfield being expelled from Pencey Prep, his boarding school in Pennsylvania.

Highly intelligent but mentally disturbed, the angry, alienated Holden believes that his fellow students and his teachers are all a bunch of phonies. After an altercation with his roommate, Holden packs up and leaves school in the middle of the night.

He takes a train back to New York City, but doesn't want to go home to his parents, so he checks into the shabby Edmont Hotel instead. There, he dances with some tourist girls, has a clumsy encounter with a prostitute, and is beaten by her pimp when he refuses to pay her more than the agreed upon amount.

Holden spends the next two days wandering around the city, drunk and lonely. He sneaks into his parents' apartment while they're out so he can visit his precocious ten-year-old little sister Phoebe - the only family member that he can communicate with.

He shares with her a fantasy (a misinterpretation of Robert Burns' Comin' Through The Rye) where he watches over children playing in a rye field near the edge of a cliff. He must become a "catcher in the rye" and protect them from falling off the cliff.

After leaving his parents' apartment, Holden visits his old English teacher, Mr. Antolini, who offers him a place to sleep and gives him a speech about life - while guzzling highballs. He compliments Holden's good looks.

Later that night, Holden is awakened to find Mr. Antolini stroking his head in a "flitty" way. Holden describes this as "something perverty." Mr. Antolini's marriage may be a sham to conceal his true nature.

When Holden tells Phoebe that he plans to move out West, she wants to go with him. He refuses to take her, which upsets her greatly, so he tells her that he won't move. The book ends with Holden taking Phoebe to the Central Park Zoo.

Watching with melancholy joy while she rides the carousel, he alludes to possible future events, including "getting sick" and being committed to a mental hospital, and attending another school in September. That's just a bare outline of The Catcher in the Rye.

You must read this novel for yourself. Though it was published during the Beat era and reflected the disillusionment of its youth, The Catcher in the Rye isn't a typical Beat novel. Its protagonist was more a reflection of the author's own mental health issues.

After serving in World War II and witnessing its horrors, including being one of the first American soldiers to enter a liberated Nazi concentration camp, J.D Salinger was committed to a hospital for mentally ill soldiers. He was more than just shell shocked.

Though he recovered (sort of) and served six more months of "denazification" duty in Germany before returning home to civilian life, Salinger would suffer from deep psychological scars until the day he died.

One of the greatest American novels of the 20th century and one of the most controversial, the American Library Association (ALA) has listed The Catcher in the Rye as the 13th most challenged book from 1990 to 2000 and one of the ten most challenged books of 2005.

The complaints range from profanity - including words such as goddamn and fuck - to blasphemy. Opponents of the book have also complained about the undermining of family values - Holden Caulfield being a poor role model who promotes rebellion, smoking, drinking, lying, and promiscuity.

In 1989, Shelley Keller-Gage, a high school teacher in Boron, California, was fired after some disgruntled parents complained about her placement of The Catcher in the Rye on her students' assigned reading list. She was later reinstated.

Throughout his life, J.D. Salinger rebuffed attempts at adapting his classic novel for the stage and screen. When his short story Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut was adapted as a film called My Foolish Heart, great liberties were taken, and the film bore little resemblance to Salinger's story.

The movie, which Salinger hated, turned out to be a critical and commercial failure. He vowed that no more of his works would be adapted. In 1961, Salinger denied legendary film and stage director Elia Kazan permission to adapt The Catcher in the Rye as a Broadway play.

Acclaimed filmmakers from Billy Wilder to Steven Spielberg expressed great interest in directing a feature film adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye, and many famous actors have expressed great interest in playing Holden Caulfield.

Big name actors from Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson to Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio have coveted the role of Salinger's antihero. John Cusack said that after he turned 21, he regretted that he had become too old to play Holden.

Ever since J.D. Salinger died in January of 2010 at the age of 91, speculation has run rampant that a feature film adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye will finally be made. Until then, everyone should read the novel, which is one of the all-time classic works of literature.

Quote Of The Day

“An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's.” - J.D. Salinger

Vanguard Video

Today's video features a complete reading of J.D. Salinger's classic novel, The Catcher In The Rye. Enjoy!

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