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The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion

 
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The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 30/6/2008 9:22:13 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20117
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield


As a speedily selected first book to get the Book Club off the ground, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye fits the Modern Classic category. I'll leave this thread to gather replies while I finish the book myself, and join in once I have finished, with a review of the book.

So... The Catcher In The Rye... Discuss!


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That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.
Post #: 1
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 30/6/2008 9:37:42 PM   
matthewforan


Posts: 21051
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: My Hometown
I really didn't like Catcher In the Rye, Holden is just an annoying self loving little bastard. I wish I could come up with something a bit better than "bastard" but that's what he is. Now I don't know if it's because I'm a bit older and so I couldn't really connect with the character, but I found it drab and a bitter disappointment considering its classic status.

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Post #: 2
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 1/7/2008 12:14:29 AM   
clare_star_


Posts: 1948
Joined: 1/11/2005
Homer do you have to be part of the book group to comment on this thread? I don't want to intrude!

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Post #: 3
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 1/7/2008 1:04:46 AM   
Jackal

 

Posts: 5030
Joined: 30/9/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: matthewforan

I really didn't like Catcher In the Rye, Holden is just an annoying self loving little bastard. I wish I could come up with something a bit better than "bastard" but that's what he is. Now I don't know if it's because I'm a bit older and so I couldn't really connect with the character, but I found it drab and a bitter disappointment considering its classic status.


You big phoney bastard!







It's been a while since I read it, right enough. I do remember feeling quite sorry for Holden. He seemed like a bit of a messed-up kid but I think it comes across that he's got a good heart, really. I know, it's just a book! But, I was rooting for him. Some of what he comes away with is hilariously funny as well, especially the "phoney bastard" chat. The first few chapters are a riot. I'll need to go back and give it another read.

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Post #: 4
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 1/7/2008 1:50:27 PM   
Harley Quinn


Posts: 5796
Joined: 23/1/2008
From: Arkham
I hate this book with a passion. I thought that Holden needed a good slap. I know it's a classic but just can't find one thing about this book I liked.  

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"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."


Owner of the Naughty Milkmaid.


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Post #: 5
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 2/7/2008 8:35:49 AM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20117
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
Boy, when I first picked up this book, I didnít know what to expect, I really didnít. Iíd heard nothing and all about this goddam book, so I was really expecting some lousy boring book set in the American west, what with the rye and all. But when I saw that there was going to be words like crap and all, that killed me. It really did. Things like that always kill me. Anyway, I thought the book was really swell, for a book in which nothing really happens. I mean, we have the almost diary of this kid during a week or so of his life, and thereís no real introduction or goddam plot at all. Boy, was I confused at first. I didnít want to like it, what with nothing happening and all, but I did! I really did. You slowly get to know this character with his goddam idiosyncrasies and all, the way he talks, how he views the world. For a seventeen year old he seems an odd mix of self-assured, nervous, impulsive, considered, and generally mixed up that a kid would be. He really is. He doesnít seem flitty at all, but he does seem sensitive. Why does everyone have to be so goddam sensitive? It kills me, it really does.

So I was reading it and all, and thinking that something has to happen sometime. Sure enough, for me the significant scene comes with Mr Antolini and his chat about Holdenís future and all. We see that this is a boy who while he seems ready for the goddam world, the world isnít ready for him. Theyíre at odds. For all his apparent goddam hatred of people, he loves his sister though. He even sees himself as wanting to be a protector of children, of a way of being a guardian between the childís world and the adultís world. Which is goddam ironic on account of his being a child becoming an adult as well. I canít help but feel that I should have read this book when I was seventeen myself and maybe Iíd take more away from it. I really do. Still, the writing style is memorable, and the story surprisingly affecting, considering nothing happens and all. I havenít read anyone elseís comments yet, so maybe Iím way off anyone elseís feelings. Iíll comment later (in a goddam ordinary writing style too). But boy, I did enjoy reading it. It wasnít lousy at all. It really wasnít.

