Catch-22 cover - get Catch-22 for free

We know that the Internet thrives on free information. As the saying goes, “Information wants to be free.” But I was still surprised by what I found when I began writing my book on free books on the Internet – Laughing in the Dark.

It turns out there are dozens of services where you can find free books. And I don’t just mean the kind of third-rate freebies that abound on Kindle.

You can research the greats, or catch up on some of the recents.

Across the millennia and the world

They start with the very first satirical writing we know of – from an Egyptian papyrus, around four thousand years old. They range across the millennia – and the world – including translations of classic Greek plays and poetry from Rome, the Middle East and China.

Probably the richest source comprises more modern works, from Chaucer and Swift to Kafka and Virginia Woolf, Tom Wolfe and Terry Pratchett. There are even scripts, including Doctor Strangelove and Seinfeld. And a scurrilous piece from Have I Got News For You, that the BBC decided was too dangerous to broadcast.

Laughing in the Dark - find books on the Internet for free

There are sites where you can download in multiple formats to keep, and libraries where you can “borrow” books to read online for a specific period of time.

And for the most part it’ll cost you nothing. Zero. The generosity of those who have spent time and effort digitising and uploading them staggers me.

For my book, I was looking for free satire. I imagined I’d maybe find a few dozen. By the time I stopped, I’d found over eighty. Including – of course – Catch-22.

I’ve included all the links you need – and the book is free too. You can get it here.

Get Catch-22 for free

Published in 1961, this is one of the greatest satires of the 20th century if not of all time.

Set in the closing months of World War II, it follows the story of Yossarian, a US bombardier who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him.

His real problem is not the enemy – it is his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service.

Yossarian tries to excuse himself from the perilous missions but cannot escape Catch-22. This famous catch says that he can get out of flying if he’s crazy. But if he wants to get out of flying, that proves he’s sane.

As the book says, that’s some catch…

Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, the novel’s strength is still undiminished. Reading it is a must.

Get Catch-22 – and Laughing in the Dark – for free