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Three Unpublished Salinger Stories Leaked Online

It is a sunny, bright and crisp morning in Taipei. Samantha is visiting a friend out of town, so I've got the run of the house. After making myself a breakfast of scrambled eggs and instant coffee, I walk down the hill to the Family Mart to pick up both copies of Taiwan's English language dailies. An infinite variety of news awaits on the internet, but still I like reading the newspaper enough to make that ten minute walk down the hill, which I know implies having to walk back up the hill.

Mainly I want to check out the curated news from both papers, the Establishment Mouthpiece and the Rabid Opposition. No matter where you are in the world, the essential structure of politics remains the same.

After checking the temperature, it is onto other news. There on page 9 of today's China Post (Establishment Mouthpiece) is one of the representative little stories that brings back the joy of reading the English language press while traveling outside the US: A tiny, unassuming article from the Reuters wire, sandwiched below a story about South Africans flocking to see a Mandela biopic, and above an article about Korean "K-pop" girl group Girls' Generation winning Video of the Year at the first ever YouTube Music Awards.

The article that caught my eye, the one that constitutes the meat of that trivia sandwich, and made my heart race was the one about JD Salinger, about how three of his previously unpublished stories have been leaked online.

The story has no upvotes. There are no snarky comments below it. It is in the newspaper for crying out loud! I know that technologists are working on flexible display technology, and one day upvotes and comments and share buttons may very well appear in "newspapers" of the future. But not today.

I skim the article for the details: The stories are real; it is unclear how they were leaked, as the only known copies are in research libraries at two universities: Princeton, and the University of Texas. But it turns out there was 25-copy, unauthorized run of the three stories, printed in London back in 1999. The three stories in the collection are titled, "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls," Paula," and "Birthday Boy."

Buzzfeed reports that "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" was originally written for Harper’s Bazaar, but Salinger withdrew it before it was published. Wikipedia elaborates:

This story is available only in the Princeton library. Those who wish to read it must check in with two forms of identification with the librarian, and are then supervised while they read the story behind the closed doors of a special reading room. As per the terms of Salinger's donation of the manuscript to Princeton University, it cannot be published until 50 years after his death; thus, the earliest it can be published is January 27, 2060.

Whoa! Travel to Princeton? Two pieces of ID! That's not going to work, not in this day and age.

Within a few minutes, I've managed to locate and download not only the original .pdf, but an edited & formatted cache containing the stories in .docx, .epub and .mobi files. Kindle doesn't support the open source .epub format without conversion (Grrr!), but it'll take .mobi. I upload the .mobi files, check to see that they're working, then book a date with myself tonight on the couch with my Kindle, Salinger and Kenneth Caulfield.

No doubt I'll spend my day thinking about Salinger, Holden Caulfield, Franny, Zoey and Seymour as I wander aimlessly about Taipei.

Back in high school, I had an original Navy issue pea coat that I bought at Goodwill. Just last week I bought an echo of that coat, from the Japanese mega retailer Uniqlo in downtown Taipei.

(Neither my current version, nor my high school version was reversible).

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I read them this past week end.

They seem different from his other stuff, but I don't really have much to compare it to since I have only read 'Catcher in the Rye'.

For some reason I felt guilty reading them.

2 comments…neither about Salinger…

First, ain't it freaky how the rest of the world finds instant coffee delectable when here, I haven't seen it since the 80's unless digging in the back of someone else's cabinet …certainly it would never served when a drip maker and grounds are in the house. I went to Greece in 1996 and was dumfounded that Nescafe was not only served…but on every menu I picked up!

Second, I had Pea-coats too, first as a kid placed to suffer abuse in a Naval Military Boarding school in Southern Maryland of the late 60's, I guess because systemic bullying legalized by Christian Brothers and a Bully Boy ranking system was supposed to be "good" for me…imagine, your life and methods of coercion and punishment in the hands of an 8th Grade Boy…and then in their was the ubiquitous Pea-coat in the Coast Guard. In this day and age of fleece and Goretex Shell, I have no nostalgia for cold woolen Pea-coats and would never again consider one…certainly not when new-tech is within reach!

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

Michael Nystrom's picture

Interesting comments

1. Yes, it is freaky. In Taiwan they sell a "3 in 1" kind of instant coffee that is very popular. It is Nescafe (I think they have the global market for instant coffee cornered), but it combines powdered milk and sugar all into the same packet. I used to drink it back on my last tour of duty here, because that is all they had in the office.

NOWADAYS there is an incredible new invention. It is a single serving filter cone of fresh coffee. There is a tiny filter of fresh ground coffee. There are little ears on this contraption that hook over your cup. You rip the top off to open the funnel, and pour hot water through it, for a single serve of coffee that frankly isn't bad!

2. On Peacoats: Not very warm, and smelly when they got wet. Scratchy around the neck. But I do like the cut. I can't help it. I like the way they look.

My new one is made of some kind of space age material. Uniqlo is world famous for their innovative materials engineering. Time had a cover story on them (at least in Asia). "What they'll wear to the Revolution."

