Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nine Stories - JD Salinger and other Miscellany

Title: Nine Stories
Author: JD Salinger
Date Finished: Feb 13, 2008
Yearly Count: 8
Pages: 198
Rating: 2.5/5

I feel like I should probably re-read this volume again to better grasp these stories. This slim collection includes:
-A Perfect Day for Bananafish
-Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut
-Just Before the War with the Eskimos
-The Laughing Man
-Down at the Dinghy
-For Esme – with Love and Squalor
-Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes
-De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period

The stories are easy to read – all short, the language accessible and smoothly written – but at the end of each story I was left with the feeling of wanting either a decent explanation or at least some closure to the story. I like short stories—and I’ve read a fair amount. I know that a lot finish with a moment of irony or some type of twist, but most of the time I can at least make sense of the ending. With these stories, I always wanted to scream “What???” From searching around the blogosphere, I have found that people seem to really like these short tales, but perhaps I missed something. Please enlighten me!!!

On another note, I am testing out my first audiobook - Eragon. I am very easily distracted. When at work I will start a number of projects so I can work on a little bit here and there otherwise I can’t stay focused on anything. If a book drags on for too long, I tend to get bored and won’t read at all (or will start wishing I could read something new). So, audiobooks is going to be a challenge.

I’m trying out audiobooks during my commute home in the afternoon. I listen to talk radio in the morning, so I’m pretty entertained, but on the way home I feel tortured with commercials and bad songs. The first day went pretty well. I only had to rewind the CD a few times. Yesterday, though, I was VERY distracted. And my sister called and we chatted for a while. Any tips for a first time listener? Joy, at Thoughts of Joy is an avid listener and I’ve been picking up tips from her for a few months now, but how many of you listen to audiobooks? Do you find one genre easier to listen to than another? (I don’t read a lot of fantasy, so I’m having a difficult time hearing descriptions and visualizing rather than reading a description and visualizing).


cj said...

I've gotta admit I didn't care all that much for Salinger's Catcher in the Rye so I'm not tempted to run out and read more.

And, I don't like listening to audio books so I can't help you there, either. It does sound like a good idea, if you can avoid the distractions!

Oh, and I was tagged for a Non-fiction meme and went down my list for people to officially tag. It didn't reach as far as you but I'd love to read your answers.


bethany canfield said...

Well, I actually really enjoyed Franny and Zooey, a different book of his. But out of the nine stories I only really enjoyed two. I thought the first and the last were well written and interesting to read. He is absolutely not my favourite...but I'd give him another try with Franny and Zooey. I have never read Catcher, but it seems people don't like it much.

I am excited to hear how you like the Eragon. Sounds like it will be fun.

bethany canfield said...

I am curious about the way you post your books and the format of the title, author, yearly count etc. Do you do that for a reason or for your own records? I really like how organized it is. I am not that organized, but I should be.

Kim L said...

I'm trying to love audiobooks. I have listened to maybe three before? Two of them were so-so, but one of them had a really amazing reader so I always think, yeah, I'd really like to listen to some more audiobooks, but yes its hard to find a good time to listen. I have a 5 minute commute at the moment, not very conducive to audiobooks. And when I work out, I want music. I don't know. Maybe on the weekends I can pop it in while I'm cleaning or something.

Nymeth said...

I love Salinger, this book included, but I'd be the first to admit that he's not for everyone.

To makes sense of the stories it helps to know that some of them tie in with his other books, namely "Franny and Zooey" and "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction". He wrote several pieces about the Glass family and spread them across these three books, and everything makes much more sense once you're familiar with them all.

Trish said...

*CJ - I am basically looking for a way to make my 1 hour commute a little easier to swallow. Yesterday went better--I think it's just going to take time. I think I'll work on the non-fiction meme sometime this weekend. :)

*Bethany - I found one guy's blog talking about how Nine Stories led him into wanting to be a writer, and another who typed out the entire story (I can't remember if it was Bananafish or Teddy?). I didn't really see a whole lot of criticism of the book, which made me feel a little in the minority.

And to answer your questions. :) People joke with me about my plans and lists and how organized I am. For the past couple of years I've kept a spreadsheet of all the books I own, which ones I've read, what edition I have, hardback/paperback, etc. When I was in grad school I thought it would be interesting to keep track of the pages read (because I was reading sometimes 1,000+ pages a week!), but that's something that I've only recently started doing...and only on the blog.

In terms of the blog format, when I read someone's blog I like to know what the author and page count and rating of the book. Some people even include the date of original publication and publishing house, but I don't. I guess it's all about your purposes and what you like. I'm really interested in how many books I read each year. I'm not sure if that answers your question--but I think you'll find something that works for you! :)

*Kim - I envy your 5 minute commute! I'm reading Water for Elephants right now, and I keep thinking that would make a good audiobook. I think I just picked the wrong book to start with, but I guess I need to train myself.

Trish said...

*Nymeth - I have heard that reading some of the others helps make sense of the stories, but some of the endings are so...I don't even know what the word is! :) I do own Franny and Zooey, so I plan on reading it (one day). And like I said, I think I need to re-read all of the stories once more (one day). I would like to read Catcher in the Rye as well.

Literary Feline said...

With as often as my attention wanders when I'm trying to listen to talk radio if I am trying to do something besides driving (and even then my thoughts get in the way), I worry that I wouldn't be much good at listening to audio books. My commute isn't long enough to make listening to an audio book worthwhile.

If I ever get an iPod, I may try listening to an audio book while I'm on the exercise bike. Right now I read a book and I tend to read slower.

Trish said...

*literary feline - Overall I'm really struggling with Eragon. I think that I needed to start with something a little lighter. I do better when action is going on, but the book goes into long details of history (fantasy), and at those times my mind wanders and I have to rewind a lot.

I read when I'm on the exercise bike as well--a little slower than usual--but it makes that exercise time go by a little quicker. Thanks for your thoughts--and the list of books! I actually just "won" Half of a Yellow Sun for the Decades Challenge grand prize--can't wait to get it!

Petunia said...

I've been listening to books on my Zune (like an iPod) while I quilt. It's worked out great so far. But I do usually listen to fun books. The next one I plan to listen to is The Namesake so we'll see it I can concentrate as well with heavier stories.

Trish said...

*Petunia - I'll be interested in hearing what you think. I'm moving on very slowly with Eragon, so I think I might go to the library and see if I can find something a little lighter. I think I've learned a lot about my reading style/practices, though.

Anonymous said...

See comment from Nymeth above - those are my favorite works of J.D. Salinger. Believe it or not the one I didn't really care for was Catcher in the Rye (I know, come an lynch me,lol). Maybe try the others and go back to this, you may have better luck!

Trish said...

*amateurdelivre - well...I don't have Catcher in the Rye sitting on my shelf, so I probably won't read it anytime soon. I do have Franny and Zooey, however, so I'll have to try that one then come back to 9 stories. Thanks for coming by!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Trish! I'm looking for Salinger's audiobooks about a half of a year but unsuccessfully. If you know where they can be downloaded from, please send me a link or any information to . I need everything except Catcher in the Rye. It's so hard to find it in Russia! Thank you in advance,


Trish said...

*Pavel - I'm sorry I can't help you! I don't know very much about audiobooks or where they can be downloaded. Have you checked into itunes? The copy of Nine Stories that I read was an actual book, not an audiobook.