Rising AP Lang Students Rejoice

For once, you can enjoy summer reading.

For the future AP English Language students, I incite you all to mark May 17th on your calendars. This upcoming date will be a monumental breakthrough for everyone that must suffer through the arduous stack of summer reading in order to prepare for the advanced English class. In addition to two well-composed autobiographies that you should read during your summertime respite, you are also given three fiction novels: Catcher in the Rye (a classic) and Slaughterhouse Five are undoubtedly merciful in their brevity. However, there remains one final work of literature. The behemoth of novels. With over 500 pages, its length and complexity rivals the Harry Potter series. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. When (or if) you pick up this novel from the local bookstore, you will inevitably experience some form of sensory overload. I am telling you now, if you are like most high school students, you will feel overwhelmed. You may even scoff and think to yourself, “yeah, I am not reading this.” In the face of this iconic David-and-Goliath situation, have no fear: Hulu is here to ensure you get through this trying time.

The first half of the book that I read was terrible, but when I read the Sparknotes, it seemed pretty interesting!”

— Anna Tortorici

As all AP Lang veterans are familiar with this book, all of them have something to say about it, whether that be positive or negative. The general consensus is that Catch-22 is way too long and way too confusing, which, I will have to admit, is a pretty fair ruling. On a surface level, this novel focuses on Captain Yossarian, a bombardier in World War II, whose sole objective is to get out of fighting the war and return to the safety of America. Through excessive use of paradoxes, nonlinear chronology, and circumlocution, Catch-22 addresses the flaws in the military’s bureaucracy and illustrates mankind’s innate nature to act based on self-interest.

It’s an interesting concept, but is it worth the read? Personally, I would say yes. If you can devote enough time and concentration to this novel, you will most likely end up really enjoying Catch-22. Saturated with wit and humorous miscommunications, Joseph Heller’s book was hands-down my favorite from my AP Lang summer reading list. In the chance that the author’s literary craft is way too confusing and all over the place for you to comprehend, you can always consult Sparknotes. But a much better alternative is about to arise: Catch-22, the TV show. Starting May 17th, this series will be streaming on Hulu.

Directed and produced by George Clooney, and featuring an impressive cast of George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, and Kyle Chandler, this upcoming show is aggregating a lot of well-warranted attention. If you’re a rising AP Lang student and you’re looking for something to binge-watch over the summer, you might as well kill two birds with one stone!