On this day, in 1951, one of the all-time great classics of teen angst was published. J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” is a coming of age tale in which the protagonist, Holden Caulfield – who is surely one of the least likable and self-aware characters ever to find his home on the page – comprehensively fails to come of age over the course of a weekend spent in New York City.
That hasn’t stopped a million English teachers from setting this book as required reading in the decades since then, and its place in the canon of popular literature has long since been assured, if only by the book’s role in the death of John Lennon. As one of the poor bastard students who was required to read this book in high school, I may not be an unbiased judge, and I apologise for that – but all these years on, I still loathe the damn thing, albeit not as entertainingly as John Scalzi does.
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel