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Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
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Breakfast of Champions (original 1973; edition 1973)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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12,449115196 (4.01)194
Member:Alabroad
Title:Breakfast of Champions
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Cape, