NaNoReMo 2007: Catch-22 Syllabus

Okay, you know what? Reading this book is going to be easy peesy. My copy of Catch-22 starts on page 15 and ends on 463. That’s 448 pages in total. Round up to 450, divide by the 30 days in November–15 pages a day. No sweat.

Of course, your book may have different pagination, so we’ll go by chapters. I plan to write about Catch-22 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in November, which works out like this:

Date Chapters To Be Discussed
November 2nd Chapter 1: The Texan
Chapter 2: Clevinger
Chapter 3: Havermeyer
Chapter 4: Doc Daneeka
November 5th Chapter 5: Chief White Halfoat
Chapter 6: Hungry Joe
Chapter 7: McWatt
Chapter 8: Lieutenant Scheisskopf
November 7th Chapter 9: Major Major Major Major
Chapter 10: Wintergreen
November 9th Chapter 11: Captain Black
Chapter 12: Bologna
Chapter 13: Major – De Coverely
November 12th Chapter 14: Kid Sampson
Chapter 15: Piltchard and Wren
Chapter 16: Lucina
Chapter 17: The Soldier in White
Chapter 18: The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice
November 14th Chapter 19: Colonel Cathcart
Chapter 20: Corporal Whitcomb
Chapter 21: General Dreedle
November 16th Chapter 22: Milo the Mayor
Chapter 23: Nately’s Old Man
November 19th Chapter 24: Milo
Chapter 25: The Chaplain
Chapter 26: Aarfy
November 21st Chapter 27: Nurse Duckett
Chapter 28: Dobbs
November 23rd Chapter 29: Peckem
Chapter 30: Dunbar
Chapter 31: Mrs. Daneeka
Chapter 32: Yo-Yo’s Roomies
November 26th Chapter 33: Nately’s Whore
Chapter 34: Thanksgiving
Chapter 35: Milo the Militant
Chapter 36: The Cellar
Chapter 37: General Scheisskopf
November 28th Chapter 38: Kid Sister
Chapter 39: The Eternal City
Chapter 40: Catch-22
November 30th Chapter 41: Snowden
Chapter 42: Yossarian

Now let’s take a moment to briefly review the NaNoReMo rules. Ha, sike! There are no rules. Start reading the book early, finish late, translate the thing into Klingon as you go–I don’t care.

But I intend to adhere to the above schedule. If you are reading along, we’d love for you to join in the conversation, either by chiming in on the threads I initiate on the designated days, or by posting your thoughts on your own site and sending me the link (which I will compile and include in my posts).

NaNoReMo 2007: Catch-22

The die is cast. The 2007 NaNoReMo book, as decided by you, will be: Catch-22.

Wait, what? Really? Wow, I would not have predicted that. In fact, I don’t even need to use the conditional tense: I did not predict that. I was sure it was going to be 1984 or Catcher In The Rye. Shows ya what I know.

But Catch-22 is great–one of only two books on the list that I haven’t read already.

I’ll send out a syllabus next week. In the meantime, you may want to think about picking up a copy.

NaNoReMo 2007

As you may recall (lord knows I do), I spent last November attempting to plow through Moby Dick. It was supposed to be a clever spin on National Novel Writing Month, the idea being that it would be easier to read a book in 30 days than write one. Rarely have my prognostic powers proven to be more incorrect. Knocking out my 750,000-word fantasy novel about obese wizards would have been a cinch compared to getting through The Dick.

Or so I am forced to assume, as I didn’t actually complete the book. Fortunately, I think my daily progress reports reduced my readership to approximately one (hi Mom!), so no one noticed when I scotched the project.

As with most fiascoes, I blame my failure largely on you. I had hoped that people would join in the endeavor, reading the book along with me and adding their own insights to my daily posts. Let’s ignore, for the moment, the fact that I didn’t get around to announcing my intention to spend November reading Moby Dick until 11:45 PM on Halloween, leaving you no time to secure a copy of the novel. In fact, let’s just ignore that fact forever, shall we?

Anyway, I’m you’re not going to make the same mistake again. This year I am announcing the reading material well in advance, so we can all do this together. (** Spoiler**: it won’t be the second half of Moby Dick.)

In fact, I’ll even give you a vote as to what we read. Here are the 10 novels I am considering. For each, indicate if you want to read it for NaNoReMo, would read it for NaNoReMo, or absolutely won’t read it for NaNoReMo. (If you will not read any of these books, or just don’t care to participate in NaNoReMo, just click here to see the results so far.)

** Voting has ended; click here for results **

I limited the choices to “American Novels,” for no compelling reason (I figure the Bush administration pretty much naturalized 1984). I also tried to pick books that were a tad more accessible than Moby Dick (not hard, given that Fort Knox is more accessible than Moby Dick). Specifically, I tried to pick books that were less than 500 pages, and, if not necessarily “easy-to-read,” at least not “grueling-to-read.” And, before you ask: To Kill A Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby were omitted because I’ve read both in the last five years.

Now let me tell you my preferences, in an effort to influence your decision (he says, as if he’s not just going to throw out all the votes at the last moment and decide that we’re all going to read back-issues of Heavy Metal …)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: My top pick my a healthy margin. I figure most folks of my generation haven’t read it in 20 years, and most folks of subsequent generations were prevented by The Naughty Word Police from reading it at all.

The Adventures Of Augie March: Clearly I am in the mood for adventure. I don’t know the first thing about this book, but, in doing my research for NaNoReMo 2007, I found it at the top of nearly every list of “Great American Novels.” Intriguing. Violates the < 500 pages rule, though. Catcher In The Rye: Read it in college, didn’t think it lived up to the hype. Of course, as a dedicated counter-counter-culturalist, I would have come to that conclusion regardless of the quality of the book (see also: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). Would like to read it again as an adult (i.e., free of the obligation to come to a different opinion that everyone else for the sake of faux individualism).

Those are my front-runners, though I’d be happy to read any of these. Let me know your thoughts. We’ll keep the poll open until the 8th–that will give those who want to play along at home plenty of time to get the selected book from the bookstore or library.