Certain books stand out above the rest. The words jump off the page and you find yourself fascinated with the characters or challenged with new ideas.
For me, one of these books is the Catcher In The Rye. I first read it in my thirties, but if I’d have read it as a teenager, I likely would have pursued writing as a career.
Why do I love this book so much?
1. The tone. Salinger perfectly captured what it feels like to be inside the head of a teenage male. He shows what it is like to be isolated, depressed, horny, longing for connection, and not wanting to grow up.
2. It’s messy. The narrator contradicts himself and is often confused. Just like real life.
3. It broke rules. J.D. Salinger broke every rule he could find when writing this book. From writing rules about the passive voice, to talk about sex, to calling out phonies. But none of it is gratuitous in nature or forced for shock value.
4. It’s an adventure. A depressed, rebellious teenager with a pocket full of cash alone in New York City. What could go wrong?
5. The ending. I don’t want to give away too much, but the ending of this story is perfect. Absolutely perfect.
So, what’s the point? What if you’ve read Catcher In The Rye and hated it? No worries!
The take away is this—find something that inspires you and use it to create something.
My writing style is heavily influenced by what I loved about Catcher. I want those five components to be mixed into my writing. This book inspires me to create. One paragraph tosses fuel on my creative fire. I’ve even copied out passages of the book and written them out as an exercise.
Okay, that’s enough from me—I want to hear about one of your favorites. What do you love about it? Most importantly, how did the book inspire you to create? Please share this in the comments.