Finished Breakfast of Champions (the Vonnegut book, not a bowl of Wheaties)

I finished this book yesterday. (My fourth Vonnegut book to date) I must say that, despite its weirdness, I really enjoyed it. I particularly liked the fact that the author inserts himself into the book at a critical stage. This is not something one sees very often, although I do remember reading recently about a new(?) book where the main character somehow begins to realize he is only the creation of a writer and that his ‘world’ exists only in that person’s imagination. I seem to recall that he came to this realization when he heard/kept hearing a “scratching noise” during certain key events and the noise turns out to be the scribbling of the author’s pencil. Does this ring a bell with anybody? I’d sure like to know what book this is, as I am more interested in possibly reading it now.

Anyway, Breakfast of Champions is for the most part (one has to allow for all of KV’s digressions) about the collision course of two characters: the author Kilgore Trout and a used car salesman named Wayne Hoover. Hoover is somewhat mentally imbalanced to begin with but “goes off the deep end” after reading one of Kilgore’s stories that convinces him that he is the only creature on earth with free will and that all other people are merely “robots” made by “The Creator of the Universe” to test his behavior etc. As usual, Vonnegut uses this story frame as a vehicle for social commentary and for pointing out how flawed “civilization” really is. I found it very interesting. It’s a quick read too, like most of KV’s novels.

“Progress” Report

I finished my eighth “Civil War Book” of the year yesterday morning. I’ll post more about it later, but Killer Angels by Michael Shaara was quite good – blend of fiction and facts that tells the tale of the Battle of Gettysburg. My only concern is that, further down the road, I may have trouble distinguishing fact from fiction when remembering things about this battle (i.e. “did Lee really say that, or was that just a line from Killer Angels?, etc.).

I almost feel like I’ve spent the past few days in southeastern Pennsylvania, though, and some things from this book even invaded my dreams. I can’t say that I’m surprised it was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

What’s up next? Well, I’ve already read my book club’s August book (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) earlier this year and, though I’ll review it before my meeting, I won’t need to spend too much time on it. I’m on schedule for my P:CW reading, so I pretty much have the rest of August to “read whatever I want.” I may re-read Shakespeare’s The Tempest and participate in Allie’s read-along, as I think I have a few things I’d like to write about that play and my history with it. And, I feel like I may go on a kick of reading Kurt Vonnegut. I mentioned Slapstick in an earlier post, but I also bought Sirens of Titan yesterday, which I’ve always wanted to read, and I downloaded Breakfast of Champions to my nook last week. One good thing about Vonnegut’s books is that they’re generally shorter than most that I read, so why not knock out two or three of them by the end of the month?

What about you? Have you read any Vonnegut? Do you have any recommendations?

Well, sadly, my morning at the coffee shop is ending and I guess I’d better report to work on time. (damn rat race…) >