Don’t Save Anything: Uncollected Essays, Articles, and Profiles, James Salter 2017
James Arnold Ginsberg aka James Salter died in 2015 at the age 0f 90, the author of seven novels, two volumes of short stories, a memoir, and many ‘articles, essays, and profiles’ published in periodicals from Esquire to The New Yorker. He also was a screenwriter with Downhill Racer to his credit, a playwright, and a retired Air Force fighter pilot who saw action in Korea. Salter’s life was filled with travel (France and Aspen are prominent in this collection), food and wine, and adventure (skiing and rock climbing primarily). While he describes himself as a person whose best friends were men, he is at his best when he writes about women, and whatever Salter is writing, his best sentences and paragraphs are worthy of re-reading over and over. Here’s how he describes a situation where an older man has trapped a 15 year old girl against a wall at a party in a chapter entitled ‘Younger Women, Older Men’: “My God, how awful one thinks fearfully. But he will be dead in ten years most likely, from drink or a car accident, and everything he knew, the poems of Cavafy, the gossip of famous names, the best years of Pauillac, great music, restaurants in Lucca, all of it gone except for the things she remembers, and that’s a lot.” That is the kind of writing that has made Salter my favorite author.