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Catch 22

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My question, after only a few pages into this book, is Why haven’t I heard more about it?

This is a really great book.

It’s kind of like crossing a good Tom Clancy with Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Just imagine the marvelousness of that, and you have Catch 22. It’s very funny, it’s very profound. It works on almost any level you want to take it.

I heard that Tom Brokaw, in his younger days, was totally enamoured of this book. He went around writing “Yossarian Lives!” on things.

I can kind of see why.

And therefore, more people need to read this and put it on their favorites list.

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About Murphy

  • Murphy,

    Catch-22 is a truly popular book–even people who haven’t read the book use its title as a catch phrase all the time.

    You might also enjoy the 1970 movie version, director Mike Nichols’ followup to The Graduate.



  • Well, yeah, I’d heard the PHRASE. But no one ever talked about the book, as in, what it was about.

    I think people use the phrase Catch 22 the same way they use Shangri-la..Lots of people use the term Shangri-La, but not so many people have seen the movie “Lost Horizon” (well, okay, it was a novel too) that coined the term and defined it.

  • I first read it as part of my 9th grade english class and have re-read it a number of times.

    It is particularly appropriate now.

  • And Harlan Ellison has a story in homage to Lost Horizon in the the McSweeney’s Number 10 genre issue.

  • CDG

    What are you 12 yrs old? Who hasn’t heard of Catch-22? It’s in the top 10 of the top 100 novels of the century released last year or the year before.

  • Murphy herself

    Well, that’s not very nice!

    No, I am not 12 years old. I’m 30, a voracious reader and I have a degree in English.

    That’s part of why I was so surprised that I hadn’t heard more about this book. I pay attention to references about books, and I usually have some idea of what the book is about before I start reading it. But I was taken by surprise with this one.

    I’d be interested in see the list you are referring to, thought. Where could I find that list of the top 100 novels of the century?

  • uhm, a 30 year old with a purported degree in English who isn’t aware of Joseph Heller, if it were me, that isn’t exactly something I would want to spread around. As for research, well, if you have cash, I can do it for you, since you obviously didn’t learn how to do it at school.

    Let me know. I gots all sorts of mad library skills.

  • …and with that comment, Jim lays to rest the rumor that Canadians are just the same as Americans, only more polite.

    This quote on your webite’s entrance page strikes me as particularly interesting:

    “Remember sticks and stones may break your bones, but words cause permanent damage.”

    I do like your website though. The purple turns out looking pretty good on my monitor. Is the dog/wolf yours, or just a random picture?

  • Well, you know us Canadians, always willing to apologize.

    As for the doggie, it’s called clipart, but we’ve been told around the Ministry of Consequences that our breath is somewhat similar along with our prediliction to hump anything.

  • andi

    Thank you for posting about this book. I was thinking about reading it for a couple months but never got around to it. Thought I’d check out what blogcritics had to say, and I think I may just buy and read it. I hadn’t really heard about the book until this year, and for the record, I am not twelve either, and thought it sounded like a good book (by reading the back of it), but wasn’t sure. Thanks for your thoughts Jim. I’m gonna look into it.

  • One phrase: One stop shopping. Missed the great books of contemporary American literature? Not sure about Hemmingway, Heller and Hunter S. Thompson? Wolfe at the door? Haven’t had a fistfight with Norman Mailer?

    Worry no longer. Just buy “The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature” by America’s Greatest Living Writer, Neal Pollack.

  • Eric Olsen

    War, madness, profiteering, arbitrary death – Catch 22 has it all. When I was a teen, this book was ubiquitous, but maybe it was in a down cycle when M came along almost 15 years later.

  • Down cycles are probably good for a book. It would have been kind of cool to have come to CATCH 22 knowing nothing about it.

  • It WAS very cool.

    I was stunned and surprised. Andi, I totally recommend it. It was very entertaining, as well as deep.

    And how often does that happen?

  • andi

    not often enough that’s for sure.

  • Erica Heller

    My father, Joseph Heller, wrote Catch 22. Apart from any monetary gain for me in encouraging people to keep reading it, I honestly feel that it was never more pertinent or meaningful. The old man left behind a gem. Read it. You won’t be sorry.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Erica, it’s a timeless classic, very glad you stopped by.

  • This book is awesome I had to read it for an Ap class I took in high school. I really liked it despite having to take copious notes.