I want to do this!

Read all of Kurt Vonnegut's novels

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  • aenea
    aenea Doing 1 cheers 2017-07-23 03:21:22

    So here's my options for my next Vonnegut book:

    Slapstick presents an apocalyptic vision as seen through the eyes of the current King of Manhattan (and last President of the United States), a wickedly irreverent look at the all-too-possible results of today’s follies. But even the end of life-as-we-know-it is transformed by Kurt Vonnegut’s pen into hilarious farce—a final slapstick that may be the Almighty’s joke on us all.

    Jailbird takes us into a fractured and comic, pure Vonnegut world of high crimes and misdemeanors in government—and in the heart. This wry tale follows bumbling bureaucrat Walter F. Starbuck from Harvard to the Nixon White House to the penitentiary as Watergate’s least known co-conspirator. But the humor turns dark when Vonnegut shines his spotlight on the cold hearts and calculated greed of the mighty, giving a razor-sharp edge to an unforgettable portrait of power and politics in our times.

    Bluebeard Broad humor and bitter irony collide in this fictional autobiography of Rabo Karabekian, who, at age seventy-one, wants to be left alone on his Long Island estate with the secret he has locked inside his potato barn. But then a voluptuous young widow badgers Rabo into telling his life story—and Vonnegut in turn tells us the plain, heart-hammering truth about man’s careless fancy to create or destroy what he loves.

    The first two sound like a summary of our times. I'm leaning towards Slapstick, if only for the distopian aspect.

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  • aenea
    aenea Doing 1 cheers 2017-07-23 03:12:36

    finished Hocus Pocus. Interesting but not my favorite. it's dedicated to Eugene Debs, which is what drew me to it. And in fact the main character is named after the historical figure as well. The commentary of the book does tie-in to Debs' philosophy to some degree, in typical depressingly Vonnegut fashion. He also makes mention of another book, one by Arthur C Clarke, who happens to have a namesake character in Hocus Pocus as well. Clarke's book, Childhood's End, interestingly appears to be a sort of antithesis or counterpoint to Hocus Pocus, chronicling the downfall of humanity via the spread of universal equality. Vonnegut was a humanist first and foremost, forever advocating kindness in all of his works. That he would write an existential meditation of a book like Hocus Pocus is no surprise. He's also a fan and producer of scifi writing, so I'm not surprised that he references Clarke either. But in doing so, he seems to be throwing up his hands somewhat, as if there ultimately is no solution to the problem of societal inequality, which is disheartening.

    I found this book to not be as cohesive as some of his others. In tone, it is similar to Deadeye Dick, which was written 8 years and 3 books prior to Hocus Pocus. I know enough not to turn to Vonnegut for light-hearted feel-good stories, but man, these last two have been rough. Galapagos fell between the two in publication and it was more comical than dreary, so I'm hoping that Bluebeard may follow suit.

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  • aenea
    aenea Doing 4 cheers 2017-06-07 00:53:41

    I think I will aim for two a year on this so I don't get Vonnegut fatigue.

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  • aenea
    aenea Doing 5 cheers 2017-02-12 21:03:35

    so here's what I have left to read: Hocus Pocus, Bluebeard, Jailbird, and Slapstick. I started Jailbird long ago but can't really remember a thing from it. Hocus Pocus has caught my eye though, so I think I'll restart this goal there.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9589.Hocus_Pocus

    Hocus Pocus
    From the author of Timequake, this "irresistible" novel (Cleveland Plain Dealer) tells the story of Eugene Debs Hartke-Vietnam veteran, j...
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    • sahlavit
      sahlavit 3 cheers 2017-02-23 06:56:04

      @postcard I have read some Kurt Vonnegut long long ago, can't even remember what exactly. Can you recommend any of your favorites? I will read it and we can discuss it later here 😉

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      • aenea
        aenea Doing 4 cheers 2017-05-10 19:44:02

        @sahlavit goodness i don't know how I missed your reply here. My apologies. 😞 my favorites by Vonnegut have been Mother Night, Cat's Cradle, Galapagos, Mr. Rosewater, and Slaughterhouse Five. But really, any of them. Sirens of Titan is quite challenging but interesting. Player Piano is also good and relevant to today's world, as is Timequake. A lot of people like Breakfast of Champions, but I thought it was just average for him. I just finished Deadeye Dick not too long ago and that was probably my least favorite, so perhaps not that one.

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        • sahlavit
          sahlavit 1 cheers 2017-05-12 10:16:12

          @aenea wow! That is a lot of homework and I love it !

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        • taylor
          taylor 2 cheers 2017-06-12 19:45:23

          @aenea I remember reading Breakfast of Champions around the age of 13 or 14 and thinking it was pretty great stuff, though I thought the ending was a bit of an anti-climax. I wonder how it would strike me today, 40 years later?
          There are some authors I read in school and college that I'd like to go back and rediscover, including Italo Calvino and Stanley Elkin.

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          • aenea
            aenea Doing 0 cheers 2017-06-13 18:28:53

            @taylor I've really enjoyed what Italian Calvino I have read - two books I think. I should really read more of him. Thanks for the reminder. &#xsmile;

            I'm not familiar with Stanley Elkin however. Will have to look him up.

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          • aenea
            aenea Doing 1 cheers 2017-06-13 18:38:26

            @taylor and now I remember why I did not read more Calvino. I got stuck on If On A Winter's Night A Traveler....

            Yes haha very funny writer.

            I did adore Cosmicomics though so perhaps I'll give him another go. I know I have Marcovaldo sitting around somewhere.

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            • taylor
              taylor 1 cheers 2017-06-13 19:06:32

              @aenea So glad you know Calvino! I think I read Cosmicomics or Italian Folktales first. Cosmicomics blew my mind, as did If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. What made you get stuck? I also have Mr. Palomar and Six Memos for the Next Millenium. One of my favorite stories is the Argentine Ant, which made my skin crawl!

              Stanley Elkin was a novelist from St. Louis. I read George Mills, which according to Wikipedia is "set in five parts, tells the family history of succeeding generations of characters named George Mills. The story covers more than 1,000 years from the First Crusade in Europe to the Ottoman Empire to present-day America. Elkin won the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award in the fiction category for the novel."

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              • aenea
                aenea Doing 0 cheers 2017-06-13 19:21:05

                @taylor george mills sounds fascinating - I'll have to add it to my reading list.

                The repetitive and unfinished chapters left me frustrated with if on a winters night. And I get that that's part of the point but I just did not have the patience to finish it. The second storyline was not appealing enough for me I guess.

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                • taylor
                  taylor 0 cheers 2017-06-14 21:52:46

                  @aenea I hope you'll like George Mills, who's somewhat of an everyman/commonman character. Throughout history, he's the guy who's mucking out the horse barn or doing some other lowly job.

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