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That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
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Post #: 6
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 2/7/2008 8:38:29 AM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20117
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
quote:

ORIGINAL: clare_star_

Homer do you have to be part of the book group to comment on this thread? I don't want to intrude!


Absolutely not! There's no membership as such, just a bunch of people who posted on the main thread. Come one come all - let's all join in! Anyone can comment! Sorry for the tardy response, I only just finished the book so didn't read this thread until now!

Re the other comments: Does a protagonist have to be likeable? I would argue that a character like Patrick Bateman isn't exactly lovable, but does that make American Psycho less successful? There are many examples of hateful characters (none of which I can think of offhand) but the books are great nonetheless.


_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to clare_star_)
Post #: 7
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 2/7/2008 9:23:28 AM   
Harley Quinn


Posts: 5796
Joined: 23/1/2008
From: Arkham
quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq
Re the other comments: Does a protagonist have to be likeable? I would argue that a character like Patrick Bateman isn't exactly lovable, but does that make American Psycho less successful? There are many examples of hateful characters (none of which I can think of offhand) but the books are great nonetheless.



I don't think you have to like a character, to enjoy a book. As you pointed out there is not much likable about Patrick Bateman, but there was something about him that made me want to find out how his story ended. With Holden I thought he was whiny and obnoxious and I didn't care what happened to him or what he had to say.



_____________________________

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."


Owner of the Naughty Milkmaid.


(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 8
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 2/7/2008 10:39:56 AM   
Kilo_T_Mortal


Posts: 13531
Joined: 30/9/2005
Cracking book Catcher, really good. Perfect for any inspiring writer, just how he gets to grips with the character. Holden is brilliant, just so well formed he's likable, petty, stupid, sincere and honest. Just such a believable character it doesn't matter what he does, it's just such a joy to trek through his surreal world.

The best thing for me about the book is the lack of plot or ending, it's a character driven piece and the way it builds up to no conclusion, no character development, the fact we learned nothing is for me what makes this one of the best and most engaging books ever written.

Buggered if I can figure out the reason behind the title though.

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he's ruining my buestiful threat!

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Post #: 9
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 2/7/2008 11:12:55 AM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20117
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
He hears a little boy singing the song "if a body catch a body running through the rye" on the street, and later he is talking about it and a) it is pointed out that the words were wrong, it wasn't "catch" in the song, and b) he says that if there were children running through the rye near the edge of a cliff, he'd like to be the person who'd catch them so they didn't fall off the cliff. The catcher in the rye. That's what he'd do all day.


_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to Kilo_T_Mortal)
Post #: 10
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 2/7/2008 11:24:01 AM   
Amelie_Scotland


Posts: 17468
Joined: 13/10/2005
From: Take a guess.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Harley Quinn

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq
Re the other comments: Does a protagonist have to be likeable? I would argue that a character like Patrick Bateman isn't exactly lovable, but does that make American Psycho less successful? There are many examples of hateful characters (none of which I can think of offhand) but the books are great nonetheless.



I don't think you have to like a character, to enjoy a book. As you pointed out there is not much likable about Patrick Bateman, but there was something about him that made me want to find out how his story ended. With Holden I thought he was whiny and obnoxious and I didn't care what happened to him or what he had to say.




This was my problem too, I could not like or sympathis with Holden, he did nothing but annoyed me. The whole thing about phoniness bugged me too, I could see sort of what he was getting at but he never fully convinced me. Cult classics have alwas divided readers.

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Post #: 11
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 2/7/2008 11:41:16 AM   
Kilo_T_Mortal


Posts: 13531
Joined: 30/9/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

He hears a little boy singing the song "if a body catch a body running through the rye" on the street, and later he is talking about it and a) it is pointed out that the words were wrong, it wasn't "catch" in the song, and b) he says that if there were children running through the rye near the edge of a cliff, he'd like to be the person who'd catch them so they didn't fall off the cliff. The catcher in the rye. That's what he'd do all day.



I know, I just don't quite get it.

_____________________________

he's ruining my buestiful threat!

