My Salinger Year

My Salinger Year Poignant keenly observed and irresistible a memoir about literary New York in the late s a pre digital world on the cusp of vanishing where a young woman finds herself swept into one of the last

  • Title: My Salinger Year
  • Author: Joanna Rakoff
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 272
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Poignant, keenly observed, and irresistible a memoir about literary New York in the late 90s, a pre digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself swept into one of the last great stories and entangled with one of the last great figures of the century.At 23, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moPoignant, keenly observed, and irresistible a memoir about literary New York in the late 90s, a pre digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself swept into one of the last great stories and entangled with one of the last great figures of the century.At 23, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent of J D Salinger She spends her days in the plush, wood paneled agency, where Dictaphones and typewriters still prevail and old time agents doze at their desks in the late afternoon, and at night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Williamsburg apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities, and struggling to trust her own artistic talent, Joanna is tasked with responding to Salinger s voluminous fan mail But as she reads the deeply candid letters from his fans, she finds herself abandoning the agency s form letter and writing her own responses Over the course of the year, she finds her own voice by acting as Salinger s, on her own dangerous and wonderful terms.Joanna Rakoff paints a vibrant portrait of a bright, hungry young woman moving through a heady and much longed for world, trying to square romantic aspirations with burgeoning self awareness, the idea of a life with life itself My Salinger Year is a graceful, deeply moving literary fairytale and the coming of age story of a talented young writer.

    One thought on “My Salinger Year”

    1. If I had a category for Most Charming Read of the Year, there would be one entrant for 2014: My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff’s blithe memoir of her tenure at the Agency, the arch moniker she gives to Harold Ober Associates—one of Manhattan’s most venerable literary agencies. I know, I know: the year still has many months and reads ahead, but I’m calling this one right now. My Salinger Year shimmers with Wilt Stillman Bright Young Things, and it's imbued with a Woody Allenesque-patina tha [...]

    2. I'm rating this book 5 stars well-aware that this book is not for everyone, which actually makes it a weird 5 stars for me. It is a very simple book, and I'm sure that not everyone is going to love its simplicity as much as I did. However, I always review books based on how I personally feel about them, and this one was perfection in my eyes. This is a fictional piece of work based on facts. It's about Joanna Rakoff who, as a 24-year-old, obtains a job in New York at a literary agency. With time [...]

    3. A fun and light hearted read about Joanna, who leaves her degree program and her college boyfriend, and finds a job with a literary agent. Simply called "The Agency, this is the agency that represents Salinger. Although she expects to find herself busy reading manuscripts, she instead finds herself typing letters on a typewriter and answering phones. Although this is the mid nineties, the office, or least her boss, defies technological advances in favor of the archaic way the agency has always r [...]

    4. A love letter to literature and New York, clear and candid self-exploration, funny and moving at the same time This memoir is really special to me. It may not be the page-turning, stay-up-all-night-to-finish story, but Joanna Rakoff's writing draws me into her world in a rare soothing way, like how cuddling up with a blanket in front of a fireplace during a New York winter would be like. Although I've never experienced either winter at home, a fireplace warmth, or even New York. But I'm pretty s [...]

    5. My Salinger Year is a book in the vein of The Best of Everything: a book ostensibly about publishing that is really about being young and wanting to do something larger than what's available to you--but wondering if that is the right decision to make. Rakoff's book took me right back to my first few years working in publishing. Her descriptions of the time and place are perfect. I visited that Williamsburg apartment! I know that agent who wouldn't allow computers in the office! It all rings incr [...]

    6. Vivid, precise, utterly absorbing. I was reading this as I made my son scrambled eggs this morningI could not tear myself away. I loved the descriptions of the venerable agency's refusal to enter the digital age; I loved Joanna's vulnerability and youth; I love the descriptions of New York in the 1990s; I loved her awful, fake-Communist, arrogant boyfriend; I love imagining a boss smoking cigarettes in her large office; I love the way Salinger is at the edges of Joanna's story, and also central [...]

    7. Much to my surprise, I loved this book. It captures what it's like to be young and directionless in New York so well. Granted, I never lived in Brooklyn with my faux-Communist boyfriend or walked in on a roommate shooting up, and I've only been to one NYC party that could have been featured on Girls - but somehow, I really connected with Joanna and was completely drawn into her story.The best memoirs read like novels, and that's true of this book too. I loved the writing and the narrative (how y [...]

