This site includes page numbers for subjects and timelines in The Catcher in the Rye, facts, photos with some essays, observations, some art and fan fiction, and a few links to pages related to the subjects as well as links to other Catcher sites.
Appearance: with a few exceptions (including the home page), the page color and text color is left up to your browser preference settings.
Some people wonder if the book is available in electronic form. If it'll do you any good, there is a Cyrillic version online, and in Chinese.
I created this site (with a bit of help from Bernd Wahlbrinck, Peter Gausmann, and Leshaun Fossett). I was originally trained as a software engineer, but all of my adult life, my interests have been more in working with my hands and learning (particularly in psychology). I'm not a literature enthusiast. Usually I read non-fiction. The Catcher in the Rye is my favorite fiction book. I find it very easy to read, very funny, true to life, thought provoking, and compelling. Read it! It's great!
"Exploring The Catcher in the Rye" started as just the book index. In 1996, I had been thinking that it would be funny to have a list of all of the characters in the book. I imagined that it would be quite a long list (there are about 100 people mentioned). It's unlikely that I would have made an index if it weren't for the Web. I knew that I could make the index available to other people, and I also wanted to apply my recently learned HTML knowledge to something worthwhile. All of this meant that my funny idea actually might be worth the trouble.
Over the course of a number of lunches in early 1997, I read the book again, taking notes of subjects and page numbers. I decided to include subjects, in addition to character names. Subjects make the index useful, not just funny. A subject index makes it easier for me and other fans of the book to find sections for re-reading: just look up something that was mentioned at that point.
After the index was up a while, I realized that it would be more useful with links to Web pages related to the topics and places, etc. Then I started wanting to go to New York to visit these places. Then I realized that I could take photos and add them as more links in the index. (Also during this time, in February 1999, I wrote a story about Stradlater, a bit of fan fiction.)
When I went to New York in December of 1999, I was only going to take pictures and take factual notes about the places, so that I could also add a little tour, mainly as a reference for other fans visiting New York who wanted to visit the places in the story. However, I found that being there and seeing the places that Holden talks about was spurring thought and deepening my experience of the book. I added my thoughts to the photos to make an album.
Once I had an album and tour in addition to the book index, it wasn't making sense to have the former as just links from the book index. Yet it doesn't make sense to separate it all: though the album and tour can each stand alone in concept, they and the book index are all linked together. There is a cohesion, such as the album having page numbers as well as the index entries linking to the different parts of the album. At the same time, I decided to move all of these pages off of my server: the images add quite a transfer load to my account there. Basically, it was a good time to think about redefining this "Page Index for The Catcher in the Rye". Thus, "Exploring The Catcher in the Rye" was born.
In early 2001, I started an online gallery of Catcher art. (I started it with a little art contest.) There are a links to more Catcher art, too. For the fiftieth anniversary on 16 July '01, I added audio to the site (reflecting what Holden would think of a publishing anniversary: something like "We were all supposed to commit suicide or something"). (mp3 or wav both are under a megabyte but the mp3 takes half the download time yet has much more.)
The 16 November 2001 issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine had a short article about the site! It's not on their site, but here is a scan. It's a pretty superficial magazine, I know, but it was still exciting!
In the fall of 2009, I decided that this site should be on paid hosting, paid by visitors, because it is so popular. It was on geocities, but that would knock it out from time to time when it got too many visitors. Also, geocities is closing on Oct 26, 2009. Someone did donate for the first year on a discount (through 10 Oct 2010). For how to donate, go to the bottom of this page.
All in all, pretty interesting, I think. Don't ever put up a Web page about something. You might get more interested in it than you even thought possible. (Plus other people might, too. The book index alone gets about 400 individual clients a day, during school months.)