I recently picked up two books by/about Vonnegut that I did not own, ‘While Mortals Sleep’ & ‘The Last Interview and Other Conversations.’ The first is a compilation of previously unpublished short stories and the second is compiled of various interviews with Vonnegut over the years as well as his final interview. If you love anything concerning this great man, then I recommend both. I fell in love with Vonnegut my junior year in high school (17 years ago…eek!) when Slaughterhouse Five was required reading. Before that point, I did not have much interest in reading but that book changed everything. From then on I vowed to read anything I could get my hands on by Vonnegut. The top shelf of my bookshelf at home is dedicated to him. I also vowed that I would meet him one day. Sadly, I never had the chance. We were living in London when he passed away. I remember I was just about to go to my going away lunch with my office mates since my work visa was up and checked yahoo news right before we left. I was crushed but did not have time to mourn at that moment. I made up for it later after I got home from the pub. I called Ben sobbing since he was in Scotland at the time. It can be hard to handle when one of your heroes is gone. And so it goes.
I really like one of the quotes by John Leonard of The Nation on the back cover of ‘The Last Interview’…
“Like Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, even when he’s funny, he’s depressed…The way he goes about his business has helped most of us to go on living, if only to find out what happens next.”
Vonnegut had such a way of looking at the world that could teach another way to see to those with minds open wide, and people can still learn from his writing if they have the ability to take a moment out of their gadget ridden lives to acquaint themselves with this man. Put down the internet/phone/doohickey and read a book!
Here’s to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922 – 2007), a great author and humanist!