Joseph Heller – Catch-22
The funniest thing I’ve read in years. In the book, Catch-22 is a fictional rule that fighter pilots cannot fly combat missions if they are insane. But asking out of a mission is proof of sanity, so such pilots therefore must fly combat missions. Similar plays on logic occur throughout the book, making the Abbott and Costello-style back-and-forths even funnier. Other hijinks range from typical young male bawdiness to hilariously petty infighting among the commanding officers, to some of the pilots making some money on the side by using military aircraft to make trade runs to nearby cities, even cornering the markets in various commodities.
The rampant mirth and cynicism only magnify the poignant and tragic scenes, making the book’s anti-war message hit home on multiple fronts. The light makes the shade even darker.