Tell about your favorite book, why it is your favorite, and how it has influenced you.

Books, Music, Art, Movies

 

Breakfast of Champions

 

I quoted Kurt Vonnegut in a post from a couple of weeks ago. Here, I’ll just post it again (’cause it’s awesome):

 

“The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

 

Kurt Vonnegut holds a special place in my heart. And not just because he says really awesome things. He also writes really awesome books. While I can’t choose a favorite out of all the books I have ever read, I can tell you that Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions changed my life.

 

I read it when my husband and I were dating. He was an English Major and very well read and I was totally enthralled with his knowledge of books. He loaned me Breakfast of Champions to read one day and I ate it up. This was THE book in which I had that “aha” moment of realizing that the narrator was NOT the author of the story. I was discussing the book with Raf and mentioned something like, “I can’t believe Vonnegut’s mother committed suicide by drinking Draino!” Raf responded with, “Monica, the narrator of the story is not the author.” It was like a bowling ball hit me in the head. I went from  dumb girl to  smart girl in a matter of seconds.

 

Looking back, I feel like an idiot for being such and avid reader and not realizing this sooner. For some silly reason I assumed the author and the narrator were the same. Do other readers think this? Maybe I had crappy English teachers in High School. When I was a TA in college I pointed this out to a few of my students and I could tell that they had the same aha moment that I had, so maybe it is something some people assume when they read.

 

Anyway, Breakfast of Champions made me see this truth and it did several things. I became  a critical thinker. It caused me to question. It also pointed me toward to a greater love of reading and literature and it was the catalyst that made me become a literature major in college. To this day one of my favorite things is a good, smart, book discussion.

 

Slaughterhouse-Five

All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let’s get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States — and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!”
— Kurt Vonnegut,

I meant to celebrate Banned Books week with a quote and a banned book featured each day and I’ve gotten busy as usual. But I will try to continue this because I think it’s important.

“Give me knowledge or give me death!”

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Kurt Vonnegut speaking at Case Western Reserve...

Image via Wikipedia

“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.”

– Kurt Vonnegut – I Love You, Madame Librarian — In These Times

I *love* Vonnegut; I’m a huge fan of his work. Breakfeast of Champions rocked my world and changed the way I read literature. Reading it was pivotal for me as a literature major. This makes my day. No, it makes my weekend!

The rest of the article is excellent by the way, so go read it! 🙂 And happy Friday!

I Love You, Madame Librarian

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