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A Little More on Salinger (And I’m Home)

Posted by samgr on October 11, 2007

Back in the states after a long night’s series of flights.

And while on my Tico Salinger kick, I also read Nine Stories by Salinger. I’m now officially Salingered out (and I guess so is Salinger since 1965…) I still like The Catcher in the Rye a whole lot, but the stories are much less interesting too me. I like Holden because he’s pretty much a regular person. The Glass family — which Salinger seems to get more and more fixated on — is far less interesting to me as a character or set of characters. They’re all geniuses. They’re into Eastern religion. They talk all the friggin’ time in language no human would ever speak. They’re conflicted and stuff. I’m bored of them, and I don’t get why Salinger isn’t as well.

Also, Salinger is very big on the whole “cute kids” kick, which is bizarre, since I think of him as such a smart, cynical writer. Some precocious girl helps a soldier come to terms with WWII. A kid defeats prejudice because he hears “kite” for “kike”. Some irritating little towhead is a Buddhist genius and predicts the future. Blah. After a while it gets like looking through an Ann Geddes coffee table book. Ooh, isn’t that darling, she’s dressed up as a banana. This spiritually advanced nine-year-old helps me appreciate human innocence. Etc.

It made me almost relieved to hear that a ten-year-old kid was eaten by a crocodile last week when I was in Tortuguero. That way I was at least sure he wouldn’t come up to me and spout enlightening koans or something.

Basically, I think people should read A Catcher in the Rye and perhaps nothing else. I still think my decision to pick up Nine Stories was better than the other option I was considering, which was The Fountainhead. I feel like someday I have to read Ayn Rand to be well-informed, but I really don’t want to. Maybe I will if I’m ever in prison.

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Posted in books, Costa Rica, J.D. Salinger, reviews, travel | Leave a Comment »

Sammy and Agouti in Costa Rica

Posted by samgr on October 4, 2007

Puerto Viejo continues to be fun and hilarious. I saw an agouti a few feet away from the cabin I’m staying at, and continue to be offered pot absolutely wherever I am. I was actually floating in the ocean about forty feet from the beach and a guy drifts by in a kayak: hey man, good ganja? That’s just silly.

I continue to meet people, both interesting and not-so-interesting. A lot of vacationing Americans like to come up to me and talk about how much they hate Israel. I’m not sure what about me brings out this in people. I got it in Greece too, but more often from Greeks. It’s like a weird roller-coaster ride. Blah blah Bush sucks, ok sure, blah blah, oil, neo-cons, blah blah, Israel. Wait, what’s the last stop? How did we even get here? Bill Kristol, Billy Crystal, something? Smeh. I guess I’m a good listener, and the actual Israelis (who make up a significant plurality of foreigners traveling in Costa Rica) are presumably less receptive.

I’m eating a lot of fish, obviously. Today I had some very good Nicaraguan-style fish soup for lunch, and I’m likely to have some kind of fish for dinner. A lot of the different kinds I’m not familiar with though. Like what is Dorado? Wikipedia ahoy!

UPDATE: So dorado is mahi-mahi, which is a good choice ecologically, as opposed to red snapper, which is horrifically over-fished. The more you know.

Posted in Costa Rica, fish, food, Israel, sea life, travel | 4 Comments »

Franny and Zooey in Costa Rica

Posted by samgr on October 2, 2007

My reactions to reading Franny and Zooey, in order–

1) Man, who is this Lane jerk? What a tool. I would be perfect for Franny. I would understand her and stuff.

2) It´s so tough to be an afflicted genius. Tear.

3) Seymour´s fat lady = little man at Chehaw Station (a la Ralph Ellison),
Seymour´s fat lady = Christ, so little man at Chehaw Station = Christ? Hmmm…

4) Franny and Zooey = The Royal Tenenbaums

I liked it though. And I am in Costa Rica, in Puerto Viejo. (Walking here: Hey man, good ganja? Hey man, want smokes?) More on that to come: the country not the smokes. I am getting a lot of good reading done, though. Discovered Jose Saramago, whom I´d never heard of before.

Posted in books, Costa Rica, J.D. Salinger, reviews, travel | Leave a Comment »