I've been re-reading "Franny and Zooey," by J.D. Salinger because, after reading it two summer ago, I was pretty unmoved. A few people in my family said they actually like the book more than ... gasp ... "Catcher in the Rye," which I hadn't read at that point, either.

Anyway, shocked that I'd almost made it through teen years without touching a Salinger book, I grabbed the book from my grandmother's house. I think I rushed through it, sticking to my usual bad habit of focusing more on the short snippets of dialogue than on the longer detailed passages. I read "Catcher" a few weeks later and absolutely adored it, but didn't give "Franny and Zooey" a second chance until this week.

I completely love this book, though. Partially because it plays on my insecurities, which is why I think most of are drawn to books and characters. We either identify with them or want to be them, but I think most of us want to be them, are attracted to parts of them we think we could never be or could never get away with. Not only am I in awe of the two title characters for their intense capability to think and challenge, but I'm in total awe of Salinger for being able to create such a detailed story in wsuch a relatively short novel. (How absoluteley American and college of me to fawn all over J.D. Salinger) My puerile dream to have written a book before 20 is completely laughable - the amount of work thought that goes into just a description of a very secondary character is mind-boggling.

I'm so affected by books - it's a familial attribute. I fall into these landscapes and family lives and take on qualities of the characters, sometime without realizing it.

And incidentally, if you really want to know, I adore the font on the cover of the edition I have (Bantam from 1964).

...God, I just want people to quote me like I quote authors:

"But don't go screaming about egos in general. In my opinion, if you really want to know, half the nastiness in the world is stirred up by people who aren't using their true egos."

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