It is now cool to say that Catcher in the Rye is lousy and his other books are better. Make sure to backhand anyone who says they like Catcher, they're only doing so because they read it in high school.
The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls is surprisingly good. It leaked a few years ago if you can still find it floating around. It's on torrent sites still with good availability. Previously, you could read in person under supervision at Princeton University.
F&Z should be compulsory reading; it's certainly more worthwhile than most of the stuff on the /lit/ starter kit. F&Z pretty much single-handedly helped my realise how retarded my teenage edgy atheist stage was, which I've since left behind. Dialogue in F&Z is its strongest feature -- in fact the novel(la) consists almost entirely of it.
Nine Stories is one of the greatest short story collections I have ever read. It is so great because it only has a handful of stories and they are all quality. Dubliners, any of Hemingway, any of Carver, Borges, Kafka, etc. Nine Stories belongs with them. The best description of PTSD I have ever read. I experience frequent PTSD symptoms and I nearly have panic attacks reading Esme. Makes me incredibly sad though, knowing Salinger served as infantry
Franny and Zooey is my favorite book. Others come close, but I have reread F&Z nine times anon and I still love it. I've read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man twice and on the second read I felt confused on what I was feeling. With Lolita's second read I realized how much the story rests upon presentation rather than substance (the presentation is godly but still).
Franny and Zooey though. I'd tell you to god damn read this thing but honestly I am biased as all hell.
RaiseHigh and Seymour is a hit and miss. Raise High is ok. Seymour an introduction...it is Salinger at his weakest.
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