In the Loop

What did Vonnegut do for you?

Posted at 10:20 AM on April 12, 2007 by Sanden Totten (4 Comments)

Kurt Vonnegut JR. died today at age 84.

(Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
It's funny how a man who wrote about Tralfamadorians, Mercurian Harmoniums and chrono-synclastic infundibula could make so much sense. But as absurd as he was, reading Kurt Vonnegut's books always defogged my brain. This was a guy who knew how to break it down:

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

He mixed up the real and the fantastical so well that by the end of a book you'd pick up a newspaper and just laugh. Sometimes that's the best we can do.

God Bless You, Mr Vonnegut.

Any wisdom you from this old writer that you still carry around in your head?

Comments (4)

kurt vonnegut jr is no more to tell us how badly we did as humans.

Posted by kankan roy | April 12, 2007 12:43 PM

Add him to my list of authors I should have read, but haven't. Authors' deaths are a good way to motivate people to finally get around to checking out their work. Help me out:

*What's so great about the guy?

*And what book should I start with?

Posted by Jeff Horwich | April 12, 2007 1:29 PM

Kurt Vonnegut was a brilliant man. He introduced me to good literature in the modern era, while being surrounded by ancient dead authors. I saw him speak when I was 14 and had just finished Cat's Cradle for the first time. He was amazing! He told a room full of note-taking college students to think for themselves and have fun doing it...and to stop taking notes, because he wasn't going to say anything interesting.

Start with Cat's Cradle. It's his finest and most profound work. Continue with God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Player Piano, and Breakfast of Champions. Round it out with the one I read first. Slaughterhouse Five. His most heartfelt work.

Thank you, Kurt!

Posted by Joelle Andreas | April 12, 2007 8:32 PM

Kurt Vonnegut probably would have been horrified with how upset I am today about his death. But I can't help it. I've been on the verge of tears all day. Maybe because he made it this far, I started to think he'd never leave us.

The list above is a good one. After you get through Slaughterhouse Five, read some other books and then come back and pick up Bluebeard. They compliment eachother, but they probably shouldn't be read one right after another. Or, if you're just looking for a little taste to start out with, try Welcome to the Monkey House, which is short stories.

Posted by Kelsey | April 12, 2007 11:07 PM

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