My Salinger Year

My Salinger Year

Joanna Rakoff / Jun 04, 2020
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: -
  • Page: 341
  • 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.
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      Published :2020-03-24T04:49:02+00:00

    About "Joanna Rakoff"

      • Joanna Rakoff

        Joanna Rakoff s novel A Fortunate Age won the Goldberg Prize for Fiction, and was a New York Times Editors Choice, an Elle and Booklist Best Book of 2009, and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Seller.Her memoir, My Salinger Year, is a semifinalist in the 2014 GoodReads Choice Awards You can vote for it here


    742 Comments

    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 that warms the [...]


    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, she [...]


    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 run I [...]


    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 sure [...]


    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 incredibly [...]


    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 to it i [...]


    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 you can [...]


    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 like having Salinger himself whisper his accounts into your year But make no mistake, this book is not about J.D Salinger Not really It s about Joanna Rako [...]


    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 of the book was a [...]


    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 her first [...]


    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 In the winso [...]


    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, and supr [...]


    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 about the famously reclusive author it was a no brainer for me, I had to read it.Set in 1996, it s a memoir written by a you [...]


    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 in the [...]


    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 20 s w [...]


    17. In ihrem Roman Lieber Mr Salinger erz hlt 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 f ngt 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 digitalisieren m chte [...]


    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 experience for m [...]


    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 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 about to co [...]



    20. I read 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, including [...]


    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 venom at [...]


    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 about her expelling an arsenal of evidence against her boyfriend of the time how she had increasin [...]


    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 knew [...]



    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 place quit [...]


    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 satisfaction.Rakoff shines in her description of The Agency and its staff More companies and offices [...]


    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 publishing and w [...]


    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 old, living with a boyfriend [...]


    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 col [...]


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