I’m sorry to tell you all that Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. died yesterday. He was the first author I ever read that made me immediately go out to my favorite used bookstore and buy as many of his books as they had. I’ve read them all, with the exception of Slaughterhouse Five, which, ironically, is the only book of his that most people have read. His fiction is often crazy and random, but it always manages to be touching, human, and engrossing.
I don’t remember which book I read first, it may have been Cat’s Cradle, but it was loaned to me by my high school sweetheart, Adam, when I was in 11th grade. I had always been an avid reader, but that was when I was first stepping out of my comfort zone and began to take risks with what I was reading. He was the author that taught me that unconventional isn’t necessarily bad.
My favorite book of his is the often overlooked Mother Night, which is a haunting and tragic story about loneliness and redemption. And Nazis. If you’ve never read a Vonnegut book, read that one. It makes me cry.