(1919-2020), America

J.D. Salinger Best Books Ranked

J.D. Salinger wrote numerous short stories throughout his life but only one fiction novel, The Catcher in the Rye. On this list, you’ll find the latter, as well as all the books of short stories Salinger published, ranked. These books vary due to the popularity of the stories they contain, their rarity, originality, and lasting effect on the reader.

When delving into the short stories Salinger wrote over his lifetime, readers will find several common threads that unite many of them. Much of his work focuses on depictions of war, critiques of the upper class, and family life. Specifically, Salinger created the Glass family about whom he wrote frequently.

J.D. Salinger Best Books Ranked

1.The Catcher in the Rye

Undoubtedly, The Catcher in the Rye is J.D. Salinger’s best known literary work. It is also his only full-length novel. The book is regarded by some to be a masterpiece of 20th-century literature and by others to a be droll and irritatingly angst-ridden. Salinger’s main character, Holden Caulfield, is the cuter of this novel. His unreliable narration provides a striking outlook on the world and the phonies and fakes who make it up. 

2. Franny and Zooey 

The two short stories, “Franny” and “Zoey” were published together as a short book called Franny and Zoey. iN reality, the stories are so connected, that the book can be considered as a two part story. The two stories were first published together in 1961. In both the stories, Salinger focus on the sisters, Franny and Zooey. These two are members of the Glass family, the family about whom Salinger wrote consistently. The first story describes Franny Glass, who is seeking out a spiritual release from her everyday life. “Zooey” comes next and is set in New York City.In the story, Zooey does her best, which is sometimes not enough, to help Franny with her various crises. 

3. Nine Stories 

Nine Stories is one of Salinger’s most popular books. As the title suggests, the book contains nine of Salinger’s best stories. In it, readers can find the very popular stores “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” and “For Esmé—with Love and Squalor”. The latter describes a meeting between a sergeant and a young woman before he’s sent out into combat. The former, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” describes Seymour Glass’s suicide, one of the most important events in the Glass family history. 

4. Complete Uncollected Short Stories 

This work contains twenty short stories and two novellas that had never, before his book, been published outside of a magazine. Some of these stories were written very early in Salinger’s career, one of which features Holden Caulfield. For readers who have made it through all of Salinger’s more popular short stories, this book is the perfect next step. While some of these stories are fairly well-known today, they are certainly less studied and written about than others such as “Seymour” or “For Esmé—with Love and Squalor”.

5. Rise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour 

This is another short book that is made up of two stories, “Rise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters” and “Seymour. The two novellas were some of his most popular. The first is one of the many Glass family stories. Buddy Glass narrates it and describes Buddy’s trip to Seymour’s wedding during the Second World War. “Seymour” is one of his most famous short stories. In it, Salinger provides important details about Seymour, Buddy Glass’s brother, who commits suicide. The events of Seymour’s suicide and his mental break down that led up to it, can be found in “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”.

6. Three Early Stories 

This collection was published after Salinger’s death in 2014. In it, readers can find there three stories “The Young Folks,” “Go See Eddie,” and “Once a Week Won’t Kill You”. They were written in the 1940s and had never been published in a book until 2014. “The Young Folks” was written and originally published in 1940. It is Salinger’s first published story. The other two were first published in Story magazine. 

7. J.D. Salinger: The Last Interview and Other Conversations 

In this unusual book, Salinger recounts some of the many encounters he had with crazy fans, obsessed with him after the publication of The Catcher in the Rye. Their ardor is one of the reasons that Salinger receded from public view, moving out into the New Hampshire countryside and avoiding interviews. He also spends time in this book on his writing techniques, advice for other writers, and conversations about other related topics. 

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Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.

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