I wonder how he would feel about Kindle versions of his books? Would the sci-fi side of him embrace them?
It’s great that in his book Palm Sunday, Vonnegut “graded” his own writing saying that the grades “do not place me in literary history” and that he is comparing “myself with myself.”
The grades are:
Player Piano: B
The Sirens of Titan: A
Mother Night: A-plus
Cat’s Cradle: A-plus
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater: A
Welcome to the Monkey House: B-minus
Happy Birthday, Wanda June: D
Breakfast of Champions: C
Palm Sunday: C
His ungraded titles include Armageddon in Retrospect, Timequake, Bluebeard: A Novel, Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction, A Man Without a Country, Fates Worse Than Death, Galapagos: A Novel, Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons, Deadeye Dick: A Novel,
There are a number of quotes sites that have Vonnegut quotes – and he’s very quotable – but here are a few of my favorites.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. (Mother Night)
And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries. (A Man Without a Country)
I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.
If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:
THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder ‘why, why, why?’
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.
from Cat’s Cradle
We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.
Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college. (A Man Without a Country)
Dear future generations:
Please accept our apologies.
We were rolling drunk on petroleum.
And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.
Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were big things.
Dance Like No One is Watching.
Love Like You Have Never Been Hurt Before.
Go to Work Like You Don’t Need The Money.
If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way to make life more bearable. (A Man Without a Country)
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.
Welcome to Earth.
It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
It’s round and wet and crowded.
On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here.
There’s only one rule that I know of, babies – God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.
How nice–to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.
Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.
Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.
And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before: Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.
I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all. The Sirens of Titan
Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Where do I get my ideas from? You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of a sudden this stuff came gushing out of him. It was music. I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization.
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.
I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, ‘The Beatles did.
A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.
Make love when you can. It’s good for you. – Mother Night
If you can do no good, at least do no harm. - Slapstick