"She must have known about all this before she let that grinning loon put his space-cock anywhere near her?"
horribleives

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 12
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 2/7/2008 11:42:41 AM   
Kilo_T_Mortal


Posts: 13531
Joined: 30/9/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Amelie_Scotland
This was my problem too, I could not like or sympathis with Holden, he did nothing but annoyed me. The whole thing about phoniness bugged me too, I could see sort of what he was getting at but he never fully convinced me. Cult classics have alwas divided readers.


I don't think you could describe Catcher as a cult classic. It's an actual Classic. A Cult classic would be 'Cannibals' by Guy N Smith.

_____________________________

he's ruining my buestiful threat!

"She must have known about all this before she let that grinning loon put his space-cock anywhere near her?"
horribleives

(in reply to Amelie_Scotland)
Post #: 13
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 3/7/2008 2:37:51 PM   
Fanboyslayer


Posts: 2448
Joined: 22/11/2005
I haven't read this for years and this thread has reminded me what a gem of a book it is. I have to go out and get myself another copy now so can read it again.
I agree with what others have said about him being annoying but I still warmed to him and that conversation between him and his old teacher (I can't remember the name now) I found really moving.  Can someone remind me, is it his sister that he talks about living in the city or something like that? It's no good I'm going have to get this at the weekend and read it again.

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Post #: 14
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 3/7/2008 4:05:20 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23695
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41įN 93įW
First impressions: I wasn't really enjoying it at first, but I found that it improves a lot as it goes on. Holden can be very annoying in parts, but he does grow on you as a character - I agree with Kilo's comments about his believability in particular. I'll post my full thoughts probably later this week once I've finished it.

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Post #: 15
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 3/7/2008 4:45:09 PM   
clare_star_


Posts: 1948
Joined: 1/11/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Harley Quinn

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq
Re the other comments: Does a protagonist have to be likeable? I would argue that a character like Patrick Bateman isn't exactly lovable, but does that make American Psycho less successful? There are many examples of hateful characters (none of which I can think of offhand) but the books are great nonetheless.



I don't think you have to like a character, to enjoy a book. As you pointed out there is not much likable about Patrick Bateman, but there was something about him that made me want to find out how his story ended. With Holden I thought he was whiny and obnoxious and I didn't care what happened to him or what he had to say.




You've kind of summed up my feelings here - I don't think you have to like a character (I think the best example I can come up with are the characters from Natso Kirino's Grotesque)  but for me Holden isn't the same as any of the women in Grotesque he's just a whiny little boy who I felt nothing for!




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Post #: 16
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 5/7/2008 11:35:54 AM   
HIroProtagonist


Posts: 294
Joined: 6/3/2007
From: Dudley, West Midlands
I'm a little late joining the party - but better later than never 

The Catcher in The Rye.
J.D. Salinger, 1951, United States of America.



The Catcher in The Rye tells the story (to an extent) of Holden Caulfield, J.D. Salingers' Protagonist. Written by a 17 year old Holden, the story focuses both on the events that led to him being expelled from Pencey Prep School, and the events of the next two days, leading up to his return home (Which happened when the character was 16).

So I've now read The Catcher in The Rye three times. The first time I was around 14, the second time, 18 and now again at the age of 24. I've gotta say that my general opinion of the book hasn't changed over the years - I can appreciate that the book is a classic, but I still don't like the character of Holden, or indeed the book itself.

That might sound a little bit strange, but let me use a movie analogy. Films like Metropolis (1926) & Citizen Kane (1941) are both classics, in terms of their impact on the "language of films" - i.e. they totally changed the way that films are made. Catcher in The Rye is the same, though in terms of it's impact on literature, and indeed popular culture. However, where as I like Metropolis & Citizen Kane, I don't like Catcher. Put simply, on a technical level I can appreciate it, but I can't take it to heart, in the way that many people have / will continue to do.

