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on March 21, 2002
Although you'd never guess it from the title, Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons is a collection of essays, speeches, and reviews from Kurt Vonnegut - along with one piece of fiction and one interview. Certainly, it isn't on par with his wonderful fiction (or even his marvelous non-fiction book, Fates Worse Than Death), but neither does it pretend to be. This is a book for those who have already read most of what else Kurt Vonnegut has written. The reviews are nothing to write home about, though some of the essays are quite good - but his public speeches, as always, make for excellent reading. There is a handful of them in here. The highlight of the book, though, for any Vonnegut fan is his long interview with Playboy magazine that closes the book. It's an essential read for any KV fan. I reccommend this book to those who love Kurt Vonnegut and his fiction, and know it. If you're not familar with this quite amusing author, you should pick up some of his marvelous fiction first...
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on July 6, 1997
So here we have the first of what has become a bit of an obsession for Vonnegut: the autobiographical collage. This version is a bit better than the later entries, though, since it puts more emphasis on worldview-articles and less on endless ramblings of Vonnegut history and "what's on my mind today" type of things. Best of all is a trip to Burma during the revolution that ranks amongst the half a dozen best short pieces he's ever written. By itself, that piece is worth the price of admission. But with a few other good bits and pieces, this becomes a nice rest stop for Vonnegut fans, but little else. Perhaps if Vonnegut would truly throw himself into these works, and write some gut-wrenching auto-bio, I would be more convinced. But I always feel like he's holding back, and only putting out as much as he has to. Try this, Kurt: Re-read the Burma piece, and approach the rest of your life with the same passion
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on June 26, 2001
This collection is probably most interesting to those who are arleady Vonnegut fans. It doesn't really even pretend to contend with the writer's greater works. I think that, perhaps, this book is most helpful to those who already know Vonnegut's body of work, and simply wish to understand more about the author himself. "Wampeter's, Foma, and Granfalloons" basically consists of Vonnegut's public speeches, as well as various essays. The book can help a reader, already familiar with Vonnegut, understand more about the writer, and the ideas behind his novels. However, I would recomend that a first time reader pick up one of Vonegut's actual novels (Slaughter House five and Mother Night are higly recomended) before looking at this. I would recomend this book to an avid Vonegut reader/fan.
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on November 9, 2002
I've just finished reading the entire Vonnegut collection - this was the last one, and it was a fitting finish. I feel this collection gives the best insight into KV as a person out of all his autobiographical collages (though this one isn't entirely autobiographical). While his other collections show his history, this one gives you some insight into how he thinks and feels. I especially liked the final piece - an interview from Playboy, he's very bitter and opinionated, yet openly vulnerable in it.
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This book offers my idea of the essential quick-reading; short, quip-loaded, quasi-autobigraphical chapters on the life and mind of Vonnegut. Particularly memorable is his "On my own death", a three-paged pontification on the remembrance of dead authors. A must-read for any Vonnegut afficionado, and an enjoyable collection of anecdotes for the bathroom or bedtime reader!
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on January 6, 2004
The three words relate to lies, general screwups, and artificial families such as fraternities or the army, and are based on Father Kurt's creation Bokonanism from "Cat's Cradle". These essays are a look into the mind of a true original and should not be ignored. Highly recommended from one who has read every Vonnegut novel and essay he could get his hands on!
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on July 22, 1999
I had forgotten how much I liked vonnegut. if you haven't read him in a while, and don't care to read or reread one of his novels, this is the book for you. get the straight dope from the mans mouth in the many interviews. I found myself bumping around from section to section haphazardly, and then realizing that I had finished it all. its just that scattered.
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on March 12, 2001
I have been a big fan of Vonnegut since reading Breakfast of Champions. This book, tho one of his most obscure, is an exceptional collections of all sorts of things Vonnegut has undertaken throughout the years. For me this book was the ultimate bathroom reader with pieces ranging from 2-30 pages. His Playboy interview is the gem of the book.
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on June 11, 2000
Once again Kurt has succeded in pouring out his heart, to readers and msking us fall in love with his books. There is no reason why this is so great, it just is so read the damn book. you'll be glad you did.
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on August 31, 1998
I have read most of Vonnegut's books and I rank this near the top. It gives the reader a chance to get Vonnegut's incisive views on a wide range of issues. This is a must read for Vonnegut fans.
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