J.D. Salinger Has Died

Sad face. Earlier today, author J.D. Salinger passed away at age 91. Ever since he published A Catcher in the Rye in 1951, Salinger has been every successive generation’s teenage hero for his spot-on description of 16-year-old disaffection. He gained further acclaim for books like Franny and Zooey (1961) and Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters (1963). But in 1965, he stopped publishing altogether. He’d already moved from New York City to rural New Hampshire, and he became a notorious shut-in—refusing nearly every interview ever requested and never making public appearances. “There’s a marvelous peace in not publishing,” he said in one of very few interviews he did do. “Publishing is a terrible invasion of privacy … I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure.” [EW]
Further upsetting news: Howard Zinn has also died, of a heart attack at age 87. Zinn wrote the People’s History of the United States in 1980. A lefty’s take on American history, Zinn was one of the first to question the legends of historical figures like Christopher Columbus, Ben Franklin, and Franklin D. Roosevelt and hold them up for critique. He’s credited with kick-starting a new way of looking at history. [Yahoo! News]