Yesterday, the fourteenth of July, was International Author's Day - a day created to celebrate all the people that make each and every day in our lives more enjoyable. No bland tube rides, but a journey into someone's world. No quiet nights, but nights filled with beautiful words spoking by our favourite literary characters.
I decided to join the blog hop, set up by bookr3vi3ws in honour of this day. I figured "How hard can this be? Just write a small post about my favourite author - easy breezy".
And, unlike many other people, I don't have trouble picking my favourite author. It is without a doubt J.D. Salinger - he has been the answer to that question ever since I read Catcher in the Rye (and shortly after Franny and Zooey).
My problem is "why". Why is he my favourite author? Sure, he is a great writer and he wrote a classic and blablabla - that doesn't make him a favourite - many authors have done that.
So yesterday, I sat behind my computer wondering how to write this blog post. I kept going back in time and trying to figure out why Salinger made such an impact on my reading experience, until I suddenly realised:
J.D. Salinger gave me back my love for reading.
I was 18 when Catcher in the Rye was a mandatory reading book for my English class and it was the first novel I picked up in a long time.
This is strange, because I grew up in a book household. My parents love books and the whole house is filled with books - every wall, every corner - books, books, books.
But then I became a teenager. And suddenly, too many other things were going on and books just didn't do it for me anymore. I had issues with friends, boys, family and school that took up all of my time - I simply didn't consider reading an option anymore. It had disappeared from my world completely.
Until I had to read Catcher in the Rye. And I fell in love with it.
I related to Holden Caulfield in a way I had never related to anyone before: everyone around me was a phoney in my eyes and he was the person who escaped the phoneys - he ran away. To New York City, my dream future living place for years. He did exactly what I wanted to do, to leave a small town behind and go to the big city.
Most importantly, the way Salinger wrote the story, it felt like he had looked inside my head and wrote down everything that I was thinking. I was surprised - how could anyone know how I was feeling? Those feelings were unique and I was all by myself and no one even understood me, let alone felt what I felt.
And then I realised: I wasn't alone. Books are a way in which I can connect with people from other places and other eras that are struggling with the feelings I am struggling with. Books offer me solutions to so many problems - solutions I can't even think of by myself. Books give me a way out of my own world and into someone's world. They give me perspective. Empathy. Understanding.
That all started with Salinger's Holden Caulfield - the first character I truely connected with. And that's why Salinger is my favourite author. Without him, without his book, my life might have been completely different. Maybe I would have never regained my love for reading. Then I wouldn't have had all the experiences I've had. This blog wouldn't exist. I wouldn't be me.
So thank you Salinger. I know you didn't love the fame that came with being a writer, but thank you for shaping my life the way you did. And thank you for creating Holden for all those confused teenagers out there.