Friday, January 19, 2007

A Man without a Country

Author: Kurt Vonnegut

First line: As a kid I was the youngest member of my family, and the youngest child in any family is always a jokemaker, because a joke is the only way he can enter into an adult conversation.

Why you should read this book: In his own inimitable, bitingly cynical way, Vonnegut philosophizes on the state of the planet and his own alienation from a place to which he is inextricably connected. There is humor in the book, but it is not a comedy, and the author reminds us repeatedly that the naivete of his youth is gone and his prognosis for the human race is utterly pessimistic. At the same time, he illustrates what it means to be human with examples of the best (and worst) ideas humanity has to offer and the simple, basic information that anyone can utilize to make the world a better place. Short and deep and honest.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You've never cared for Vonnegut, but you think George W. Bush is a hell of a guy. As with all of Vonnegut's work, this book should also be avoided if you're feeling despondent and suicidal.

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