In her lovely new memoir, My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff takes readers on a tour of mid-1990s New York City—from the hallowed halls of an esteemed literary agency to the not-yet-gentrified streets of Williamsburg—as she settles in to her first real job.
What inspired you to write the book? Is there any significance to the timing of the publication?
This is a surprisingly difficult and complicated question, as My Salinger Year could also be called “The Book I Kept Trying Not to Write!”
As a veteran editor of Harlequin romance novels, Patience Bloom has had the enviable job of facilitating fairy-tale love stories between heroric hunks and whip-smart heroines for 16 years. When it came to her own affairs of the heart, though, Bloom's dating life was far from picture-perfect. In her 40s and after many short-term relationships that ended in disappointment, she nearly gave up on love—until reconnecting with a high school acquaintance offered a shot at her very own happily-ever-after.
On July 20, 1969, 9-year-old Chris Hadfield decided that he wanted to be an astronaut. The difference between this Canadian boy with stars in his eyes and the millions of other kids who experienced the same revelation after watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon? Hadfield became one. From that day forward, he resolutely strove toward his goal,...