ACT Reading Practice Test 97: HUMANITIES

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.


HUMANITIES: Passage A is adapted from the article "Dear Jerry: My adventures answering J. D. Salinger's mail" by Joanna Smith Rakoff (©2010 by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co LLC). Passage B is adapted from the article "Betraying Salinger" by Roger Lathbury (©2010 by New York Magazine Holdings LLC).

Passage A by Joanna Smith Rakoff

I knew, I suppose, that Salinger was a recluse, but
I didn't understand the extent of his removal from soci-
ety, in general, and the realms of literature and publish-
ing, specifically. Nor did I understand-naive as this
5sounds-the cultlike devotion of his fans.
At Harold Ober Associates, a literary agency, we
were Salinger's gatekeepers-charged with protecting
his life and work. We had to believe that Salinger's pri-
vacy was the most important thing in the world, to be
10protected at all costs.

During my first months on the job, Salinger
remained a comfortably abstract concept. Then, in June,
he called, anxious to speak to Phyllis Westberg, the
company's president. My stomach lurched a little when
15I realized that it was Salinger, for real, on the other end
of the phone.

It turned out something momentous was afoot in
Salingerland: Eight years earlier, a small publisher in
Alexandria, Virginia, had written to him, asking
20whether they might put out a book consisting solely of
Salinger's novella Hapworth 16, 1924, which had
appeared in The New Yorker magazine in 1965. To the
shock of Phyllis, Salinger had, after years of thought,
decided that this "fellow in Virginia" could publish
25Hapworth. Suddenly, he was calling all the time, anx-
ious about the details of this new deal, which seemed
like it might mark a tentative re-entry into the world
he'd abandoned 30 years earlier. Ober, just as suddenly,
seemed charged with a frenetic energy. Phyllis bustled
30around the office and had long conversations with
Salinger, going over the details of the new book, from
the cloth of the binding to the font to the paper stock.
She asked him about the publisher, a retired professor,
whom Salinger seemed to like very much, to Phyllis'
35surprise. It was not often, I supposed, that Salinger took
a shine to someone new. In a way, I realized, the
Virginia publisher was simply one of the fans whose
letters I fielded one who had managed to break through
the wall of Ober's protectorate and prove to Salinger
40that, yes, they really were kindred spirits.

The Hapworth book never materialized. The pub-
lisher gave an interview about Salinger to a local maga-
zine, and Salinger decided his new friend was a phony
after all.

Passage B by Roger Lathbury

45It was 1988, and I had written to J. D. Salinger
with a proposal: I wanted my tiny Virginia publishing
house, Orchises Press, to publish his novella Hapworth
16, 1924. And Salinger himself had improbably written
in reply, saying that he would consider it. I was
50ecstatic, even if I doubted that he'd proceed. And then,
silence.

Eight years went by. In May of 1996, I received a
letter from Phyllis Westberg saying that Mr. Salinger
would soon write to me.

55Why had he said yes? I think he chose me because
I didn't chase him. I had left him alone for eight years;
I wasn't pushy in the commercial way he found
offensive.

Two weeks later a full-page letter arrived, and it
60took my breath away. Chatty, personal, it expressed
Salinger's high pleasure in finding a way to put out
Hapworth.

Well into discussions about the deal, I unwittingly
made the first move that would unravel the whole thing.
65I applied for Library of Congress Cataloging in Publi-
cation data.

It sounds innocent. CIP data are the information
printed on the copyright page. The filings are public
information, but I didn't imagine that anyone would
70notice one among thousands.

Then I made another, bigger mistake. What I know
now, but did not then, was that CIP listings are not only
public but also appear on Amazon.com. Someone spot-
ted Hapworth there, and his sister was a reporter for a
75local paper in Arlington. She telephoned.

It seems clear now how everything happened. She
asked me basic questions. Foolishly-if reasonably-I
answered most of them. I thought I could control
myself, but my ego came into play. Anyway, what harm
80could it do? This was a tiny paper.

Then someone at The Washington Post saw it and
called. I refused to speak at first, then answered a few
questions, nervously.

