Dec 21 2008

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.