The simple reason for this, is the central protagonist - Holden. Whilst I agree that you don't have to absoultely like your central character, you have to at least be intrigued with them - a recent example from another book that I reviewed for another book club, is Rob Gordan in Nick Hornbys' High Fidelity. Rob is shown via his actions to be a bit of a dick (to say the least), but his other actions help to make him interesting, and relatible (sp?) to. Although Holden undoubtedly has some positive character traits (such as his devotion to his Brothers & Sister), his generally "whiny" attitude makes him a little bit to difficult to relate to, at least from my point of view.

Maybe it just depens on your view of life - I'd imagine Emo kids would love The Catcher in The Rye :) but personally I'm not a fan of characters who just sit around and moan.

Something that Kilo_T_Mortal mentioned, Re: The fact that the book just starts, and doesn't really conclude - I did like that aspect of the book, though I've always held the view that the book is written the way it is, because Holden has been told, as part of a therapy exercise, to write about the events that resulted in him being where he is, which, in my opinion, is a mental hospital. I know that's a point of view that not everyone agrees with, but that's always been my personal interpretation - basically I always took the viewpoint that Holden suffers either a partial, or complete, mental breakdown in the penultimate chapter, and that as a result of this he's hospitalised, with the intention of getting him to a state of mind where he'd be capable of starting at a new school (which is something that he mentions in the final chapter).

So that's about it - to sum the above up, I like it from a technical point of view, but I don't like the story or the character.


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True Grit
Never Let Me Go.
The Fighter.
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Post #: 17
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 5/7/2008 11:42:52 AM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland
It's a fantastic book. A brilliant character study of a whiny but complex kid. I don't get this whole idea of having to identify with the main character or even having to like them.

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Post #: 18
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 6/7/2008 10:19:55 PM   
Peppermint


Posts: 10421
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Sussex
quote:

ORIGINAL: matthewforan

I really didn't like Catcher In the Rye, Holden is just an annoying self loving little bastard. I wish I could come up with something a bit better than "bastard" but that's what he is. Now I don't know if it's because I'm a bit older and so I couldn't really connect with the character, but I found it drab and a bitter disappointment considering its classic status.


Appearing in this thread as ordered

There are a number of replies in here that sum up why I dislike this book so much, but I'm lazy and I can't be bothered to quote them all so the first one will have to do

It's been years since I read it though so I can't remember much about it except a lingering feeling of annoyance at how whiney Holden Caulfield is, considering he didn't seem to have much of a reason to feel so sorry for himself.  In fact, I may not have even finished it he annoyed me so much and I rarely start a book and then not bother reading it all.

I'm not sure whether I have to find a character likeable either, but they have to have something going for them and he just doesn't, imo.

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Post #: 19
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 6/7/2008 11:04:11 PM   
Amelie_Scotland


Posts: 17468
Joined: 13/10/2005
From: Take a guess.
At the risk of being a little sexist, I've found amongst my friends especially who have read the book that it's generally males who like the book. None of my female friends liked it, mainly because of Holden. I'm 18 and didn't have anything to connect to Holden with, so it's definately not just for teenagers.

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Post #: 20
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 8/7/2008 10:58:28 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20117
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
Apparently this book is the book of choice for assassins, so I heard the other day. What's that all about?!

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Bristol Bad Film Club
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Post #: 21
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 8/7/2008 11:06:10 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23695
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41įN 93įW
Looking at you, Kilo...


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Post #: 22
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 9/7/2008 2:42:29 PM   
Amelie_Scotland


Posts: 17468
Joined: 13/10/2005
From: Take a guess.
quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

Apparently this book is the book of choice for assassins, so I heard the other day. What's that all about?!


Yeah, Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley Jr were both obsessed with the book. Apparently Chapman believed he was Holden Caulfield and identified with the book's message about phoniness (saw this on an E True Hollywood Story so it might be inaccurate.) I can think of better books to inspire me to be honest. But you'd have to be of unsound mind to become dangerously obsessed with a book to the point of murder.

_____________________________

I'm clean, I'm conscientious and I travel with my own tits.

You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.