After the story appeared in the Post, my phone
85nearly exploded. Newspapers, magazines, television
stations,book distributors, strangers, foreign publish-
ers, movie people. South Africa, Catalonia, Australia.
The only one who didn't call me was Salinger.
I couldn't proceed without him, because we still had
90too many details unsettled.

I yearned to write to Salinger, but I knew that it
would do no good. He must have been furious with me,
for betraying him by leaking news to the press, or even
confirming it. I could no longer be trusted. I had proven
95myself part of the crass, opportunistic world that
Salinger's heroes disdain.

1. It can most reasonably be inferred from Passage A that before Rakoff began working at Harold Ober Associ-ates, she:

A. was a fan of Salinger's work and took the job in hopes of meeting Salinger.
B. knew Salinger himself but was unaware of his fame and unfamiliar with Hapworth 16, 1924.
C. knew of Salinger but did not realize the extent of his reclusiveness nor the depths of his fame.
D. had read Hapworth 16, 1924, and hoped to help publish it again.

2. Which of the following is a detail from Passage A that best supports the idea that Salinger was removed from the realms of literature and publishing?

F. Salinger didn't want to be bothered reading letters from fans.
G. Salinger had resorted to publishing his writing in magazines like The New Yorker.
H. Salinger had not published any work in thirty years.
J. Salinger was anxious about going over the details of publishing his book with Westberg.

3. Regarding the publication of Hapworth 16, 1924, Pas-sage A makes clear that the text was

A. published by a small Virginia company thirty years after Salinger had written it.
B. about to be published in The New Yorker when Salinger decided he wanted it in book form.
C. once published in book form, but the book is no longer in print.
D. once published in The New Yorker, but a later deal to publish it in book form fell apart

4. Based on Passage B, Lathbury's reaction to Salinger's first letter was:

F. elation, but also doubt about whether Salinger would actually proceed with the deal.
G. amusement, but also suspicion that someone claiming to be Salinger had written the letter.
H. optimism; he was certain that Salinger would agree to a business proposition regarding his novella.
J. anxiety; he was concerned that his tiny publishing house couldn't handle a book deal with Salinger

5. According to Lathbury, the tone of Salinger's second letter can best be described as:

A. stilted and reticent.
B. informal and friendly.
C. clear but patronizing.
D. agreeable but hesitant.

6. It can most reasonably be inferred from Passage B that Lathbury responded to the first interviewer's questions in part because he:

F. believed the questions were in-depth and thought provoking.
G. hoped the article would increase demand for Salinger's other books.
H. was proud of having made a book deal with Salinger.
J. was related to the interviewer and wanted to give her the story

7. Lines 89-90 most nearly mean that Lathbury:

A. felt uncertain about his friendship with Salinger and wanted to hear from him again.
B. was worried about Salinger's reaction to the inter-views Lathbury had given.
C. couldn't publish the book without further discus-sions with Salinger.
D. had a lot of unanswered questions about Salinger's life.

8. Which statement most accurately compares the content of the two passages?

F. Both focus on philosophical reasons for Salinger's withdrawal from the public eye.
G. Both use the same stories about Salinger to explain how he changed over time.
H. Both describe Salinger's devoted fans but offer different reasons for his fame.
J. Both give an insider's account of an incident involving Salinger but tell the story from a differ-ent angle.

9. Based on the passages, it's most likely that Rakoff and Lathbury would agree that giving interviews about Salinger was:

A. ill-advised; Salinger avoided publicity and didn't want others speaking about him.
B. aggravating; reporters exaggerated facts about Salinger no matter what was said in the interview.
C. profitable; Salinger would finish writing a book more quickly when people were anticipating it.
D. clever; good publicity was a way to inflate Salinger's ego so he'd be cooperative.

10. It can most reasonably be inferred from the passages that "the Virginia publisher" referred to in lines 36-37 is:

F. Roger Lathbury.
G. Phyllis Westberg.
H. Joanna Smith Rakoff.
J. Harold Ober Associates