J.D. Salinger's Books Are Finally Coming to E-Readers

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

When author J.D. Salinger died in 2010 at the age of 91, he left behind a reputation cultivated over decades for being a reluctant public figure. After four books and a number of short stories, he continued writing but ceased publishing, rebuffed any efforts to publicize his career, and eschewed technology, preferring his works remain on the printed page.

That’s set to change this month, with e-books of The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction released for digital consumption by Little, Brown and Company. Why the change? Salinger’s son, Matt Salinger, thought it was time.

In an article by Alexandra Alter in The New York Times, the younger Salinger explained that while his father was apprehensive about electronic media, he would have wanted his works to be in the hands of as many readers as possible. He was moved to digitize the books, he said, in part from a letter he received from a reader whose disability made reading physical copies difficult. As a co-trustee of the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust, it was within Matt's power to make the decision.

Matt Salinger—who also fills the role of the answer to a Marvel movie trivia question because he played Captain America in a low-budget 1990 film—also explained he’s in the middle of a years-long process to prepare his father’s unpublished manuscripts for release. The handwritten works need to be typed by hand, he said, because he has been unable to find a reliable optical scanning procedure that can translate them into electronic files accurately.

Salinger added that his father approved of this posthumous publication. Matt Salinger said he will likely continue to resist efforts to allow film adaptations of any of the books. A request to manufacture J.D. Salinger tote bags was also denied.

The e-books are now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

[h/t The New York Times]

Lost Sketches From The Little Prince Have Been Discovered in Switzerland

Oleksandr Samolyk, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Oleksandr Samolyk, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, published in 1943, has long been regarded as one of the most compelling books of the 20th century. Drawing upon Saint-Exupéry's own experiences in aviation, the book tells the tale of a pilot who crashes in the Sahara and befriends a little boy who claims to have come from outer space. The book is accompanied by a number of illustrations by Saint-Exupéry. Now, Smithsonian reports that some of the original preparatory sketches have surfaced.

According to France24.com, the sketches—of the titular Little Prince chatting with a fox, a boa constrictor devouring an elephant, and a character called the Tippler—were purchased at auction in 1986 by an art collector named Bruno Stefanini, who tucked them away in a folder. When Stefanini passed away in December 2018, the artwork—drawn on airmail paper—was uncovered by workers at his non-profit Foundation for Art, Culture, and History in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Aviator and 'The Little Prince' author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is photographed inside of an airplane cockpit in 1935
Aviator and The Little Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in 1935.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The organization intends to share its findings with the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, which currently houses the original book manuscript (including drafts of the book's most famous phrase, "What is essential is invisible to the eye") and 35 other sketches.

The Stefanini collection also includes a particularly personal piece of material. One of the sketches includes a love letter made out to Saint-Exupéry's wife while the pilot was in New York in 1942 following Germany’s invasion of France. It was there he wrote The Little Prince, which was published the following year. In 1944, Saint-Exupéry was shot down by a German pilot over the Mediterranean.

[h/t Smithsonian]

George R.R. Martin Doesn't Think Game of Thrones Was 'Very Good' For His Writing Process

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

No one seems to have escaped the fan fury over the finals season of Game of Thrones. While likely no one got it quite as bad as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, even author George R.R. Martin—who wrote A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series upon which the show is based, faced backlash surrounding the HBO hit. The volatile reaction from fans has apparently taken a toll on both Martin's writing and personal life.

In an interview with The Guardian, the acclaimed author said he's sticking with his original plan for the last two books, explaining that the show will not impact them. “You can’t please everybody, so you’ve got to please yourself,” he stated.

He went on to explain how even his personal life has taken a negative turn because of the show. “I can’t go into a bookstore any more, and that used to be my favorite thing to do in the world,” Martin said. “To go in and wander from stack to stack, take down some books, read a little, leave with a big stack of things I’d never heard of when I came in. Now when I go to a bookstore, I get recognized within 10 minutes and there’s a crowd around me. So you gain a lot but you also lose things.”

While fans of the book series are fully aware of the author's struggle to finish the final two installments, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, Martin admitted that part of the delay has been a result of the HBO series, and fans' reaction to it.

“I don’t think [the series] was very good for me,” Martin said. “The very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day … I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.'"

Still, Martin has sworn that the books will get finished ... he just won't promise when.

[h/t The Guardian]

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