Kurt Vonnegut and I

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.

What the hell. I’m gonna read it if I have to keep an emesis basin at my bedside.

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.

 

 

Diane Dooley is an inveterate bookworm living in upstate New York. She occasionally stops reading long enough to write a book herself. She blogs and tweets and facebooks.

 

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3 comments

  1. Oh no!! I do love Vonnegut. I hope you can get over this. It’s quite tragic. Tragic!!

    I recently re-read Sirens of Titan. It was an interesting perspective, reading it now, as an author. That man’s imagination was astounding. It would be a crying shame if you could never read him again, but you know what? Somehow I think this would amuse him.

  2. I read all of Vonnegut’s books in s short time. It was after Trout showed me Galapagos, which today is my favorite one. The strange feeling you are experiencing is a familiarity to the common Muse which works throughout Vonnegut life and caries over afterward to those that know whaT A Kigore is.

    Keep reading, or try “timequake” there ios a nice reading for audio book by Laureence Pressman.

  3. Hee hee! What a great, hilarious post. 🙂

    Glad that I’ve never suffered such a malady!

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