I liked this tribute to her old friend and professor, Howard Zinn, by Alice Walker, in the Boston Globe.
And instead of writing anything new about J.D. Salinger, I'll just point back to this post from July 13, 2006, where I tell about re-reading The Catcher in the Rye and my one encounter with the elusive author, who lived not far from where we used to. When we moved out of our house last summer, I saved the original New Yorker containing his last, very long short story (Hapworth 16, 1924), that my grandmother had carefully put aside: we were all Glass family fans who discussed the family at length. (I noticed, Friday, that The New Yorker has put all of Salinger's stories online now.) The obituaries have been somewhat unkind, I've felt; Salinger was an odd person who didn't play by the rules so the media didn't like him, but his neighbors - at least the ones I knew - respected his choices, and protected his privacy. I've always hoped there would be a few more stories that made their way to publication, but although I'm quite sure they were written, I doubt we'll ever find out if Franny ended up in an ashram, or the real reasons why Seymour killed himself, but I'm grateful for what we have: few books made me think as much as Salinger's did, in those awkward years when I was becoming an adult. Why a WASPy family from upstate New York would have identified so much with the urban Jewish Glass family is still beyond me, but my mother and grandmother, my cousin and aunt and I all did. And one of the things I left behind in Vermont was a studio wall covered with quotations from all sorts of world thinkers, handwritten in small letters by a younger me -- a little self-conscious, perhaps, but definitely inspired by the back of that door in Seymour and Buddy's room.