Wednesday, April 11, 2007

R.I.P Kurt Vonnegut, Dead at 84

I can give no better testament than to say I think I have read every word Kurt Vonnegut ever published. His obituary from the NY Times can be found here.

I remember when my church youth group tried to organize a book burning. We all pitched in a few volumes. I was standing beside the fire when a girl named Wendy threw a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five  into the fire. I watched as is started to burn. I had already read it a few times by then. I hesitated  and then reached into the fire with a stick and fished it out. My friends and the youth pastor gave me grief, one friend even punched me - he never read anything. As Pink Floyd would say, it was another brick in the wall. I kept the book. I still have it today.

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4 comments:

Brian said...

Wow! An actual book burning? The closest our youth group ever got to that was smashing up all of our old rock and roll tapes and records in the church basement.

Kilgore Trout said...

I can think of no greater compliment than to have your book burned, then pulled out of the fire by someone who's actually read it.

My youth group went to Guatemala, we didn't destroy anything. Man I dislike religion and I went to a sane church, I can't imagine where I would be if I had gone to something like that.

I owe Vonnegut, I stole my pen name from him.
*

Mojoey said...

I remember this event very well. A well meaning associate pastor named Dennis organized the event. We were all supposed to bring a book to two two burn after a lecture on the evils of secularism. I was conflicted because I was poor. Burning something I had invested in was not something I wanted to do. Plus, I did not learn to read until late in life, so the act of reading and the ideas in a book were like windows into another world. I did not want to close the window. I opted to steal "fear of flying" from my moms bookshelf instead of one of my own precious books. I was chastised for even having "fear of flying". It was quite amusing - I could not say it was my moms or I would have been in deep trouble. So I took the abuse. My pastor even asked me if I was sexually active. It was so embarrassing.

When the book burning started, I was holding back tears. I just felt wrong. Unfortunately, it was one of many to come. That, along with this insane desire to break my records, helped drive me away from the church, but it took a few years before I broke all ties.

shammy said...

I had a youth group leader convince me that a book i had "Superlearning" was worthy of a book burning. It was the worst thing I have ever done. I went out and bought the book again a month later. The book was rubbish but I'm glad I made my own mind up. I'm currently reading the "God Delusion". Like Billy Connolly says "Never trust a person who only has one book".