Books: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Today’s book was an easy one.  When Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007, I decided to read all of his books.  A quick trip to Amazon resulted in the purchase of 14 novels.  I’ve read about half of them and am gradually tossing in the balance between more "challenging" books.

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater wasn’t Vonnegut’s best (although he rated it a A in his review of all of his books in Palm Sunday), but it was solid.  He wrote it in 1965, sandwiched between Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five – easily his two best books (at least that I’ve read so far.)  So, the dude was on a roll around the year I was born (and in the 1960’s in general).

As I work my way through Vonnegut, my inner cynic is rewarded with gems from 40 years ago.  For example:

Kilgore Trout (near the end of the book): "The problem is this: How to love people who have no use?  In time, almost all men and women will become worthless as producers of goods, food, services, and more machines, as sources of practical ideas in the areas of economics, engineering, and probably medicine, too.  So – if we can’t find reasons and methods for treasuring human beings because they are human beings, then we might as well, as has so often been suggested, rub them out."

Don’t try to understand it – it won’t really make any sense without the context of the rest of the book.  But – if you want a good jolt, read the book.  One thing is for certain: Vonnegut knows how to string words together in a magical way.

  • Thanks for the book review, I look forward to reading it.

  • Parkite

    Are you reading all these books on your Kindle? Wondering if that is still your preferred medium.

    • I’m doing real books when I’m at home because I have an infinite pile of them that I’ve bought that I haven’t read. When I’m on the road, I’m 100% Kindle at this point. I’m indifferent between the two modes.

  • John Ball

    As one of those "older citizens" constantly reminded by my children, our clients, and the companies in which we invest, that my relevance and understanding is "moderating," I fully appreciate Mr. Vonnegut's insights.

  • Daniel

    I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Kurt Vonnegut in person at Emory University in the late 80's. While his writing is outstanding, thought provoking and sometimes disturbing, his uniqueness as a person and the character he had become by then (or maybe he had always been like that) was equally thought provoking and sometimes disturbing… It's was truly a gift to get to meet him and listen to his stories in person.

    On a separate note about another unique writer, if you ever have the chance to see David Sedaris in person, go buy tickets immediately! Great wit, great timing and great delivery. He's hilarious!

  • Bill Mosby

    I read Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five in the late 60s and still remember how much fun they were to read.

  • Thanks for the reminder to read more Vonnegut! Since I hadn't read anything of his when he died, I made the same decision to read as much Vonnegut as possible. i quickly read Slaughterhouse Five last year and loved it, but then got distracted and forgot all about my mission. What do you think – Cat's Cradle or God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater next?

    • Definitely Cat’s Cradle.

  • Sold. 🙂

  • Sold. 🙂

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