105 Ways to Give a Book

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut has died at the age of 84. The Washington Post article is here. Wikipedia entry about Mr. Vonnegut here.

I have long been a Kurt Vonnegut fan, having read most of his books in my pre-kid twenties. His books are interesting, stimulating, and often amusing. Before I turned over a working third of my brain to playdatestantrumsnightmaresdaycare... breathe ...carpoolsballetclassGirlScoutsattentionissuesdramacamp, Vonnegut challenged my developing intellect. His books are monumental in the course of American Literature and significant in my own reading life.

As it turns out, he thought a lot of me as well. Actually not me specifically, but my kind, my people. This quote won’t be new to many of you. I have a copy of it on the wall in front of my desk where I can see it every day that I work.
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.

— From “I Love You Madame Librarian” or Man Without a Country
I missed the chance to name him as the author with whom I would share a glass of wine. Darn it. But truly it isn’t me, the person today, who would have imbibed freely with this genius. It was the younger me who in naiveté would have been ironically less awed and more confident. Or the older me, world-wise, who could have also been less awed and more confident. Today’s me will drink a glass of wine tonight, and think about courage in writing against the grain, courage in standing up for what you believe, and courage in living a cogitative life. God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut.


Anonymous said...

That was a lovely tribute. I read quite a lot of Vonnegut in my twenties, too, and I'm with you on the wine-sharing. :)

Elaine Magliaro said...


Vonnegut was one of the GREATS! I wish I had thought about him, too, as an author to tip a glass of wine with. The last time I heard Vonnegut speak was on the Daily Show.

Thanks for this tribute to one of America's finest authors.

Magpie said...

Beautiful. And thanks for putting up the librarian quote - really nice.

Anonymous said...

Oh how perfect. Thank you. What a great post.

AMY T said...

I gave a paperback copy of Breakfast of Champoins to a seventeen-year old boy I met one summer when I was 23. He was smart, but hated school, and was trying to figure out how to be human, living in a country with such wicked war machines and mind-numbing consumerism. Thanks for the great tribute to a great author.

Emy said...

So it goes.

Vivian Mahoney said...

This is such a nice tribute to a wonderful author. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tribute. Well done, you.

Kelly said...

Beautiful, MR. I'll join you in a toast as well.

Anonymous said...


lifelongreader said...

Cheers, Kurt and Mother Reader

*raises glass of Cote du Roussillon to both of you*

Re book burning, have you all checked out the banned book challenge here?


(Sorry I've not figured out how to hyperlink yet in the blogger comment boxes).