Some fresh writing news on a couple of different fronts.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Dead at 84
The iconoclastic writer is gone, but not before, like Johnny Hart and Charles Schultz, pushing and continuing to work long after he had lost the edge that gave him a career. If I ever ger my writing career back, remind me to quit before I get old and tired.
If I seem less than reverent here, it’s because I’m not one of Vonnegut’s adoring fans. True, I liked (and still like) Slaughterhouse Five, but as I did with John Irving, I came to see Vonnegut as one-trick writer, and his recycled props quickly grew old for me (“So It Goes”, “Hi ho”, et al).
I can’t really cite him as a writing influence. I went through my Vonnegut period in high school as opposed to college. While I was fascinated by the way he interlinked characters between his novels, Robert A. Heinlein took that road before he did, and ultimately, recurring players like Kilgore Trout became props, too.
(Sadly, Vonnegut couldn’t even keep his word to one of his own characters. In Breakfast of Champions he set Kilgore Trout free, promising never to use him in a book again. But he dragged Trout back into the Vonnegutverse, although which novel it was eludes me – it was one of his forgettable latter-day books.)
He was a one-of-a-kind writer in his day, and was a voice and an influence on many. He just wasn’t my voice. And the reportage here is strictly business.
What’s the Best Selling Book of All Time?
The Bible, of course.
But what’s the best selling novel of all time?
Here’s a hint: It’s related to the best selling book of all time. Sort of.
Another hint: I haven’t read it yet. My wife and daughter recently did, and they both had the same reaction – “It’s competently written, it tells an interesting story, but what’s with the huge fuss?”
Get it yet?
Listening: Petula Clark, “I Know A Place” (The Greatest Hits of Petula Clark)