    8. The very first thing I did upon closing the last page of this excellent book was to go to and wish list Franny and Zooey – a book I’ve been meaning to read for years. My Salinger Year made me understand – all over again – why J.D. Salinger was such a phenomenon…”because the experience of reading a Salinger story is less than reading a short story and more like having Salinger himself whisper his accounts into your year.”But make no mistake, this book is not about J.D. Salinger. No [...]

    9. You've read this book before. Twenty-something girl from a privileged background (with an expensive but mostly useless private school degree) heads off to the Big Bad Apple, where she struggles with performing the basic functions of her practically unpaid but oh so glamorous job, realizing that her shitty boyfriend is shitty, and ruining her fancy shoes on the cold, hard streets. As it happens, this girl got to talk to J.D. Salinger a few times, which would have been interesting if more of the b [...]

    10. Firstly: this is a memoir. This might seem like a fairly obvious fact given that the blurb clearly says it's a memoir, but somehow, until I read the author's introduction, I remained convinced that it was at least partly a fictionalised version of reality. In a way, I was right. While it's autobiographical, it is written in a very novelistic style. Secondly: call it a 3.5, but I'm in a good mood and this was a charming book so it gets four stars. My Salinger Year is Joanna Rakoff's account of he [...]

    11. Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there existed a world in which writers used typewriters, publishers and agents sent manuscripts (on paper!) via the U.S. Postal Service, and starry-eyed ambitious young people moved to New York to try their luck in the literary world. (Okay, so that last bit still holds true.) It was the late ‘90s when writer-to-be Joanna Rakoff got her first job in New York publishing as an assistant to the woman who represented the great reclusive author J.D. Salinger. [...]

    12. “Salinger was nothing like I'd thought. Nothing. Salinger was brutal. Brutal and funny and precise."Rakoff's writing is not earth-shattering, but enjoyable. How cool it must be to have a small piece of history with "Jerry," no matter how erratic and reclusive. This really makes me want to read Salinger again soon.

    13. If you've ever wondered what it's like to work in publishing, read this book. If you were young once but forgot what it's like to be overwhelmed by the force of your own dreams, read this book. If you are currently young, and you're wondering why you'd rather live inside a book than in the world, read this book. If you love J. D. Salinger or any writer to the point that you'd trust him or her to guard the lining of your soul, read this book. For, dear readers, this is an exquisite, brilliant, an [...]

    14. I’ve read Catcher in the Rye several times, though not for a dozen or so years. I can't actually recall that much detail about the book, though it clearly made an impact on me. When he was very young, I bought a copy for my son to read – I stowed it away, knowing it would be essential reading for him at some point. So when I spotted this book and sensed an opportunity to learn more about the famously reclusive author it was a no-brainer for me, I had to read it.Set in 1996, it's a memoir wri [...]

    15. The big picture of My Salinger Year is an enjoyable read: Fresh from dropping out of Grad School, Joanna Rakoff moves to NYC, falls in love with an older, Socialist wanna-be writer, and lands her first grownup job. Over the next year, Rakoff is forced to examine who she is and who she wants to be, and like all of us, makes that painful transition into adulthood. Because the year is 1996, Rakoff is also able to capture a time right on the cusp of going digital -- which was particularly momentous [...]

    16. Oh, I am skimpy with 5 star reviews and I am not a big memoir reader. But I was so caught up in this book. For literature lovers it's a lovely and romantic look at the life of an assistant at a big literary agency whose boss represents J. D. Salinger. Even better, at the time Rakoff had never read any Salinger at all, so you get to see him through fresh eyes.Her own life is a little lost. She has a boyfriend, Don, a socialist would-be novelist who is the kind of boyfriend you have in your early [...]

    17. In ihrem Roman “Lieber Mr. Salinger” erzählt Joanna Rakoff davon, wie sie im Jahr 1996 nach New York kommt, mit ihrem Freund in eine Wohnung zieht, die eher die Bezeichnung “Bruchbude” verdient und vor allem wie sie ihren ersten Job in einer Literaturagentur antritt. Vollkommen ohne Erwartungen und breitere Kenntnisse fängt sie als Assistentin der Chefin der Agentur an und verbringt die meiste Zeit damit, Briefe abzutippen – auf einer Schreibmaschine, da die Agentur sich noch nicht d [...]

