2 1/2 stars.
Kurt Vonnegut is undoubtedly a good writer. The trouble is, that I enjoyed the introduction where he was describing his own experiences much more than the bulk of the book where he told us Billy Pilgrim's story. Kurt himself is a more interesting person than Billy. Or maybe I just didn't like the fact that we had to decide whether Billy was crazy or really was kidnapped by Tralfamadorians. Typically, in a book where we're left to decide if something is imagined or real I will imagine that it's real, but I just couldn't this time. The Tralfamadorians are too bizarre and their concept of time is too unbelievable. I didn't like the descriptions of Billy's time on Tralfamadore, or the fact that in an earlier part of the book we were told that 'Billy was cheating on his wife for the first and only time,' but if Tralfamadore was real, than he cheated on his wife multiple times with the movie star who the Tralfamadorians had also kidnapped. Kilgore Trout's ideas about re-writing the Gospels say to me that he (so possibly Vonnegut) didn't truly understand who Jesus is and what he did. Though the rewrite came with the question "why are so many Christians so Cruel?" so I suppose that it may be that it isn't intended to be taken seriously, but simply ask the question, "if this was the way the Gospels were written, would less Christians commit evil acts?" I doubt it. If a Christian is willing to commit atrocities with the Bible the way it is, why the heck would the care if Jesus hadn't been the Son of God until after His death?
There was too much sex in this book for my liking. The members of the Beaumont township in Footloose may have been wrong for judging this book only from of its' name, but they likely would have decided to burn it even if they had read it.
Oddly enough, I had never heard of the bombing of Dresden. I knew that Berlin and some other German cities had been bombed toward the end of the war, and I focused on WWII in my final year of high school, but if the bombing of Dresden was mentioned in any of the books I read or any of the documentaries I watched, they must have skimmed over the horror of it, or made the claim that it had to happen. I don't know if there were places in Dresden that were helping the German war effort. I don't know if there were places whose destruction helped the Allies, but I believe that the firebombing of Dresden without consideration for the refugees and other innocent civilians, or even the slightest attempt to avoid residential areas was wrong.
I was surprised that Billy Pilgrim was based of a real person, Edward Crone, who the author named in his interview at the end of the audiobook version I listened to. Even though the man gave up, didn't eat and died, his family was likely still alive and even though the majority of Billy's actions were not dishonorable, his bizarre belief that he had been kidnapped by aliens might bother the family of the very real Edward Crone.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. The writing was excellent, but there was a great deal of profanity, and I couldn't quite follow the story of Billy Pilgrim, who I had difficulty caring about as his narration jumped all over the place. I've seen Christian criticism of the book for the profanity and for the rewritten fake Gospel, but I hadn't seen that at the time I picked it up. I really don't know how I feel about this book.
What a good title. An alternative list. That's my kind of list.
I've read some of the books on the list, so I would list them out.
3. Beloved by Toni Morrison
Read it long ago. And it is a literature kind of book. Good read but painful. As the characters in the story were going through so much internal emotional pain. So not an easy read.
4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
At first, I dislike it so much. How do the future world fall into the hands of religious fanatics so much that women were used for sex and breeding. But then, I found out that it is a warning for people to not let religious fanatics run the world according to religious rule. Look at ISIS and you know that this kind of came to reality. Good people tolerate religious craziness without challenging them out of politeness. But then when this religious ideas went unchallenged for so long to reach the point of harm, it is too late.
6. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
A haunting book about poor in India. The cultural contexts imagined is so strange, and so based on mystery that you could not look away.
7. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Great book that make you think and rethink about human, individual. It is like watching a man go naked and revealing himself, with all his vulnerability. In the end, you kind of comprehend, and get to know the character. Good book. Highly recommended.
8.Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Another good book. Short and thoughtful. If you like the TV series M.A.S.H., you would probably love this one.
9. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
One great book about a world where good and defeat evil. Where nature being destroyed by industry could fight back. It is a good story and the language of the book is great. Unforgettable characters, complex story, good read.
10. I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
So happy this make the list. I have this book and I like it. It is a story about the devil. The devil is not the cardboard character that many books describe, but the devil has a mind and his psychology and philosophy.
11. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
I love Harry Potter. Good story about a boy who lost his parents could grow up to become a a good person, a sorcerer, a great friend.
Book about magic, adventure and friendship. What's not to love?
12. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein
This is on my to-read pile. I got it already somewhere but now it make it to the list. I think I would move this one up.