All Its Spinning Reasonableness

Happy 50th Birthday, Catch-22


Catch-22 was my favorite novel when I was 16. Since then, I've had many favorite novels, but I never forgot Catch-22.
Yossarian: "Nately's parents don't need the money. They're rich!"
Milo: "Then they'll understand."
i was gonna make a smoothie but then i couldn't find the blender, i had plenty of banannas and oranges and tomatoes and cucumbers and wouldn't you know just when i find the blender i realize i don't have any electricity and i was gonna give the darn thing away anyhow so instead i had fruit salad. And you know what? It was good. But it wasn't very smooth. It was, however, free!
Just add "Slaughter House Five" to the list and I'm good.
I'm rather impressed, Mr. Kiley: it's rare that a working book reviewer will admit that none of his favorite American novels were first published within the last fifty years. That's very useful information for reading any of your future reviews.

Truth compels me to point out, however, that Yossarian is not a Greek-American. Since there is fairly extensive discussion in the book about whether his last name is of Armenian extraction, this is an odd gaffe for someone as familiar with the novel as this reviewer appears to be to make.
Thanks for the correction, OP. We'll fix that.
Why is The Scarlet Letter on your recommended book list, Brendan?
A Puritan Age witch hunt publicly condemning a woman for "committing" adultery wouldn't be on mine!

I do have one to add to your list: how about Bless the Beasts and Children, by Glendon Swarthout, instead?
By the way, the 1971 Stanley Kramer film version, starring Bill Mumy, at 17, as Teft. and Barry Robins in what has to be his most unforgettable role as Cotton, celebrates its 40th year anniversary this year.
I loved all the little touches in Catch-22 and have found many more great American novels much harder to get into. I can't believe that the book is 50 years old because it seems so relavant today.…
One of my all time favorites, if not number one. I remember belly laughing on one page, then nearly crying on the next. The best rollercoaster I've ever ridden.
@ 6. Good question, auntie! I freak out about the peculiarly American genius of Hawthorne (and one of his heirs, our local treasure Rebecca Brown) over here. It begins like this:

Born on America's 28th birthday, Nathaniel Hawthorne is the patron saint of America's sadder half. His stories don't have the unbearable lightness of French ennui, nor the lugubriousness of Russian pessimism. They are afflicted with the special depression of the New World, a depression born of thwarted ambition, imprisoned passion, and soured hope.
@10: More on my list of good reads would be Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey, and To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Thanks for sharing, Brendan!