January 30, 2011 |
While Mortals Sleep Unpublished Short Fiction Kurt Vonnegut, foreword by Dave Eggers Delacorte: 272 pp., $27 It was in the 1950s that Kurt Vonnegut, then in his early 30s, quit his job as a publicity man for the research department of General Electric and committed himself to a freelance career. He soon published a first novel, 'Player Piano' (unsuccessful), and began cranking out short stories, scores of them, for the 'slicks' ? family magazines such as Collier's, Saturday Evening Post and Cosmopolitan, markets that had helped support the careers of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Irwin Shaw, among others, and still, at that time, paid handsomely for fiction.
September 9, 2010 |
The rental house on Cape Cod where I've spent part of nearly every August since I was 9 years old has an amazing library. It's one of the appeals of the place: the opportunity to dig around in all those books, familiar and unfamiliar at once. They're not my books — and yet, after all this time, I know them so intimately that it almost feels as if they were. I discovered Georges Simenon in this house, one rainy afternoon when I was in my teens, and also P. G. Wodehouse, read Steinbeck's "Burning Bright" and "The Moon Is Down," worked my way through Bellow and Dickens and the collected writings of JFK. Many of these authors I've come to gather on my own shelves, but there is something about the randomness, the serendipity, of what a friend calls the guest house library, a way of simultaneously getting outside of and coming closer to oneself.
October 18, 2009 |
"The only way I can regain credit for my early work is to die," Kurt Vonnegut once said, sounding more amused than worried about it. Ever the realist, ever the stoic, ever the cynic, Vonnegut got how the lit game works. Reputations soar, tumble into the trash and rise mysteriously again. The good news is that quality tells in the end; and so here we are, 2 1/2 years after Vonnegut's death, celebrating new books and handsome reprints by a man who, by the time he passed on, had been a part of the liberal furniture for so long ("counter-culture icon," proclaimed the New York Times obituary)
August 14, 2009 |
Actress Parker Posey and authors Gay Talese and Naomi Wolf will be among those participating in a new line of audiobooks dedicated to famous 20th century books. Audible Inc. says the Audible Modern Vanguard will feature unabridged texts from Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut and other celebrated authors. Audible Inc. is a leading audiobook provider that Amazon.com purchased in 2008.
April 6, 2008 |
It's impossible to read Kurt Vonnegut's "Armageddon in Retrospect" without mixed emotions. On the one hand, there's the unexpected pleasure of encountering Vonnegut anew, a year after his death last April at age 84. On the other, the book can't help but remind us that he is no longer available in any living way.
March 16, 2008 |
For the doodling classes, nothing fills a day like a sex scandal. To misquote Kurt Vonnegut, God bless you, Eliot Spitzer! Stories about "Client 9" and his high-priced help (the ladies, not the lawyers) were a Page One staple, and cartoonists couldn't resist. Signe Wilkinson sympathized with the shamed, stoic spouse. Dan Wasserman let his ethical fantasies run wild. But Mike Lester's punch-line-drawing provided the keenest perspective.