This is a sad story. It’s about a very greedy girl – me. Once upon a time I was unemployed and, having applied for gazillions of jobs, I was waiting for one of them to call me for an interview. While waiting I decided it was time to read the much-lauded Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I checked it out from the library, took it home, read it, loved it so much that I instantly trotted back to the library for another Vonnegut book. Cat’s Cradle, this time. It was amazing. I had to have another, so it was back to the library for God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.
Unfortunately, the library had every novel ever published by Mr. Vonnegut and I…well, I was hooked. Back and forth from home to the library I walked, working my way through Player Piano, Mother Night, Breakfast of Champions, Galapagos, Deadeye Dick. I couldn’t stop. I had discovered my newest love and all I could do was stuff and gorge myself on the sheer deliciousness of Vonnegut’s imagination and stories and voice. I was so happy being a greedy little piggy!
But I said this was a sad story and it is. Around novel #10 I started to get a queasy feeling. I dismissed it as a mild tummy bug and kept reading. But halfway through the novel I had to put it down. It was literally making me sick. Having gorged myself so disgustingly on the rich dish that is Vonnegut, my poor body could take no more. I didn’t finish the novel and even now, twenty years later I still get nauseated in the presence of a nice-looking hardcover with Vonnegut’s name on it. I’ve never been able to read him again.
But I loved those books so much! I want to re-read some of them so badly! I hatched a plan. On my nightstand is a battered paperback copy Venus On The Halfshell by Kilgore Trout. Trout appeared as a minor character in several Vonnegut novels, but Vonnegut didn’t write this book. I believe Philip Jose Farmer did. Maybe, just maybe, if I can launch myself sideways into the Vonnegut’s literary world, I will be able to once again tackle the Vonnegut novels and short stories I’ve had to deny myself. Maybe it’ll work. Maybe. But I’m already feeling a little sick to my stomach.
And so it goes…
Take my advice. If you find a writer you absolutely adore, do yourself a favor and dig into that delicious backlist in small bites. Don’t do what I did. Don’t be a gluttonous fool.