Thursday, January 28, 2010

a postscript on book week

It is said that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I say: why not? Here are a few reasons:

* The Art of Books, 1815-1930
* Beauty for Commerce: Publisher's Bindings, 1830-1910
* some 19th-century French bindings
* and a collection of Sarah Wyman Whitman bindings at the Boston Public Library

This on a day when news came of J.D. Salinger's passing. For 20 years, The Catcher in the Rye was the most censored book in American schools and libraries. And yet, is there anyone out there who hasn't read it?

(from top to bottom: In Ghostly Japan, by Lafcadio Hearn; The Flight of the Shadow, by George MacDonald; The King of Folly Island, by Sarah Orne Jewett; The Marble Faun, by Nathaniel Hawthorne; and Walden, by Henry David Thoreau)


Blue said...

Perhaps I'm the only one on the whole continent that has not read Catcher in the Rye. What can I say?

Janet said...

Blue ~ I suppose that was a bit of a presumptuous question on my part! However, I would venture to say that the reason you have not read it is not for lack of access. My point is simply that despite the book's history of censorship, it has become a part of the canon of American literature. Would have been very curious to know what you thought of it had you.

pve design said...

I always loved the name "Holden" and wanted to change my name - after reading "Catcher in the Rye"
I am a total cover snob.
I will have to post on some of my personal faves.
happy weekend.

Christine said...

Blue - I'm so glad to know I'm not the only person who hasn't read CITR. But I do see the irony, J! At this point, I fear reading it, because the book can't possibly live up to the hype, right?

home before dark said...

I gave my then 15 year old Catcher in the Rye to read. He thought Holden was irresponsible. He was more impressed by his teacher who told him he couldn't read "that book" during free reading time at school because it was "too scandalous." "Who gave you that book?" she inquired with disgust. "My mother," he replied. Little dramas every where still following this book. sigh....

Mr. Inkslinger said...

Marvelous book covers. My favourite, I no longer seem to own, but it was an 1870s-80s vintage binding of Monsters of the Deep and Other Mysteries of Ocean Life with sea creatures in gold on a thick, bevelled sea-green cover.

My Notting Hill said...

I am in love with the blue cherry blossom book cover. Gorgeous!

Here's something I've always found strange about myself and Catcher in the Rye (which we read in high school) I can never remember if he killed himself or not - I always have to ask my husband. Right now as I type this I can't remember.