Top 85 J.D. Salinger Quotes

She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.


I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.


I think that one of these days,” he said, “you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you.


when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “Fuck you” right under your nose.


If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible.


In my mind, I’m probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.


You asked me how to get out of the finite dimensions when I feel like it. I certainly don’t use logic when I do it. Logic’s the first thing you have to get rid of.


I’m just sick of ego, ego, ego. My own and everybody else’s. I’m sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting. It’s disgusting.


It’s partly true, too, but it isn’t all true. People always think something’s all true.


And I can’t be running back and fourth forever between grief and high delight.


I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.


I don’t know what good it is to know so much and be smart as whips and all if it doesn’t make you happy.


I like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls around once in a while, even if they’re only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something.


Anyway, I’m sort of glad they’ve got the atomic bomb invented. If there’s ever another war, I’m going to sit right the hell on top of it. I’ll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.


He said you were the only one who was bitter about S.’s suicide and the only one who really forgave him for it. The rest of us, he said, were outwardly unbitter and inwardly unforgiving.


John Keats / John Keats / John / Please put your scarf on.


What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.


Grand. There’s a word I really hate. It’s a phony. I could puke every time I hear it.


Were most of your stars out? Were you busy writing your heart out?


You can’t stop a teacher when they want to do something. They just do it.


I didn’t want any degrees if all the ill-read literates and radio announcers and pedagogical dummies I knew had them by the peck.


The more expensive a school is, the more crooks it has — I’m not kidding.


I know more damn perverts, at schools and all, than anybody you ever met, and they’re always being perverty when I’m around.


I’ll read my books and I’ll drink coffee and I’ll listen to music, and I’ll bolt the


God bless ladies with costly, tasteful clothes and touching, dirty fingernails that champion gifted, foreign poets and decorate the library in beautiful, melancholy fashion! My God, this universe is nothing to snicker at!


But I was afraid of the questions (much more than the accusations) you might both put to me.


I am always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.


He once told Allie and I that if he’d had to shoot anybody, he wouldn’t’ve known which direction to shoot in. He said the Army was practically as full of bastards as the Nazis were.


You never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose entirely, no matter how long you live.


Most girls if you hold hands with them, their goddamn hand dies on you


I always pick a gorgeous time to fall over a suitcase or something.


Her joke of a name aside, her general unprettiness aside, she was, in terms of permanently memorable, immoderately perceptive, small-area faces, a stunning and final girl.


Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.


An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.


The worst that being an artist could do to you would be that it would make you slightly unhappy constantly.


God, how I still love private readers. It’s what we all used to be.


If you’re not inthe mood, you can’t do that stuff right.


I don’t like it when it stings,’ he said. ‘Nobody does.


Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell


We are, all four of us, blood relatives, and we speak a kind of esoteric, family language, a sort of semantic geometry in which the shortest distance between any two points is a fullish circle.


Sex is something I really don’t understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are… Sex is something I just don’t understand. I swear to God.


Look at ’em,’ he said. ‘Goddam fools.’ ‘Who?’ said Ginnie. ‘I don’t know. Anybody.


I still think that, in a way, I can’t get past half my childhood dogmas.


I purely came over because I thought you looked extremely lonely. You have an extremely sensitive face.


You don’t know how to talk to people you don’t like. Don’t love, really. You can’t live in the world with such strong likes and dislikes.


… I was feeling so depressed I didn’t even think. That’s the whole trouble. When you’re feeling very depressed, you can’t even think


People with red hair are supposed to get mad very easily,…,and he had very red hair.


I’m no goddam animal. I may be a stupid, fouled-up twentieth-century son of a bitch, but I’m no animal. Don’t gimme that. I’m no animal.


She gave me a pain in the ass, but she was very good looking.


Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.


Our foyer has a funny smell that doesn’t smell like anyplace else. I don’t know what the hell it is. It isn’t cauliflower and it isn’t perfume—I don’t know what the hell it is—but you always know you’re home.


I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of trying to make me happy


Oh, God, if I’m anything by a clinical name, I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I think people are plotting to make me happy.


I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around. I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth.


A story never ends. The narrator is usually provided with a nice, artistic spot for his voice to stop, but that’s about all.


As much as anything else, it was a stare, not so paradoxically, of a privacy-lover who, once his privacy has been invaded, doesn’t quite approve when the invader just gets up and leaves, one-two-three, like that.


If German boys had learned to be contemptuous of violence, Hitler would have had to take up knitting to keep his ego warm.


She threw her arms around him and kissed him. It was a station-platform kiss—spontaneous enough to begin with, but rather inhibited in the follow-through, and with somewhat of a forehead-bumping aspect.


These intellectual guys don’t like to have an intellectual conversation with you unless they’re running the whole thing.


That’s depressing, when somebody says “please” to you.


But what I mean is, lots of time you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking about something that doesn’t interest you most.


I mean how do you know what you’re going to do till you do it?


The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.


People always think something’s all true. I don’t give a damn, except that I get bored when people tell me to act my age. Sometimes I act a lot older than I am, I really do. But people never notice. People never notice anything.


I say that the true artist-seer, the heavenly fool who can and does produce beauty, is mainly dazzled to death by his own scruples, the blinding shapes and colors of his own sacred human consciousness.


I think that once you have a fair idea where you want to go, your first move will be to apply yourself in school.


That’s the spirit! Make it chicken broth or nothing. That’s putting the old foot down. If she’s determined to have a nervous breakdown, the least we can do is see that she doesn’t have it in peace.


Some guys spend days looking for something they lost. I never seem to have anything that if I lost it I’d care too much.


She was not one for emptying her face of expression.


He laughed and the others laughed with him, except Babe, who resented slightly that what he felt so deeply could be reduced to a humor.


If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late?


Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. – Holden Caulfield


is he crazy?” –Harcourt-Brace editor on Holden Caulfield


And I have one of those very loud, stupid laughs. I mean if I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I’d probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up.


Why’s it so sunny?” she repeated.Zooey observed her rather narrowly. “I bring the sun wherever I go, buddy,” he said.


This whole goddam house stinks of ghosts. I don’t mind so much being haunted by a dead ghost, but I resent like hell being haunted by a half-dead one.


I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.


When I really worry about something, I don´t just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I don´t go. I´m too worried to go. I don´t want to interrupt my worrying to go.


You’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there.


I was about half in love with her by the time we sat down. That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty… you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.


It’s funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll do practically anything you want them to.


He seemed unaware of the messiness of the arrangement.


Though we’ve talked and talked and talked, we’ve all agreed not to say a word.


We don’t talk, we hold forth. We don’t converse, we expound.


All these handsome guys are the same. When they’re done combing their goddam hair, they beat it on you.



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