Well, I wanted to know where the phrase "Catch-22" came from. I consider myself a smart person, and I'm a copy editor by trade, but I tend to like books I can sort of be absorbed by, not books where you are constantly aware you are reading because you have to work at it. That's just my preference, maybe because I read plenty of boring things for a living and when I get my dinner break I want to read something else.
I thought this book was really amusing, and I generally enjoyed it. But I also felt it that it never fully pulled me in -- I was pretty much always aware that I was reading and never got lost in it.
It was weird for me that I could so much enjoy and dislike reading a book simultaneously. In the end, I quit reading it because I felt like there was no plot. Maybe one developed later, but the whole part I read was just talking about this character or that character -- if I had to tell you what was happening in the book, well, nothing was happening. So, as much as I hate to not finish something I've started, I had to heed my mother's advice: "Life's to short to read a bad book." I wouldn't call this a bad book by any means, but maybe not my style.
"Catch-22" is a classic war satire and while some aspects of it are a little dated, it still rings very true in the contemporary political climate. Heller's characters are all quirky, intense and unique, but their conversations and actions really penetrate the absurdity of war and are very entertaining.
Perhaps this was an important book when it was written, perhaps it was new and different, but I found it dull and not even remotely funny. It's supposed to be a classic, but it didn't even work as farce for me. I wish I felt differently. I wanted to like this book.
I've noticed a lot of the reviews of this book mention that the person never finished the book - the usual petering-out point is about page 100.
And I can see why - there's a smug humor in the book that is just annoying by about that time. Well, really annoying by that time. For whatever reason (thanks be to God), Heller changes tack somewhere around there, and although it's still a lot of nonsense and surreal humor, and characters that are more caricature than human, at least it seems like the reader is no longer the butt of the joke.
I was ready to say this was the most cynical book ever, but then I finished it, and it's not. Also, while it's enjoyable and a must-read and blah-blah-blah, it does feel like different books at different points. Sometimes I felt like I was reading a Monty Python script, sometimes it was like "Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern," sometimes it was like a Dali dream sequence, and every once in a while it was just, you know, Hemingway or something.
I think I could really have used a study group or a college class to help me with this one. But I'm glad I read it anyway.
I started this book several times,losing interest before getting too far into it; when I committed to reading it I became hooked, & thoroughly enjoyed it. Really a very funny book.