First Posted: 1/30/2015
Wyoming County Reads 2015 began last Wednesday evening at the Tunkhannock Public Library with a motivational introduction and discussion led by Bill Chapla.
It was motivational in the sense that many readers felt they were missing a lot in Joseph Heller’s acclaimed novel “Catch-22.” Chapla cited multiple passages in the beginning of the book and discussed their significance, strongly encouraging readers to finish the book in the next two weeks. Many readers left the discussion motivated to keep reading the book, which Chapla described as “a true masterpiece.”
“Think about it,” he said. “Is it just about war?”
Food for thought for all.
The 24 participants came from a wide area, even including Montrose and Nanticoke. Many are regular attendees, but new participants are encouraged to join the discussions at any time. Books may be borrowed from libraries or downloaded to phones, tablets or e-readers.
“Catch-22” is on most lists of the greatest war novels. Set during World War II, it seems that nothing is rational and all the characters are crazy, making for hilarious reading.
As for meaning of the title, one reader summed it up perfectly: “’Catch-22’ means you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
Until the novel “Catch-22” was published in 1961, the phrase “Catch 22” did not exist. Now it is part of our every day vocabulary.
During this first discussion of the book, it was clear war impacts the lives of all of us, especially the two Vietnam veterans who attended and added their perspectives. But one of Chapla’s most thought provoking questions was, “Whom do we send to war today?” It was agreed that most of us are totally unaffected by the wars going on today. It is our young men and women attracted to a possible career path and opportunities to serve who put their lives in danger.
All are encouraged to attend the next discussions and presentations for Wyoming County Reads. At 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, Feb. 4 and 11 at the Tunkhannock Public Library, Chapla will continue discussions of “Catch-22.” Come join the stimulating exchanges over coffee and cookies.
The second book for Wyoming County Reads 2015 is “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. This time the setting is the Vietnam War. Dr. Daniel Fraustino of the University of Scranton, a Vietnam veteran, is the discussion leader, again at the Tunkhannock Public Library.
John Tindell of Northampton Community College, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25, will lead a pre-movie discussion of “Catch-22,” which will be shown at the Dietrich Theater at noon and 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4. All discussions and the movie are free.
For more information, call 570-996-1500.