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Book Ramblings

Long winded reviews

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Kiln People
Beth Meacham, David Brin

Cat's Cradle

Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut Peer pressure is a terrible thing, Cat’s Cradle is highly rated by people I respect, especially my GR friends, I went into it with much enthusiasm, half hoping for one of those “all-time greats” reads. However, life is full of surprises, and not in a good way on this occasion. It is easy to dismiss books like Twilight or 50 Shades in spite of their blockbusting best seller status because I don’t actually know anybody who like them! With a book like Cat’s Cradle it makes me doubt my own discernment.

The best I can do to stave off allegations that I am a philistine is that while I enjoyed some of it, on the whole I just don’t like it very much. The problem I have is that I did not find the plot and the characters engaging, I admire Vonnegut’s dry, sardonic wit but the story seems to ramble on and on until I got to the exciting climax. The micro chapters also play hell with the pacing of the book, there seems to me no momentum to the narrative that I could latch on to. The book has a “choppy” feel to it.

Another minor complaint I have is the amount of neologisms in this book, they are all explained but there are so many of them and I have such a poor memory that often had to Google them for quick explanations (though that is no trouble really).

As mentioned earlier I do like some of it, mainly the laughs I found here and there. I like the parts of the book that deal with “ice-nine”, the explanation of it and the apocalyptic result of its application is very entertaining. I enjoyed the wacky “Bokononism” philosophy. Maxims like “Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” seem like words to live by to me! One character’s comment about reading is also wonderful:

“Sir, how does a man die when he’s deprived of the consolations of literature?”
“In one of two ways,” he said, “petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system.”

At the end of the day though, the subtexts or profundities of this book escaped me as such things often do, but especially for books that I was not deeply engaged with. I do enjoy quoting bits of it though, this one seems appropriate:

“Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.
"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.
"Certainly," said man.
"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.
And He went away.”

The jigaboo bastard.