Top 10 Books by Joseph Heller

 

Born in the Coney Island district of Brooklyn, New York, Joseph Heller is an American author, playwright, and writer of short stories and screenplays. Heller is widely celebrated for his dark-humored compositions. His work had chief elements as satire, sober and laughable stuff. His writing manner tends to have repetitions and catchphrases. Through each of the repetition, there’s an add-on to the situation. Heller’s composition had themes like postmodernism and postmodernity, anti-hero and humor.

Heller was more like a black marketer in the satirical world. Writing an irony that makes you laugh as well isn’t something that everyone can do. He is most famed for his work, Catch-22, based on his own war experiences, and Something happened, based on the business and the American lifestyle. Before being a hit satire writer, Joseph Heller served in the US army air corps and flew around 60 combat missions as a B-25 Bombardier.

Catch-22

Yossarian is a hero who is incessantly imaginative in his schemes to save his skin from the atrocious chances of war. His trouble is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Nevertheless, if Yossarian makes any feats to alibi himself from the touch-and-go missions that he is confided to flying, he's freed by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book gets its title.

Read it For:
Satire, farce, gallows humour, irreverence; rarely has a piece of literature marked so many of the boxes.
Don't Read it For:
The author goes off on tangents, introducing a new character apparently every paragraph, and looks to lose his train of thought only to regain it two pages later.
What makes this book stand out?:
Despite its pervasiveness, laugh out humour, Heller’s story is the most horrifyingly efficient limning of the insanity of war.

Something happened

The story is told as if the reader was overhearing the spiel of Bob Slocum's brain - recording what is going on at the office, as well as his fancies and memories that complete the story of his life.

Read it For:
Heller created an unkindly character and made him fully human. Also, there is a multi-layered portrayal of the character.
Don't Read it For:
The book was first labeled as pornographic. It is not for everyone, particularly those tender to immodesty.
What makes this book stand out?:
The composition is Joseph Heller's wondrously inventive and controversial second novel lampooning clientele life and American culture.

Good as Gold

The plot is about Bruce Gold, a middle-aged, Jewish professor of English literature, who finds himself on the threshold of a golden career in politics - and not a minute too soon, as Gold aches for a chance to transform a less-than-picture-perfect life.

Read it For:
Heller knows how to write about the everyday interactions between people, find the caustic remark, and make it an involving story. This may be Heller's most autobiographical work.
Don't Read it For:
It is gross and has only one character with any redemptive qualities, which is basically the victim.
What makes this book stand out?:
As funny as it is sad, Good as Gold is a story of children grown up, parents grew old, and friends and lovers grown apart - a story that is inimitably Heller.

Closing Time

Yossarian and Milo Minderbinder, the clergyman, and such starters as little Sammy Singer and giant Lew, all linked, in a nervous peace and old age, fighting not the Germans this time, but The End.

Read it For:
Closing Time is atrociously peculiar and dangerous, and as vivid and successful as Catch-22.
Don't Read it For:
The composition is a more complicated book to get into.
What makes this book stand out?:
Closing Time dexterously mocks the realnesses and the myths of America in the half century since WWII.
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God knows

Joseph Heller's powerful, superbly funny, profoundly affecting novel is the story of David - yes, King David - but as you've never seen him before.

Read it For:
Original, sad, wildly funny, and filled with roaring, Heller's King David, a splendid creation, is not so much a man for all seasons as a man in all his seasons. Undoubtedly, this is one of the Joseph Heller's best books.
Don't Read it For:
The text is lengthy and at points is trying hard to be humorous.
What makes this book stand out?:
This is a clownish, sexy version of the story of King David, told as a modern parable of what it is like for a Jew to survive in a hostile world. A quintessential Heller work.

Picture This

A keen satirical look at the world of art and museums by the author of the modern classic, Catch-22.

Read it For:
The plot has a fairly ingenious discussion of state politics, art, philosophy, and capitalism.
Don't Read it For:
There is not a patch so much of a central storyline.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is a "novel, " but it is also a kind of weird historiography as well; it spans ancient Greek and Renaissance Europe, with Aristotle and Rembrandt and Socrates as its characters.

No laughing matter

Joesph Heller, the author of Catch-22, was in the hospital for months with a rare autoimmune condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome, in which the patient turns paralyzed for days, weeks, or longer, and this is the story of his sickness and convalescence. Co-written with a friend of his, Speed Vogel, so each chapter switches point of view.

Read it For:
It's a story - told by Heller and his longtime friend Speed Vogel - about friendship, human infirmity, and the casual victory of laughter
Don't Read it For:
The second-by-second account is long-winded and wearying to muff through.
What makes this book stand out?:
The reader gets a peek into Heller's individual life, so it's fun to see famous characters pop in and out of the book. If you're a Heller fan, you'll find this captivating on a number of levels.

A portrait of an Artist as an old man

Eugene Pota is a novelist in his mid-seventies whose commercial and critical success has never managed to reach the heights of his first novel, which made his name and is considered an all-time classic. Struggling to write what will be the last novel of his career, Pota is at a loss for thoughts.

Read it For:
It's Heller’s last and posthumous novel — bitterly heart-to-heart portrayal of an over-the-hill, clapped-out and disconnected senior novelist clambering to settle on one idea for his parting feature.
Don't Read it For:
The book is not as funny as the other Joseph Heller's popular novels.
What makes this book stand out?:
A moderately fragmental, unapologetically chatty, and extremely funny novel where Heller truly has the last laugh at his own expense.

We bombed in New Haven

An anti-war dark comedy, it is thematically connected in part to Heller's famous novel catch-22.

Read it For:
It is emphatically Heller's singular style and bubbling over with satire and ripe with criticism of war and politics.
Don't Read it For:
It has none of the character development or believability.
What makes this book stand out?:
Heller had a crystal ball when he wrote this. He wrote the dialogue for his military commanders that utterly fuses omnipotence and incompetence.

Catch as catch can

These short stories were published by Heller beforehand to that first novel, along with all the other short compositions of fiction and nonfiction that were issued during his lifetime.

Read it For:
Insightful look at the short stories written by Joseph Heller.
Don't Read it For:
The stories are too short and not as the regular Heller works.
What makes this book stand out?:
Like any collection of short stories ranging an author's life, this was uneven. But, Heller worked his best.

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