Great books

Why is the Great Gatsby such a good book?  How about Catch 22?  I’m not even an English major and I think they’re great. [3557C]

One doesn’t need to major in English to appreciate great works of literature. One mark of great writing is its impact on future writers. Another is the work’s ability to transcend cultures and time. Shakespeare, for instance, is still read today for these reasons (and all the great car chase scenes!).

The Great Gatsby is about unrestrained materialism and immorality (sound familiar?) and is cited by many authors as a major influence. Catch-22 is outstanding because it illustrates the absurdity of war, a point that apparently needs to be made over and over again. Furthermore, it features an outstanding anti-hero. If you like Catch-22, I highly recommend an earlier example of an anti-hero in a novel about the absurdity or war, Jaroslav Hasek’s The Good Soldier Svejk [891.86 H346AE].