I blogged yesterday about buying Catcher in the Rye to get reacquainted with Holden Caulfield. I read the novel in high school. The years have flown by, and they’ve taken my book memories with them.
All I remember about Catcher in the Rye is the following: I liked it, the main character’s name is Holden, and maybe he’s in a hospital.
My house has bookshelves full of forgotten stories. I simply don’t remember plot lines or characters from classic lit I read in high school, college and, yes, sometimes voluntarily.
When I go to author receptions, parties with literary types, or take a writing class, I either stutter my way through classic book discussions or take a sudden interest in the food table. Another glass of wine also helps.
Here are some of those books and what I remember.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Some people on a bridge. The bridge collapses. Other things happen.
Don Quixote. Crazy guy and windmills.
My Antonia. My Amnesia.
The Red Badge of Courage. War. I think.
A Separate Peace. Did one kid jump on the branch, which caused another boy to fall, or was it an accident?
A Tale of Two Cities. Can’t remember either city.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A river, a boat and two buddies.
Great Expectations. A poor kid does some stuff.
A Doll’s House. Amnesia.
Tender is the Night. Partying in France.
A Farewell to Arms: A war and a dead baby.
The Odyssey. Huh?
The Canterbury Tales: Someone farted.
Last of the Mohicans. I remember the movie with Daniel Day Lewis, especially when he spits as he passionately urges Madeline Stowe to be tough. “I will find you! Stay alive. No matter how far, no matter how long, I will find you.”
All is not lost. I have fond and detailed memories of a few from the canon. To Kill a Mockingbird, Age of Innocence, East of Eden, Lolita – assuming these are part of the canon. And should canon be capitalized? I forget.