It's a national pastime for a certain well-read sort: ponder what novelist J.D. Salinger did for the decades he lived as a recluse. After he passed away, some wondered if he had stored up a treasure trove of essays condemning--what else--"phonies," or at least some scrap of material that historians, fans and critics could pore over. With the release of some of Salinger's personal letters, readers have been given just a glimpse of what Salinger liked when he wasn't writing a Catcher in the Rye sequel.

Here, apparently, is what occupied the author: Burger King's unheralded merits, Tim Henman, and the pleasures of gardening. These are a few of Salinger's noted items, as written in correspondence with British friend Donald Hartog, whom he met in 1938. "The letters reveal the author enjoyed listening to the Three Tenors--Jose Carreras was his favourite--and particularly liked watching tennis, with Salinger disclosing a particular fondness for 'Tiger' Tim Henman," reports The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt.

And as for a certain hamburger chain? "Salinger also told Hartog that he thought Burger King hamburgers were better than those from other chains, while he described trips to the Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon," Gabbatt notes.