Sunday, August 03, 2008

Kurt Vonnegut at his best

For the nonfiction five challenge, I read Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s Armageddon in Retrospect. I've never met a Vonnegut book I didn't like. Slaughterhouse-Five is one of the best, if not the best, books ever written. Armageddon in Retrospect is a series of short stories, most fiction, but some nonfiction that included a speech Vonnegut was going to give before his death last year. The thread connecting all of the stories was war. If you know much about Kurt Vonnegut, you know he served in WWII and was a POW in Dresden during the U.S. and British bombing campaign that essentially leveled the city. The war was clearly a defining experience of his life. This was a wonderful book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. 2007 was a tough year. The world lost two great men, my father, and Mr. Vonnegut. I will leave you with one of Vonnegut's humdingers that he put in between chapters of the book:
"Where do I get my ideas from?
You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of the sudden this stuff came gushing out of him. It was music.
I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization."

I believe it's time to read Cat's Cradle again.


Debi said...

Not to be a smartass or anything, but do you really think using a book you stated as being mostly fiction should really count for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge? ;)

Rich said...

Sorry. You are being interpreted as a smartass, my love. But a smartass with a lesson to teach me, too.