Kurt Vonnegut

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#1
I sometimes see this name passing by and as I don't know anything about him I'd like to get some advice on what books to begin with. What kind of books he wrote and which ones are his best.

Thanks in advance.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
#2
Vonnegut. Wow. Kind of hard to categorize his books. Not exactly sci-fi, not exactly not sci-fi.

I think the most notable feature in his books was a sort of a black humor. Every book I read by him had it to some extent, but I wouldn't say that his books are particularly meant to be funny (like Pratchett or Douglas Adams) but more sarcastic. In some of his books I felt that the most important thing for him was the message, rather than the plot itself. Most of them were not a straightforward read in terms of story, and the plot sometimes can be a bit surreal. On the other hand, his characters were often hilarious and quirky, and were really fun to read about.

I read a total of 5 of his books - Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse Five, The Sirens of Titan, Cat's Cradle, and Welcome to the Monkey House. Out of them, I struggled a little bit with what was supposed to be his most "important" works - Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle - both felt a little bit like a masterpiece which you're not supposed to enjoy, but rather appreciate. Not sure if it's making sense - think of it as someone who has absolutely no knowledge in art and the first thing he sees in a museum is a Picasso painting. He may like it or he may not, but most likely he won't understand what the painting is of.

So, based on my own personal taste and experience, I'd recommend starting with his more coherent books - either The Sirens of Titan (which I loved) or with Welcome to the Monkey House, which is a collection of slightly absurd but very well done short stories, and most of them were very enjoyable. After you'll read one of those, you'll get a better understanding of his style and be able to figure out for yourself if you'll like to continue with any of his more out there works, or not.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#5
The only Vonnegut book I've read was Cat's Cradle. I thought it was very funny and easy to read. I read it for a class so I definitely get what its about although some of the humor still went over my head.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#6
Good stuff! They're constantly running Vonnegut books @1.99 on Amazon Kindle and I've been hedging forever. I figured The Sirens Of Titan would work for me, if any, and after reading this thread a couple days ago I decided to take the plunge. I saw Galapagos and as Charles Darwin fascinates me I picked that one up instead. :)
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#7
Vonnegut. Wow. Kind of hard to categorize his books. Not exactly sci-fi, not exactly not sci-fi.

I think the most notable feature in his books was a sort of a black humor. Every book I read by him had it to some extent, but I wouldn't say that his books are particularly meant to be funny (like Pratchett or Douglas Adams) but more sarcastic. In some of his books I felt that the most important thing for him was the message, rather than the plot itself. Most of them were not a straightforward read in terms of story, and the plot sometimes can be a bit surreal. On the other hand, his characters were often hilarious and quirky, and were really fun to read about.

of
Great review on Vonnegut. I finished Galapagos and your review says it all as far as the sarcasm and black humor, which I appreciated. Also, as you said the message seems more important then the plot without a doubt.

A very easy and enjoyable read. It never made me laugh out loud but made me snicker often. My TBR is bursting at the seams but I may add the Sirens of Titan sometime. Anyone who has not read one of his books, I recommend you pick one up. They're often going on sale for a $1.99 on Kindle deals.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#8
I read the same ones Ofer mentioned, and maybe a couple more. Sarcastic and cynical like I used to be before I got old and mellow.

And so on.
 

Sir Arthur

Journeyed there and back again
#9
Most of his books are free to read with Kindle unlimited .

I've only read Sirens of Titan. Fantastic read. Light, quick and easy to read. It would be a great " palate cleanser ". The ending was great.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#10
:smug:
I read the same ones Ofer mentioned, and maybe a couple more. Sarcastic and cynical like I used to be before I got old and mellow.

And so on.
Happily for his fans he retained his wry sense of humor right up to death. :) I never got the impression that he was bitter or cynical.

I didn't find him LMAO funny or even close to LOL funny but "put a grin on my face" witty. I never connected with Douglas Adams in the least but found Christopher Moore's Serpent Of Venice quite hilarious. So much so that I frequently had to put the Kindle down to wipe away the tears. I think they used similar types of humor but Adams' seemed forced to me (although I'm admittedly in the minority here). Go figure.
 

gsmonks

Stood on the wall with Druss
#11
As someone who has all of Funny Guts' books, I recommend reading Breakfast of Champions first, followed by Palm Sunday. Both contain revealing passages about his point of view and his life, which is an important part of understanding his work. Next, I'd recommend Deadeye Dick. The rest can be read in any order.
 

Placida

Owns a Ring of Power
#12
I read all of the books mentioned except for Palm Sunday, Galapagos, and Deadeye Dick. I have read "Mother Night," and "Player Piano" and I think "God Bless You Mr. Rosewater." However, this was all over 20 years ago so I need to brush up and read some of his more recent works. I recently picked up "Hocus Pocus" (published 1990) at a garage sale and will be reading it soon. I think the descriptions of his work are accurate. He was a satirist and a lot of his jabs are fixed in the timeframe he was writing in but much of it is timeless.