Kurt Vonnegut

For Love of an Author: The Value of Being a Completist

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I finished reading Jane Austen’s major works (and unfinished novels) in ninth grade, with Mansfield Park, and thereby officially became a completist, although I later read more of her juvenilia and claimed that title more firmly. Being a completist, or a near-completist, was nothing new to me then, coming towards the end of the era of full-on immersive early-teen reading.
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25 Photos of Famous Authors in Uniform

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What is it about a uniform? They can be practical, decorative, honorific, or just something you found lying around — but they always make the wearer look a little bit better. Especially if that wearer is a famous writer, someone whom you think of only in a T-shirt and sweatpants, banging away at the typewriter in the near-dark.
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John Malkovich Reads Vonnegut’s ‘Breakfast of Champions’

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Audible has released a John Malkovich-narrated audio book of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. In the meta-fiction novel, Vonnegut’s reoccurring sci-fi writer character Kilgore Trout meets with car salesman Dwayne Hoover, who believes Trout’s work to be non-fiction. The work alleges that its reader is the only human with free will (i.e. not a robot), and Hoover — who’s going mad — takes the message to heart, allowing his newfound solipsism to fuel his violent impulses.
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50 Great Genre-Bending Books Everyone Should Read

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Sometimes, it seems as though the arguments about genre — be it poetry vs. fiction, fiction vs. nonfiction, literary fiction vs. SF vs. fantasy vs. mystery vs. vs. vs. — will never end. So why not just take yourself off the board entirely? After all, marketing professionals aside, does anyone really care what genre they’re reading if the book is good? After the jump, 50 genre-bending novels guaranteed to enthrall you, whether you’re a literary fiction snob or a die-hard fantasy nerd. Enjoy without judgements!
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The 50 Funniest Cameos in Movie History

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This week, Olive Films is releasing, for the first time on Blu-ray, The Road to Hong Kong, the last of the seven “Road” buddy comedies starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Hitting theaters a full decade after the penultimate entry, Hong Kong is an occasionally funny and occasionally wheezy bit of business, with one honest-to-God great sequence: an unbilled cameo by Peter Sellers, who strolls into the picture and steals the damn thing outright. Hope and Crosby were early adopters of the kind of inside-joke comedy that yielded such cameos, which became increasingly common in the years that followed; we’ve gathered up some of the funniest in movie …Read More

Father John Misty Is a Horny Man-Child Mama’s Boy Worth Your Earnest Attention

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On the day before Josh Tillman’s 2013 wedding in Big Sur, the 33-year-old folk-rock troubadour — aka Father John Misty — took his bride, Emma, for a long hike before they climbed into an oak tree overlooking the Pacific. Years earlier — long before he’d met Emma in a store parking lot in Laurel Canyon and they’d traveled the world side by side — Tillman had tripped hard after meeting a shaman and ended up, naked, hallucinating in this same tree.
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27 Writers on Whether or Not to Get Your MFA

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Now that September is here and school is back in session, a writer’s thoughts turn to the eternal question: Is an MFA worth it? Ever since the publication of the Chad Harbach-edited anthology MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction earlier in the year, the perennial neurosis about whether or not an advanced degree in writing is worth it has become a progressively louder conversation. It’s one that we should be having, considering the explosion of the MFA in the past 40 years: from a mere 79 programs in 1979 to 854 today, according to Harbach. The MFA may even be having its moment — after all, the last shot of Girls Season 3 had Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath joyfully looking at her acceptance to Iowa. We checked in with some of our favorite writers from then and now to see what they think of the rise of the …Read More

25 Great Pieces of Life Advice From Literature

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Everyone could use a bit of advice now and then. But what if you’re the type who eschews all human contact and prefers to converse only with characters in your books? Well, er, then even they might not be able to help you. All kidding aside, as any avid reader will know, many of the great works of literature are filled with wisdom, which you could do worse than to take to heart — especially in these back-to-school weeks, a time when a little extra advice can always help. Here, you’ll find a few nuggets of humanhood as doled out by literary (read: fictional!) characters who know a thing or …Read More