Thursday, May 28, 2009

Best Day's Reading

Billy Pilgrim was not Kurt Vonnegut.

Today at work I listened to Slaughterhouse Five. It's been a pretty long time since I read it last. Great to have a refresher. Here's what I wrote in my notes while I listened to it (some of these are quotes [indicated by quotation marks], some of them are thoughts, some are quotes without quotation marks.) As I'm just dropping these thoughts and quotes in without any context it's probably best that you take a minute to read the book before going on to the rest of this post.
  • "...and I married a pretty girl who was covered in babyfat too."
  • "Mary had prepared us an operating room."
  • "These children are awake while we are asleep."
  • "I say to Sam now, 'Here's your book.'"
  • "Gathering energy from all through her ruined body."
  • How much was $60,000 in 1967? That was Billy Pilgrim's net income that year.
  • "'I can be comfortable anywhere.' The next day he died. His last words were, 'You think this is bad? This ain't bad.'"
  • Does every dog in this book have a voice like a big brass gong?
  • If you see all of time like a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, then where do you stand?
  • "Only on Earth is there any talk of free will."
  • When did Valley of the Dolls come out?
  • "In case Billy died...he didn't."
  • Cinderella is the most popular story ever told?
  • "This isn't a man, it's a broken kite."
  • All of the old Kilgore trout paperbacks smelled like "flannel pajamas that hadn't been washed in a month."
  • RE: Valencia Marble "She was rich, she was as big as a house."
  • At least two people are mentioned as eating 3 Musketeers Bars.
  • "Before you kill someone, make sure they aren't well-connected." (the moral of the New Testament, according to Kilgore Trout)
  • I'd hate to see the shovels before I died.
  • "As sick as volcanoes."
  • "'There they go! There they go!' that was I, that was me, the author of the book."
  • "'Oz.' That was I, that was me."
  • Montana Wildhack
  • Pilgrim's hot bed "smelled like a mushroom cellar."
  • The Spirit of '76
  • "They expected no blessings beyond the mildness of the day."
  • "...and made themselves utterly beautiful."
  • "Every cell in his body shook him with ravenous applause."
  • Was this Campbell Nazi a real person?
  • Maggie White: "She was a dull person, but a sensational invitation to make babies."
  • "They were all being killed with their families."
  • "Dresden was one flame, the one flame ate everything..."
  • "Valencia adored Billy."
  • "I could carve a better man out of a banana."
  • "I knew it was going to be bad getting old, I didn't know it was going to be this bad."
  • Royalton Hotel on 44th street?
  • "It was a little after 8 o'clock, so all the shows were about silliness or murder."
  • Did they reuse crosses?
  • What if Jesus was 5'3"?
  • When did the Earth's population reach 7 billion?
  • "Roses and Mustard gas."
  • Vonnegut says he was the only person to benefit from the Dresden firebombings, that me made $5 for every person that died. 160,000 x $5.
  • Also re: Vonnegut and Dresden, "I got lucky, I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
Those last two notes I got from the excellent little conversation with Vonnegut that was at the end of my recording of the book. Excellent surprise that was.

Vonnegut was 47 when Slaughterhouse Five was published. He didn't really get serious about novel writing until his late 30s.

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