One Book Down: Catch-22

For my 100 in 365 book project, I decided to just read the books in the order in which they are listed, rather than jump all around. It makes it easier for me and it makes it easier for you to follow along (you can see the list in my first post). Besides my brain likes things in a neat order or my little bit of OCD goes crazy. For those following, the first book was The Great Gatsby, which I had already read, so I moved right on to the second, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The night after I wrote my first blog (ever!) I ran out to Barnes and Noble to buy a few of the books on the list. I found the 50th anniversary edition of Catch-22 and dove in that night before bed.

Let me just say that I used to read in all of my spare time but recently have just limited myself to right before bed. This can make me stay up extremely late if I am in the middle of a chapter or the story is amazing; this can make me read a book extremely slower than I normally would; or in the case of Catch-22 can give me some crazy, crazy dreams!

I just want to clarify that I am not a professional book reviewer and I do not expect anyone to read this and completely agree or take my word/opinion as an expert review. For each book, I will just write what my first impressions are and move on to the next. If it helps you decided to read a book or not, that is great but do not blame me if you miss out on something!

Upon opening Catch-22 I looked over at my husband and said, “Ugh, this is a war book, I don’t really care for books about wars.” Which is actually completely untrue because Homer’s The Iliad is one of my favorite books of all time. I guess I just never really knew what Catch-22 was about but I had committed myself to this challenge, so I reluctantly started to read. Throughout the first few chapters I felt very manic and crazy, much like most of the characters called each other. There was a sense of confusion because the chapters tend to skip back and forth through time and hop from character to character. But once I learned all of the character names and got a hang of the way Heller writes, I really began to enjoy the book.

When reading Catch-22, one gets the sense that they are holding onto a true piece of American literature. Not to say that other books I read are not literature, but there really was some sense of awe and admiration while reading. Maybe that is why on the back cover there is a quote from Stephen King saying, “To my mind, there have been two great American novels in the past fifty years. Catch-22 is one.” I would love to know what he thinks is the other great American novel, but I digress.

I really enjoyed Catch-22. After the initial manic feeling, I began to get into the story and when characters were lost (yes this will happen, it is set during the war) I was truly saddened. However, there is a message of hope at the end, so don’t despair too long, keep reading! Next I will be On the Road with Jack Kerouac.

- Corrine

Stephen Gosling