MINNEAPOLIS -- A small collection of J.D. Salinger's books are on display at Magers and Quinn Booksellers in Minneapolis following the author's death.
Salinger, best known for writing "The Catcher in the Rye," died of natural causes Wednesday at his New Hampshire home. He was 91.
"He's just an incredibly popular author," said David Enyeart, who has worked at Magers and Quinn for five years, but has never read Salinger's work.
"It's a little strange," he admitted. "We've got hundreds of thousands of books in here and you can't read them all."
Enyeart is now inspired to read some of Salinger's work following the author's death.
Published in the early 1950s, "Catcher" tells the tale of Holden Caulfield, a rebellious, fictional teenager who challenged the conformity of the time.
"It gave voice to a sense of disaffection that subsequent generations still pick up and still really resonate with," said Mike Reynolds, an English professor at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Salinger's work influenced many writers and readers, Reynolds said. How passionate are his followers? Before speaking with KARE Thursday night, a friend told Reynolds, "If you say anything bad, I'm going to punch you in the face."
Despite the success of his work, Salinger spent decades holed up in his New Hampshire home and never published another story after 1965. He fiercely protected his privacy.
Still, his work endured.
"In a time when everyone says you have to be out there and on Facebook and talking to your fans, he did none of it," Enyeart said. "He just did the books and people liked the books."
And that's how Salinger would probably want it.
"In his best of possible afterlives, he would imagine that nobody talks about J.D. Salinger at all," Reynolds said. "They only talk about his work."
There are rumors Salinger kept a stack of unfinished manuscripts in his home. If that's true, it's hard to know if those works will ever be released. Salinger's publisher, attorney and family are not commenting.
(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)