View Poll Results: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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  • *A bookworm's nightmare!

    0 0%
  • **Take a nap instead

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  • ***Finished but no reason to skip meals

    2 33.33%
  • ****Don't forget to unplug the phone for this one!

    2 33.33%
  • *****A bookworm's bibliophilic dream!

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Thread: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

  1. #1
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    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    I've been hearing about this book so long now, I finally decided it was time to pick it up and get it over and done with. Boy, am I glad I did. To me, Catch-22 is somewhat like marmite. You'll either love it or you'll hate it. There is no grey area. I happen to love it. This book is filled with so many colourful characters that you'll end up loving them all. You go through so many emotions that by the end of the book, you're exhausted. I grasped Heller's writing style right off the bat. He is a unique and clever writer.

    The story follows Captain Joseph Yossarian, a US airman trying to survive the madness of the Second World War. I think it's a great depiction of modern mentality. Frankly, I don't think it's only the war that is insane ... Life itself is insane - a Catch-22, so to speak.

    Much of the prose is repetitive, which would usually bother me, but I found it to be tolerable. The only problem I had was with the length of the book. The story dragged on at times, and I found I wanted to get through those parts quickly. It would have been better if the book was shorter. All the same, I found this read to be very refreshing, and I plan on reading it again someday.

    One of my favourite lines from the book:

    "There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle."
    "Mortals cannot perceive me with the physical eye whilst in my pure form unless it is of my choosing, for it would result in fatality, which begs the question of why you are an exception." - Al Stone, Talisman Of El

  2. #2
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    It still is the funniest book I have ever read. And boy, I must have read it about four times. As you say, the characters are so colourful & I often relate them to real life corporate individuals that I come across.

  3. #3
    Tu le connais, lecteur... Kafka's Crow's Avatar
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    I was planning to finish this one by the 1st of this month but it decided to drag on. The book should have been less than half in length. It is funny but that is all. The turn of phrase is clever, repetition hilarious and clever but I don't know what made it a 'great book'. It is a dragger! The bloody thing would not end and there is a plethora of dialogue. It is like reading a 500 page stage play script, a clever comedy, nothing more or less.
    "The farther he goes the more good it does me. I donít want philosophies, tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, truths, answers, nothing from the bargain basement. He is the most courageous, remorseless writer going and the more he grinds my nose in the sh1t the more I am grateful to him..."
    -- Harold Pinter on Samuel Beckett

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    Yeah, it was a little longer than I would have liked, but it was so good. I think it's just based on personal preference really
    "Mortals cannot perceive me with the physical eye whilst in my pure form unless it is of my choosing, for it would result in fatality, which begs the question of why you are an exception." - Al Stone, Talisman Of El

  5. #5
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    One of the best of the 20th century. No doubt. A catch 22 is and will always be anywhere. If you are called "stupid," compare yourself to a mad person. The others would probably say, "Ok. But that person is ill. You are not." So you propose to be mentally ill. It's morbidly funny.

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    I picked this book for an English project this last school year in which we were instructed to read a book and do multiple things with it on our own. It seemed quite interesting from the description with the non-linearity and unusual prose; however, I put the book down forever after page 50. It was so dreadfully boring to me. Yes, there were amusing aspects to it, but it was pretty much limited to the dialogue. Everything other than the dialogue (which was really funny at times) was dreadful. I didn't mind the non-linearity, but the prose was *horrid.* Seriously. I've never read such bad writing, and this book is supposed to be a 'Great American Novel.' I mean, I get what Heller was attempting to do, but I just think he failed with the writing style. The 'simple, but profound' style has worked very well for other authors such as Vonnegut, but I don't think Heller truly captured it.

  7. #7
    Lost in the Fog PabloQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kafka's Crow View Post
    I was planning to finish this one by the 1st of this month but it decided to drag on. The book should have been less than half in length. It is funny but that is all. The turn of phrase is clever, repetition hilarious and clever but I don't know what made it a 'great book'. It is a dragger! The bloody thing would not end and there is a plethora of dialogue. It is like reading a 500 page stage play script, a clever comedy, nothing more or less.
    For me, Catch 22 is something more than this comment implies. This novel came into popularity in America in the 1960s. It's anti-war and anti-military themes resonated with a generation of Americans. Reading it out of context with that time in this place, decades later, would lose some of that quality if the reader is disconnected from it. Heller's other novels use a plethora of dialog and it can get in the way of the story, so I think that point is valid.

    The comment that tickles me is "the bloody thing would not end", which ironically is Yossarian's experience with the war. It's been years since I read it, but I remember rooting for him to complete his missions and get out; and I also shared his disappointment and frustration each time they raised the number of missions. To abbreviate this story would dilute the effect of its point.

    Finally, clever little comedies are rarities. Clever little comedies that leave a lasting impression on a generation are even rarer. And this one introduced a term into the vernacular that still resonates with people 50 years later. So whereas I respect your right to your opinion, I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the novel.
    No damn cat, no damn cradle - Newt Honniker

  8. #8
    Eiseabhal
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    I read this book in the army. I thought it very funny indeed.

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