Wednesday, November 10, 1971

Joseph Heller Catch-22 Published 10 Years Ago Today

Updated 2/16/2019.

First Publication: November 10, 1961

Category: satirical novel/war story

Sales: 10 million


About the Book:

Catch-22 is “a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest – and most celebrated – books of all time.” AZ “It uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters. The separate storylines are out of sequence so the timeline develops along with the plot.” WK

“Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable” AZ “Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier,” WK “a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy – it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.” AZ

“Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.” WK

In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Mission Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our book for October 2019.

Resources and Related Links:

You can also watch the 1970 movie version on Amazon.

Thursday, July 15, 1971

J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye published 20 years ago today

Updated 2/16/2019.

Buy on Amazon

First Publication: July 16, 1951

Category: coming-of-age novel

Sales: 65 million


About the Book:

“Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged.” BN “Originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.” WK “The novel’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion. The novel also deals with complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss, and connection.” WK “Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.” AZ

“The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.” AZ

“Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, [Holden] issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.” AZ

In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Mission Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our book for March 2019.

Resources and Related Links: