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danielm

A Few Thoughts

A few thoughts now and again about whatever occurs to me while going through whatever books I end up reading

Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut I must have watched Footloose too many times growing up, because this book has always been my standard for the censor-happy days of Reagan America. I can't think of any other reason it should hold a place above better and more commonly banned books like Tropic of Cancer or The Catcher in the Rye. Either way, I've read this one a few times now (it's short) and enjoyed it differently each time.

In terms of interesting ideas explored and clever commentary on society, it's not as good as, say, Cat's Cradle and it never touched me emotionally the way that Bluebeard did (though I have no idea why). Still, I love it. In all it's rambling glory you find tucked between terrible sentences, little gems like:

"Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops."

or:

"Another time Billy heard Rosewater say to a psychiatrist, "I think you guys are going to have to come up with a lot of wonderful new lies, or people just aren't going to want to go on living."

or else:

"He was experimenting with being ardently sympathetic with everyone he met. He thought that might make the world a slightly more pleasant place to live in."

His description of the Tralfamadorian's approach to books alone makes it worth the journey.

I don't want to talk about the plot (however much it can be said to have "a plot"). Like most of the great reading experiences of my life, I just want to let it settle in and be whatever it is. Well done, Mr. Vonnegut. At least one sad sack still hanging around this planet misses you.