Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.
News has just reached my desk that the world's most revered Humanist, Kurt Vonnegut, has died. His fatalistic, morally quixotic and dubiously contrived works, including his most famous novel Slaughterhouse Five, earned him the fame that eluded him early in life.
I remember during our trip to San Francisco, we made a few stops at City Lights Books, a Beat Generation mainstay with poetry and philosophy from every continent a large contingent on its shelves. Vonnegut was the only thing that quenched my literary appetite, and I left City Lights with a new copy of Slaugherhouse Five and Breakfast of Champions. If you haven't read these Vonnegut classics, you're missing out.
Vonnegut was a man that wrote in such a way that compelled you to at least try to understand ideas that would normally be repulsive. His style was dictated by his early years as a hard-news journalist, a reporter at a Chicago newspaper's city desk. That style made his novels easy to read, easy to follow and easily consumed by readers that may not be so adept with philosophy. He's told stories of near-death tea parties with modern icons and has attracted a diverse yet critical following with tales of planets far away and people near and dear.
Vonnegut died due to brain injuries from a fall several weeks ago.