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Because at Tarkington College—where he teaches—the excrement is about to hit the air-conditioning. Honest and scarily funny, and it offers a rare insight into an author who has customarily hidden his heart.

A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Master storyteller and satirist Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most in-demand commencement speakers of his time.

Sucker's Portfolio by Kurt Vonnegut

As edited by Dan Wakefield, this book reads like a narrative in the unique voice that made Vonnegut a hero to readers of all ages. Published in , Canary in a Cathouse is a collection of twelve short stories. Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short stories from one of the most original writers in all of American fiction.

In this series of perfectly rendered vignettes, written just as he was starting to find his comic voice, Kurt Vonnegut paints a warm, wise, and funny portrait of life in post—World War II America—a world where squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers, and small-town lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity, and unprecedented affluence.

A family learns the downside of confiding their deepest secrets into a magical invention. A man finds himself in a Kafkaesque world of trouble after he runs afoul of the shady underworld boss who calls the shots in an upstate New York town. While these stories reflect the anxieties of the postwar era that Vonnegut was so adept at capturing— and provide insight into the development of his early style—collectively, they have a timeless quality that makes them just as relevant today as when they were written.


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Rosewater presents Eliot Rosewater, an itinerant, semi-crazed millionaire wandering the country in search of heritage and philanthropic outcome, introducing the science fiction writer Kilgore Trout to the world and Vonnegut to the collegiate audience which would soon make him a cult writer. Trout, modeled according to Vonnegut on the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon with whom Vonnegut had an occasional relationship is a desperate, impoverished but visionary hack writer who functions for Eliot Rosewater as both conscience and horrid example.

Rosewater, seeking to put his inheritance to some meaningful use his father was an entrepreneur , tries to do good within the context of almost illimitable cynicism and corruption. Rosewater or the corrupt lawyer who tries to shape the Rosewater fortune so much as outrage at the human condition.

What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth. The Sirens of Titan is an outrageous romp through space, time, and morality. The richest, most depraved man on Earth, Malachi Constant, is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side.

Whether he is describing his coming of age in America, his formative war experiences, or his life as an artist, this is Vonnegut doing what he does best: being himself. Bluebeard, the Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian — is a novel by best-selling author Kurt Vonnegut. It is told as a first person narrative and describes the late years of fictional Abstract Expressionist painter Rabo Karabekian, who first appeared, rather briefly, in Breakfast of Champions.

Circumstances of the novel bear rough resemblance to the fairy tale of Bluebeard popularized by Charles Perrault. Karabekian mentions this relationship once in the novel. Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr. View 1 comment. Jul 14, Adam Floridia rated it really liked it Shelves: vonnegut. Maybe it's because I haven't read a book in four months. Maybe it's because it's Vonnegut. Whatever it is, this is one of those rare times where I really enjoyed a short story collection. I'm now realizing that, annoyingly!

I only mention this because I guess I just assume they were all early works I mean, that makes sense since short stories represented KV's first foray into fiction 4.

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Sucker's Portfolio: A Collection of Previously Unpublished Writing

I only mention this because I guess I just assume they were all early works I mean, that makes sense since short stories represented KV's first foray into fiction and since literally anything he wrote post Slaughterhouse-Five would have been published. So assuming these are all precursors to Vonnegut's big works, it is just awesome to see nascent ideas that would come to beautifully dominate those big works. In one story, he has the beginning of the Tralfamadorian concept of Time, just without his staple aliens themselves maybe he hadn't come up with an anagram for "fatal dream" at the time.

In another, he predicts his final complete novel, Timequake a personal favorite! Finally, other stories have characters that are too stock, beginnings that are trying too hard for a "hook," and endings that are just "blah. The writing may at times be clunky and the BIG ideas are just taking shape, but you just know that it's the kindling that will serve for a brilliant, blazing, beautiful conflagration.

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Aug 23, David rated it liked it Shelves: read-fiction. People say you can't learn anything from social media, but I have learned from Goodreads about normal behavior, which otherwise exists in my life mostly as a rumor. Specifically, I have learned that many people read more than one book at a time, apparently remembering each of them individually. This strikes me as an intellectual feat on a par with Mr. I pos People say you can't learn anything from social media, but I have learned from Goodreads about normal behavior, which otherwise exists in my life mostly as a rumor.

I possess barely enough gray matter remaining in the old coconut to retain the ongoing action in a single book. This is possibly a result of repeated exposures to the delightful chemical concoctions of the Jameson family of County Cork, or maybe it's just the run-of-the-mill ravages of time.

Whatever the reason, I rarely assay a new book unless finished with the old one. However, it is my strange and not-unpleasant fate in life to be periodically served up with blocks of time of happy isolation in remote lands, freed from both the seemingly unbreakable din of popular culture e. In these happy moments, I am able to seize upon one of the many great doorstops of Western literature and plow through it, secure in the knowledge that, if any of the oxen I see daily get obstreperous, I possess the means to render the beast non compos mentis.

I actually am going to get to the point — someday on hand, waiting patiently on the tiny e-gadget of choice in your pocket to be produced in hotel bars and airport waiting-areas to spare you the horrifying possibility of conversation with others. The contents of the stories are by far from the author's best, which is probably the reason none of them saw the light of day until the literary executors determined it was time to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip. I don't mind reading minor works by well-known writers for many reasons, among them: it's reassuring knowing that even the well-regarded had off days, it's interesting to compare the best work by a writer with less-than-best what works?

Also, the lightweight nature of the book and its contents allow you to quickly return and incoming mixed metaphor plow the needed furrows in whatever literary doorstop has currently caught your fancy. I enjoy reading the opinions of others here at Goodreads. Just as I sometimes do in many areas of endeavor in real life, I find the judgment of other readers inexplicable.

In my opinion, this essay is the sort of prolonged old-codger get-off-of-my-lawn cane-on-the-floor-banging that well-regarded writers tend to indulge in when they are well after their prime and the world continues to spin off on its disastrous course with supreme indifference to the distinguished career of the writer.

It's actually an embarrassment to read even if especially if you agree with the opinions expressed therein about Christopher Columbus, the sad fate of indigenous peoples, the pernicious effect of television, and other topics. It's a shame that there isn't any more information in the book or as far as I can tell online about when the fiction might have been written — the reader is left to guess by piecing together clues from the make of cars and type of telephones, for example, the characters are using. It's my guess that most of the stories including the unfinished fragment at the end came from the pen of a much younger writer.

They are more cheerful, vigorous, and straightforward than the cranky essay. If, like me, you are a practicing cheapstake, it is worth the effort. Mar 20, Preeti rated it really liked it Shelves: stories. I haven't read much Kurt Vonnegut yet, though I'm trying to rectify that. So far, I've just read Slaughterhouse-Five, though I have a bunch more of his books on the endless to-read list. This particular book was free to borrow on the Kindle, and who doesn't love free! This was an interesting collection of stories.

I liked most of them and thought one or two were duds, but overall they didn't blow me away. However, the final non-fiction essay - that blew me away. It was ab I haven't read much Kurt Vonnegut yet, though I'm trying to rectify that. It was absolutely brilliant and made me want to read more of his rants. Do these exist? I found myself nodding and highlighting passage after passage.

I think the book is worth it for this essay alone.

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I would have rated this 3 stars, but bumped up to 4 just for this essay. Completely forgot to mention the unfinished scifi story at the end - there was definitely some great build-up and I wish we had gotten to read the entire thing! Bunch of my favorite highlights all from the non-fiction essay : We like to pretend that so many important discoveries have been made on a certain day, unexpectedly, by one person rather than by a system seeking such knowledge, I think, because we hope that life is like a lottery, where simply anyone can come up with a winning ticket.

Who knows? Tomorrow morning, some absolute nobody, maybe you or I, might fall into an open manhole, and return to street level with a concussion and a cancer cure. But TV is making the weapons disappear by having us look elsewhere. My first taste of Vonnegut. I am feeling Luke-warm about this. I didn't have strong opinions really.

Sort of good. Sort of meh. Wouldn't avoid books by Vonnegut in the future - but I also would not seek them out. Just kind of meh. Jun 06, Lauren rated it it was amazing.