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catcher in the rye

Explain Holden's opinion of literature in Catcher in the Rye.


Holden's explanation of his opinion of literature is, like a good part of his discourse, pretty much disjointed, but he actually appears to have a fairly strong appreciation for books and is surprisingly well-read.  Holden describes himself paradoxically as being "quite illiterate, but (he) reads a lot".  He says that what he likes best "is a book that's at least funny once in a while...(and that) what really knocks (him) out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it". 

Some of Holden's favorite authors include his brother D.B., Ring Lardner, Thomas Hardy, and Isak Dinesen.  He has just finished reading Out of Africa by Dinesen, and also mentions Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham, and a book of plays by Lardner.  A favorite or his seems to be Return of the Native by Hardy; Holden mentions that particular book more than once in the narrative, and is especially fond of its main character, Eustacia Vye.

Holden says that he reads "a lot of classical books", which he likes, and "a lot of war books and mysteries", which "don't knock (him) out too much".  He rereads his favorite parts of books that he has found especially interesting, as he does with Out of Africa.

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