Salinger’s Secrets

The New York Post reports* that Jamie Clarke’s upcoming book, O What Fun We’ll Have! O the Times! reveals the following tidbits about J.D. Salinger:

1. His favorite movie is The Lost Weekend.
2. Jeffrey Katzenberg attempted to buy the film rights for Catcher in the Rye (with the promise that Spielberg would direct). So did Harvey Weinstein. Both of their offers weren’t even passed onto Salinger.
3. Salinger’s hearing has gone and he “prefers to receive written letters as communication, to be sure that he understands what he is being told.”
4. Salinger destroyed a telephone enhancer in a rage.
5. His house caught on fire several years ago, but has been rebuilt.
6. He travels under several pseudonyms, but always uses the first name Jerry to help his wife out.
7. There is no wealth of manuscripts that he’s sitting on for posthumous publication.

Now if only Conan O’Brien can get Salinger to appear for “Salinger’s…Secrets,” we’d be truly set. I wonder if similar memoirists will blow the reclusive covers of Pynchon and DeLillo in a decade or so.

(via Publisher’s Lunch)

Addendum (May 21, 2013):

* — Sadly, The New York Post has been remiss about preserving its online content. This came from a Page Six item circa December 3, 2003. But Web Archive only preserved this rapidly updated gossip column in monthly spurts. Salinger is now dead. But there is a forthcoming Salinger biography coming in September 2013 from David Shields and Shane Salerno.

As for Pynchon and DeLillo, there hasn’t been nearly as much prying into their private selves as I anticipated.


  1. Joyce Maynard wrote that tell-all book about him a few years back, which I’ve been meaning to read. Salinger is one of my favorite authors, I feel bad that he hung it up so soon. I wish he’d keep writing rather than being all reclusive and weird.

  2. Susan: It’s a tricky question, but ultimately one up to the artist. There are countless writers and artists whom I’d like to see produce more (and in a few cases, less). But ultimately my desires in this department are solipsistic. Who am I to make such demands? It’s a bit like expecting a baker to make a glorious cake when I walk in the door just as he’s about to turn over the OPEN sign and close up shop. The baker has a life, and his own reasons for keeping his hours. He’ll create majestic cakes on his own time. And I wouldn’t dare encroach upon his right to privacy, or work within the time he allots for himself. I’m a relative stranger. It’s the difference between someone who appreciates and respects art and a fanboy who can never be placated.

    These tell-all books revealing juicy tidbits seem to violate the artist in much the same way. Conversely, I’m strangely attracted to the information presented. Wish I could wash my hands clean here, but there you have it. But I’m working on it.

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