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Author Topic: Kurt Vonnegut's list
TemporalHominid
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posted 16 September 2005 03:04 PM      Profile for TemporalHominid   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
LIBERAL CRAP I NEVER WANT TO HEAR AGAIN
From: Under a bridge, in Foot Muck | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
blake 3:17
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posted 16 September 2005 03:11 PM      Profile for blake 3:17     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's so so. Seeing Vonnegut on the Daily Show was a hoot though. Never saw Jon Stewart so nervous.
From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 16 September 2005 05:42 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought Vonnegut died like...a million years ago...
From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 16 September 2005 05:49 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No, he just keeps writing about death - that might be the source of your confusion. I like several of Vonnegut's books, partly because he has one of the most morbid senses of humour I've ever come across in a writer.
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 16 September 2005 09:28 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
He's one of my few heroes.
From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 16 September 2005 09:38 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mine, too.
Along with Konrad Lorenz, Arhtur Koestler, Martin Buber, Thomas Szasz... all old white guys. Well, what can you do?

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 17 September 2005 01:59 AM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wait for me to age so that I can join this exclusive club of old white dudes?
From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 17 September 2005 07:24 AM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was once introduced to a Vonnegut's book by an ex-boyfriend of mine. I never got around to reading it. (Tossed everything he gave me out the window one day after our break-up) Coincidentally, I have been interested in picking up one of his novels as of late. Problem is, he has so damn many!

Can any of you suggest a good title that I should buy? Many thanks in advance.


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 17 September 2005 07:44 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It has been so long since I read it that I forget almost everything about the novel except the fire-bombing of Dresden, but Slaughterhouse-Five struck me back then as irresistible, driven, inspired. Among other writers, he reminded me most of Gunter Grass -- which could be because I read The Tin Drum at about the same time and their subject-matter is related, but I think it's more than that. There is something more European, less American, about Vonnegut -- he's an odd figure in American literary history, less so in an international context. He seems, for one thing, to have been influenced by Expressionist aesthetics -- in American lit, that's not unique (O'Neill) but unusual, and mostly earlier, I think.

Two others of Vonnegut's classics are Cat's Cradle and Breakfast of Champions, and there are many short stories as well, not that I've tracked any of them down.

I just checked his bio and discovered he was born in 1922. I had thought he was younger than that. Man: given his long struggle with suicidal thoughts, I'll bet he never expected even to see his eighties, much less still be publishing. That is some accomplishment, and congratulations to him.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 17 September 2005 09:50 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I read all of Vonnegut's writings up to about 1980. It was fun stuff, but just doesn't interest me anymore. There was a movie version of "Slaugterhouse-Five" that was pretty good for its time. I read Ken Kesey's two books back then as well - "Sometimes A Great Notion" and "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest". Early reading also included "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac, and "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg. I had a large library way back then; sold or gave away most of it. I'm down now to about 250 books. Book collections have always made moving a pain in the ass.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
RealityStick
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posted 17 September 2005 01:53 PM      Profile for RealityStick   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Cat's Cradle is good, although I'd recommend God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and (for shorter stuff) Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons.

There's also Venus on the Half-shell by Kilgore Trout (it was actually written by Phillip José Farmer, but it's a fun read).


From: the last lonely refuge | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 17 September 2005 01:57 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by West Coast Tiger:
I was once introduced to a Vonnegut's book by an ex-boyfriend of mine. I never got around to reading it. (Tossed everything he gave me out the window one day after our break-up) Coincidentally, I have been interested in picking up one of his novels as of late. Problem is, he has so damn many!

Can any of you suggest a good title that I should buy? Many thanks in advance.


My fave is still "Breakfast of Champions." Still a great look at American society. It's probably his most approachable work for the uninitiated.

Slaughterhouse Five is a must. But I would also include more recent works like Timequake and Palm Sunday in there as well. Of the older material, I like Cat's Cradle (no damn cat, no damn cradle) and his earlier short stories rank right up there with the best of American literature.

My son's class in high school will be reading Slaughterhouse Five next semester. It's too bad with that Valerie Perrine nude scene that they can't see the movie in class.

PS - I do worry about Vonnegut's mental state. We need him to keep plugging away. He wrote a column not too long ago in The Progressive where he basically said he has given up on America. That saddened me, although I couldn't argue with his logic.

Here's an NPR Link about his latest book "A Man Without A Country."

More here: Older and Bleaker

[ 17 September 2005: Message edited by: Américain Égalitaire ]


From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Mudd
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posted 17 September 2005 02:18 PM      Profile for Mudd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Start with Breakfast of Champions, then move onto Slaughterhouse Five
From: On-Scary-Oh | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 17 September 2005 02:43 PM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Many thanks guys! Going over to Amazon right now.
From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
BleedingHeart
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posted 17 September 2005 07:48 PM      Profile for BleedingHeart   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sirens of Titan.
From: Kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 17 September 2005 11:09 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mother Night. That book is sort of a transition (in terms of Vonnegut's writing style) between Player Piano, a rather conventional 1950s dystopian satire, and Cat's Cradle, a decidedly unique 1960s dystopian satire.

When he wrote Player Piano, Vonnegut was still very much emulating the authors around him, science-fiction writers in particular. By the time of Cat's Cradle he had found his own very distinctive voice, which can be heard in all of his novels since then that I've read. Mother Night is intriguingly in-between: much more of a straightforward and realistic novel than his subsequent writing, but with a hint of what was to come.

Mother Night is about an American spy in Nazi Germany, who does such a good job of pretending to be a Nazi supporter that he starts to wonder whether who he's really helping. That's a bit of a gloss - I've kind of forgotten the plot, and I think I'll go back and reread it.

Hadn't known that Vonnegut has struggled with suicidal thoughts. I suppose it shouldn't surprise me, given his dark and often bleak subject matter. He's done a good job of sublimating those thoughts into art for a sustained period of time, rather than acting on them, as far too many authors have (Spalding Gray and Hunter S. Thompson come to mind as two recent examples).

I was reminded vividly of the central conceit of Slaughterhouse-Five, of a character becoming "unstuck in time" and bouncing around between various moments in his life, when my mother lost her short-term memory and had her long-term memory affected after a brain operation. It really was like every moment of her life was happening at once, with her thinking her parents were still alive and thinking that long-ago things had happened just recently. A liberal dose of Vonnegut-style black humour helped my family to get through that particular summer.

[ 18 September 2005: Message edited by: obscurantist ]


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 18 September 2005 02:49 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by West Coast Tiger:
I was once introduced to a Vonnegut's book by an ex-boyfriend of mine. I never got around to reading it.


In 1981 I gave an ex-girlfriend of mine my copy of
Mother Night to read. She never got around to reading it. I therefore recommend that unrequited book.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Tiger
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posted 18 September 2005 03:00 AM      Profile for West Coast Tiger     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:
In 1981 I gave an ex-girlfriend of mine my copy of Mother Night to read. She never got around to reading it. I therefore recommend that unrequited book.

I SWEAR it wasn't me! I was what... eight then?... so it couldn't be me. (note: hands raised in surrender. deer in headlights look)

Seriously though, thanks for all the suggestions! I think it's so much easier picking books to read from people who are like-minded.


From: I never was and never will be a Conservative | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged

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