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Post #: 23
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 9/7/2008 2:59:29 PM   
Harley Quinn


Posts: 5796
Joined: 23/1/2008
From: Arkham
quote:

ORIGINAL: Amelie_Scotland

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

Apparently this book is the book of choice for assassins, so I heard the other day. What's that all about?!


Yeah, Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley Jr were both obsessed with the book. Apparently Chapman believed he was Holden Caulfield and identified with the book's message about phoniness (saw this on an E True Hollywood Story so it might be inaccurate.) I can think of better books to inspire me to be honest. But you'd have to be of unsound mind to become dangerously obsessed with a book to the point of murder.


In conspiracy theory Mel Gibson's character believes that the US goverment keep tabs on who buys a copy of Catcher in the Rye.



_____________________________

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."


Owner of the Naughty Milkmaid.


(in reply to Amelie_Scotland)
Post #: 24
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 9/7/2008 3:41:49 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: Harley Quinn


In conspiracy theory Mel Gibson's character believes that the US goverment keep tabs on who buys a copy of Catcher in the Rye.




And how would the government know who buys what book? I could understand them monitoring libraries but not who buys the book.


_____________________________

You're killing Independent George!!!!

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Post #: 25
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 9/7/2008 3:57:41 PM   
punchdrunk


Posts: 7817
Joined: 14/12/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert
quote:

ORIGINAL: Harley Quinn
In conspiracy theory Mel Gibson's character believes that the US goverment keep tabs on who buys a copy of Catcher in the Rye.

And how would the government know who buys what book? I could understand them monitoring libraries but not who buys the book.


If you asked Mel Gibsons character in Conspiracy Theory he would say the government put brain implants in to monitor book purchases, Strangely I'm guessing Mel Gibson would say the same out of character.

I didn't finish Catcher it didn't hold(en) my attention like "Franny and Zooey", I agree with what you wrote about not having to like the main character Wilbert, I guess I just wasn't in the mood for the book at the time.

(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 26
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 9/7/2008 4:13:20 PM   
Harley Quinn


Posts: 5796
Joined: 23/1/2008
From: Arkham
quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert


quote:

ORIGINAL: Harley Quinn


In conspiracy theory Mel Gibson's character believes that the US goverment keep tabs on who buys a copy of Catcher in the Rye.




And how would the government know who buys what book? I could understand them monitoring libraries but not who buys the book.



Please bear in mind it's been a long time since I've seen the film, I think it was actually one of the conspiracy's he was correct on and it was all to do with the bar code and when the book got scanned, it got sent to a central computer.

_____________________________

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."


Owner of the Naughty Milkmaid.


(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 27
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 9/7/2008 6:36:15 PM   
24Dan


Posts: 2503
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Norwich
I just bought this book. Havent read it yet tho but might put my comments on here once i finish it.
I only bought it cos i recognised the name. i have no idea what its about, so hopefully wont end up being a let down

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Post #: 28
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 9/7/2008 6:47:14 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: Harley Quinn

Please bear in mind it's been a long time since I've seen the film, I think it was actually one of the conspiracy's he was correct on and it was all to do with the bar code and when the book got scanned, it got sent to a central computer.


Wasn;t having a go at you, Harley. Just the idea sounds mental. Don't know how they could get your info from the books barcode.

_____________________________

You're killing Independent George!!!!

(in reply to Harley Quinn)
Post #: 29
RE: The Catcher In The Rye - An E.B.C. Discussion - 10/7/2008 9:37:32 AM   
Harley Quinn


Posts: 5796
Joined: 23/1/2008
From: Arkham
quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert


quote:

ORIGINAL: Harley Quinn

Please bear in mind it's been a long time since I've seen the film, I think it was actually one of the conspiracy's he was correct on and it was all to do with the bar code and when the book got scanned, it got sent to a central computer.


Wasn;t having a go at you, Harley. Just the idea sounds mental. Don't know how they could get your info from the books barcode.


No probs Wilbert,  just wanted to point out that its been an age since I saw the film. The idea was actually nicely done if memory serves.



_____________________________

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."


Owner of the Naughty Milkmaid.


(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 30
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