Thursday, April 12, 2007

A sad day around these parts

I was very sad to discover this morning that Kurt Vonnegut, who was probably my favorite author, died at the age of 84. While 84 may sound old, and it is, he never seemed that old. Even his last book, "A Man Without a Country," seemed like the writings of a younger man, albeit one who had been deeply hurt.

As he says in his last book, he lost his sense of humor. It makes me sad to think that he died without his defining characteristic, his keen wit.

I'm not really sure what I would consider my favorite Vonnegut book, but I think I could narrow it down to a few:

"Slaughter House Five" is the ultimate classic and the first many of us read. I do love this book but freely admit that I have to re-read it as it is fairly involved and I can't recall it well enough to consider it my favorite.

The funniest is almost certainly "Hocus Pocus". This book isn't mentioned all that often, but it's incredibly funny. Check it out.

Probably my favorite is "Cat's Cradle." I thought this was a brilliant anti-nuke book and is still relevant today, even after the end of the Cold War. Besides being scary and all that, it's also really, really well written.

The best all-around book might be "Breakfast of Champions" as it gets high marks for just being weird and funny and good. Not my favorite, but up there. No, wait, the best all around is "Timequake." That book was awesome. I forget why, but I remember loving it.

And finally, the one I didn't like: "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater". I didn't like the message, I didn't like the characters, and it went against everything I believe. Lots of people love this book, I didn't.

If you've never read a Vonnegut book, you're definitely missing out. Go. Read and prosper.

So long, Mr. Vonnegut, you'll be missed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There comes a time when you quit (well not entirely) reading MAD magazine and move on to 'grown up' books. As a freshman at IU I picked up Sirens of Titan (thinking it was just some scieince fiction) and was hooked on vonnegut along with much of my generation (well...not the republicans). So, sad that he's gone and that means so is that part of my life. But now I'm on to the next part of my life so not so sad!