So my new one is light, but still warm. I don't know if it is going to stink when it gets wet. Maybe the Japanese have engineered that in as a form of 'nostalgia.' Who knows, mine hasn't gotten wet yet.

Thanks for the random comments.

He's the man.

Two things...

1) They actually allow a Chinese paper into Taipei? Last time I was there the anti-Chinese sentiment was very high.

2) This is a very interesting story about this reclusive writer. So, none of these additional works are available legally, eh? That's a shame.

Michael Nystrom's picture

It is a complicated story to explain

I'd probably need a whole post - nay, a couple of posts to explain it. But here's a quick summary:

Both Taiwan, and mainland China call themselves "China." They don't agree on much, but they agree on one thing, that there is but one China. This is called The One China Policy. They just leave it at that.

Taiwan is the Republic of China (ROC). It is a democratic country.
Mainland China is the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is ruled by the Communist party.

In 1911, there was a revolution in China. Dr. Sun Yat Sen overthrew the emperor system, and established the Republic of China (ROC) on the mainland. But the country was unstable. It was carved up into little pieces by European colonialists. Everyone had a piece of China. Then came the Japanese with their colonial ambitions in the 30's. It was a mess.

My Chinese history isn't that great, but my interpretation was that since the country was a mess - all these foreign powers, and local warloards, and the inability of the new government to unite and control the county, there was a communist counter revolution led by Mao Tze Tung.

In the end, it was Mao who ultimately prevailed, and in 1949, established the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland. That put the nationalists (ROC), headed by Chang Kai Shek on the run.

They bolted to Taiwan to regroup, with the intention of one day coming back and defeating the communists. Well, that never happened, so the Republic of China settled here on Taiwan.

Taiwan was recognized internationally as the One True China, and communist China were the phonies. In around 1971 or 73 (I forget) the Nixon Administration realized the communists weren't going away, and were getting bigger, so they switched sides. The US used to have military bases on Taiwan, and Taiwan was recognized by the UN. The US withdrew, and the UN kicked Taiwan out in favor of the PRC.

So Taiwan is a sovereign democracy, but has no diplomatic ties with anyone. China makes sure of that. China says Taiwan is a "province" of China, which is complete BS.

So the China in "The China Post" refers to The Republic of China (aka Taiwan).

Reunification with China is a big issue. Most people are fine with the ambiguous current status quo. Others see that Taiwan will eventually and slowly be absorbed by the borg that is China, in the same way it is happening with Hong Kong.

There is also an active separatist movement / party, which is represented by the Taipei Times. They are the "Green" party, but it doesn't have anything to do with the environment. That is just the team's color.

So in the US it is red vs. blue. Here is is blue vs. green. In that way, the structure of politics is the same everywhere.

He's the man.

Ah Yes! General Chiang Kai Shek

..and in my day we all wore peacoats (purchased at an army-navy store) and bell-bottom jeans (denim).
My father observed me reading "catcher in the Rye" and laughing, hysterically.....I think he was wondering what the heck was I reading? and then dismissed the notion.
Hope you get as many guffaws as I did back then...and hope "Sam" won't think you're "losing it".

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

Whoa! is right!

Awesome find! Sure hope they get published in actual book form, though. I'm technologically challenged.

I did make a nice discovery at the local library a couple of weeks ago. Mark Twain wrote his biography (2 humungous volumes) for publication 100 years after his death. It make take me the rest of my life to read both volumes. LOL

“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”
―Emmet Fox

Where can I find these?

Is there a site that has the three stories? anxious to read...every thing he wrote are my favorite stories..real impact on my youth.

I think they're only only

I think they're only only torrent sites. In other words, "illegal downloads."

you are right...

I found them this morning and I was going to read them later today, but I just checked and they have been removed.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Full of ghosts

Just finished the first story, The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls.

Brings back all kinds of memories, all kinds of ghosts. Not just Kenneth Caulfield's, but all kinds of ghosts - people from high school seen from angles that I haven't looked from in ages, the angle of a 16 year old kid.

Our resident DJ and musical scholar sent me the perfect soundtrack for reading a bootleg JD Salinger story on a chilly night in Taipei, curled up on the couch under a blanket with a glass of Glenmorangie single malt Scotch on the melted rocks.

Blake, by Lowercase Noises


- - -

"You know what?" he said. "If I were to die or something, you know what I would do?"

He didn't wait for me to say anything.

"I'd stick around," he said. "I'd stick around a while."

- - -

Makes me want to go back and read Catcher in the Rye again. I can afford A buck thirty five for the Kindle version, delivered wirelessly via Amazon's whispernet all the way to Taiwan. Salinger would be amazed. He probably wouldn't like it.

- - -

Holden says, "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”

Well, I guess that's just the damn risk you take.

He's the man.

My son, Holden, says he quite

My son, Holden, says he quite enjoys these Lowercase Noises.

We're still listening...

and at peace missing everybody. ;)

Thanks for that Kindle link,

Thanks for that Kindle link, by the way. This may not be an authorized copy of the book, because I have never seen an e-book version of any of his works and this ultra-low price tells me there is something amiss.