Kurt Vonnegut II, RIP

I don’t have many heroes. Kurt Vonnegut certainly was one of the few. He changed my life.

I can’t precisely tell you how he did so. In fact, I can’t say what changed. But I know that after reading Slaughterhouse-Five as a sophomore in high school, my world was never the same.

Then came Breakfast of Champions, then Sirens of Titan, Galapagos, Cat’s Cradle. Each of these books greatly affected me over the years. They keep this absurd world we inhabit in perspective. Looking back at these icons of American letters, I couldn’t help thinking “if this isn’t nice I don’t know what is.” Thanks, Kurt!

For an informative bio of this genius, check out the LA Times biography (PDF) via the Chicago Tribune. (Ed. Note: this excellent bio seems to be gone from the online archives of both papers, so I am preserving it here in PDF format. So it goes.)