    18. I'm not a big Salinger fan so when Joanne Rakoff came to speak at a local bookstore I decided to skip it. DAMN!!! File this under Mistakes-I-Have-Made-Lately (a bulging file, I assure you.) When I was finally convinced that the book wasn't about Salinger and decided to pick it up I loved it!! I don't know that I would call this great literature that will change your life but it's completely charming and thoroughly entertaining. Rakoff has a great voice and I could have read about her life experi [...]

    19. Loved it. This is the real story of Joanna Rakoff who worked for a year at the literary agency that represented J.D. Salinger. His presence/absence looms through most of this slim book. For the protagonist J.D.S. is just a voice at the other end of the phone (he does, though, make one single appearance) but the book is about much more than just that: life, being young, broke, shy, bright, being in new York in a special place at that special time when nothing is making sense yet but everything is [...]

    20. I read more fiction than nonfiction, but quite often when I read memoirs they tend to recount the challenges, tragedies, or dysfunction that the authors have experienced or overcome. That's one of the reasons I found Joanna Rakoff's My Salinger Year so refreshing.In the late 1990s, Joanna takes her first "real" job post-graduate school, as the assistant to the main agent at a prestigious literary agency. For years, "the Agency" has been a lion in the literary world, represents some true legends, [...]

    21. I devoured this in two sittings. The word that keeps emerging is "elegant" but that doesn't do the book justice, though it does describe both the beauty of the prose and the economy of the story-telling. Memoir, it details the year in Rakoff's life when she worked for a literary agent whose central job in life - central in many ways - was to represent JD Salinger. Rakoff, young, young, young, becomes entangled with this pursuit, fending off Salinger's fans which sometimes leads to their spewing [...]

    22. I did enjoy reading this book --It's set in NYC about the time I moved to NYC the first time (give or take a five years) and I took the same train, knew the same spots, recognized the same people, same lofts, same parties, same bars. And her office environment is fascinating (smoking! dictaphones!). But there were times when I thought this book was really less about her self discovery as a young person, and more about her expelling an arsenal of evidence against her boyfriend of the time--how sh [...]

    23. There's no possible way I could've not loved this book, given its subject matter--by which I mean publishing, not Salinger. Still, even though I haven't read Salinger since I was a teenager, this book managed to bring back that feeling of being 13, looking at the first page of Catcher in the Rye and realizing I was about to read something unlike anything I'd ever read before. This memoir also made me want to reread Franny and Zooey--I was too young to really get it the first time around, and I k [...]

    24. This is a novelized coming-of-age memoir of a twenty-four year old, fresh out of grad school, and landing her first job with a New York literary agency. The time is 1996 and businesses are learning to adopt the technology of the new information age. However, there's no new technology at the office of "the Agency" where she is employed. At her office there are no computers, everything is typed on the IBM Selectric, and the Dictaphone is used by her boss. One of her friends describes the work plac [...]

    25. In the The Bell JarSylvia Plath told the story of women in publishing, 1950's style, personal and professional. In this book Joanna Rakoff tells the story, 1990's style, personal and professional. While their venues are different, both are overqualified glorified secretaries. Both are seeking love. Rakoff and her "suitors" have greater knowledge of one another, less parental interference, but not much more satisfaction.Rakoff shines in her description of "The Agency" and its staff. More companie [...]

    26. This is a very readable, entertaining and interesting memoir giving an intriguing window into J.D. Salinger and his work. I loved the writing style Joanna Rakoff used to share a year in her life working as an assistant at a literary agency in New York. It was very rhythmic and heart felt. I listened to the book as an audiobook; the narrator was the author; she did a really good job. Because I edit and assist an author (J.A. Wells) publish his works, I have an interest in all the facets of publis [...]

    27. “Publishing, books, life. It seemed possible to get one right. But not all three.”I’ve hardly read any Salinger, but that’s okay – neither had Joanna Rakoff until about two-thirds of the way through her year working for the legendary recluse’s literary agency in New York City. One long weekend she gorged on his complete works and found – in a man she’d previously encountered only as a shouting elderly voice on the phone – a kindred spirit.This was 1996, and Rakoff was 23 years [...]

    28. I truly enjoyed this. Though the book hails to J.D. Salinger, it is really a story of Rakoff's coming of age, living in New York and working for one of the oldest agencies in existence. She spends her days at The Agency, dimly lit and filled with cigarette smoke, seemingly stuck in the 1920's even though the story takes place in the late 90's. Her evenings are spent in a freezing apartment with no sink where she lives with her narcissistic writer boyfriend, constantly longing for and missing her [...]

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