Salinger and the perfect story

I was feeling a bit cooped up and isolated this afternoon, so I hopped on the 43 bus and rode over to Haight Street to visit The Booksmith. I remembered as soon as I was inside that I adore this bookstore, though it’s been ages since I’ve been there. They have a drool-inducing collection of magazines and literary journals, not to mention, well, all the books. It is impossible to feel alone in a bookstore. Somehow I managed to come away with only a Harper’s magazine and two books. I picked up a couple of things that have been on my list for a while — Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger, and Foreign Babes in Beijing, by Rachel Dewoskin.

This guy in my writing program insisted that the first story in the Salinger collection –“A Perfect Day for Bananafish” — is a perfect short story. Or maybe someone famous wrote that it was a perfect short story, I don’t remember. In any case, This was a recommendation I could not ignore. As for Foreign Babes in Beijing, it’s a woman-goes-to-Asia travel memoir of the sort I am trying desperately to write, so it can’t hurt to check it out. It’s gotten good reviews, too.

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