J.D. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, and The Smiths

Every fall, I read again J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” and Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.”

I discovered the books in high school, and for some reason, I’m drawn to them when the leaves turn to brilliant orange and yellow here in New England. I’m not sure why I re-read them, now that I’m decades removed from my teen years encompassing The Smiths, awkward high school dances, and an uncertain future.

But, I do.

The books are comforting. I’ve had them since high school. The covers are worn, the paper has faded over time. They’re a connection to my past.

I remember my A.P. English teacher, Mr. Stevenson, who suggested both novels. I still remember how his eyes shined when he talked about those writers and those books.

It’s funny. Those books have stayed the same, but over time, I’ve changed. So much has happened since those years: college, b-school, work, marriage, children, a career.

In some ways, those high-school years were a simpler time, but one of contradiction. A time for both innocence and dread, both youthful eagerness and adolescent weariness.

I’m looking forward to a cold autumn weekend in November when I can find those books and enjoy them again. A connection to my past.

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