Some New Trend

List Wednesdays :: Vonnegut Grades Vonnegut by Kevin Wilder

click here to jump to this week’s chapter

I went on a hunt to find my favorite author’s favorite books, and only wound up uncovering his admiration for a rare 1936 Czech sci-fi love story called War with the Newts. And then I fell into something even more interesting: if you turn to Chapter 18 of Palm Sunday, you’ll find the guy taking the task on himself to grade his own books.

I’ve never met anyone who claimed to not like Vonnegut (if you’re hiding out there, stay put—we wouldn’t want any broken bones). His own worst critic was probably himself, which is evident both in some of the grades below, and in his trying to commit suicide the “classy way” by smoking Pall Mall cigarettes (kidding). He humbly stated this grading system did “not place me in literary history,” and that it only compared “myself with myself.”

Vonnegut’s evaluations:

  • Player Piano: B
  • The Sirens of Titan: A
  • Mother Night: A
  • Cat’s Cradle: A+
  • God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater: A
  • Slaughterhouse-Five: A+
  • Welcome to the Monkey House: B-
  • Happy Birthday, Wanda June: D
  • Breakfast of Champions: C
  • Slapstick: D
  • Jailbird: A
  • Palm Sunday: C

*A few observations from Kevin:

  • At least there weren’t any F’s. 
  • Also, his pre-1981 GPA was a 3.0. So maybe he liked himself okay.
  • I sort of find it hilarious that the book containing the list was assigned only an “average” grade. I wonder if this upset anyone who’d just bought it brand-new? Kind of doubt it.

4 Comments so far
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I think this picture looks like he’s sitting in on a Southern Living photo shoot. Hydrangeas!

Comment by Carrie Rollwagen

I totally agree with his grading. I feel vindicated now in my general dislike of Breakfast of Champions.

Comment by Apollo

well…i read Galapagos and wasn’t much of a fan, and we have Hocus Pocus here in the bookshelves, but i don’t like the title so i’ve steered clear of it thus far…maybe i should try some of his A+ work.

Comment by Anna

Yeah, I didn’t get too far with Galapagos. Might I suggest Mr. Rosewater?

Comment by Kevin Wilder

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