Topical Tuesday: If I Could Have Been the Author of Any Book it Would Have Been…

Slaughterhouse 5!

First, I jumped at the Bible. Oh to have written the Bible. But hey, I’m one guy in one place and that was written by dozens and dozens over the course of 1000 years so for the sake of keeping it a fascinating text, I let my dream of writing the Bible go.

My next reaction upon pondering this question was to look at my bookshelves and pick out something that I saw there. I love my book shelves. However, upon moving to San Francisco, I left them behind. I packed up hundreds and hundreds of books and stored them in my mother’s basement. With me came about two dozen.

I don’t really wish that I’d written any of the books I have here (other than maybe The Divine Comedy), and so I had to start thinking again from scratch. Of course, there are so many classics that I could have picked but what would my reasoning have been?

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn could have made a fine selection. Mark Twain was brilliant. The book was sensational, influential, historically relevant, etc. But somehow I decided that I wanted something else. At first I was toying with sci-fi: The Hobbit, Dune. I really like the idea of creating a whole different world and think that it’s very difficult. I would love to move people’s imaginations that way. Stephen King’s epic The Dark Tower could have been excellent but Chandler and I did say 1 book.

Thus, I settled on Slaughterhouse 5. There are a couple of reasons. Personally, I’ve read the book about a dozen times. It reads so quickly and never ceases to amaze me. You can take so much away from this book. There are great one liners that stay with you – i.e., So it goes. There are hilarious quips about life’s odd situations. Billy, for instance, has a huge penis, and says, you never know who’s going to have one.

What’s more, the book has amazing historical relevance (related to the Crusades and WWII), an incredible message about war that it doesn’t just tell you but makes you feel, and makes you think 6000 times about the structure of the universe and time and other such things. I use the image of the Rocky Mountains from the beginning of time until the end of time all the time to convey various points about the nature of time. That and the attitude of the Trafalmadorians about life just make it an absolutely incredible book, with no extra words to spare.

So, thanks a lot Kurt Vonnegut for doing it first. Though I may not get your much deserved acclaim for this incredible masterpiece, I can certainly say that your book has inspired me on a personal level and for my writing. If I could publish – nay, write – anything comparable to the things you achieve inside that book I’ll be a very happy man.

What’s your favorite book? What book do you wish you’d written? If they’re different why? Did you like Slaughterhouse 5?

Enjoy your own copies of Slaughterhouse-Five, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Divine Comedy and many other great books.

Enjoy more book and movie reviews.

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6 Responses

  1. My favorite book of all time : Of Human Bondage (S. Maugham).

    Love, greed, hate, longing, confusion regret… you follow the protagonist’s life and his struggle to dissect his emotions and experiences. To find his niche, to find love, to find meaning to it all. I highly recommend this book.

  2. […] this week’s Topical Tuesday, Jay suggested we ask this of […]

  3. You know, I never made it all the way through Slaughterhouse

  4. I’d like to add that I haven’t reread Of Human Bondage since college. I read the novel during a period of time when my heart and mind were exceedingly fragile. I recognized the anguish emotions displayed by the protagonist. Just as the author was weaving his experiences into patterns, I too was threading my own quilt. The protagonist’s patterns weren’t always beautiful- some awkward and absurd, others too shamefully ugly. The author’s writing is neither ostentatious nor flowerly (sharply contrasting the style of one of the bloggist’s favorite book). Perhaps there will be another opportunity for me to I pick up S. Maugham’s greatest novel, but for now I choose not to reread it as I realized that period of “self-discovery” has long passed.

    In short, I recommend this book primarily to college kids (most fitting time of one’s formative years) or others who enjoy non-ostentatious books about the human fragile experience.

    Another book I enjoy immensely is Great Expectations by C. Dickens for reasons I shall disclose in future discussions. I’ve never been a huge fan of Dickens, but Great Expectations is perhaps his greatest novel in my humble opinion.

  5. […] For yesterday’s Fun with the Bible post, click HERE or for last week’s Topical Tuesday – what book I would have written if I could have – click HERE. […]

  6. […] read some other Topical Tuesday posts, click HERE. To read Fun with the Bible, click […]

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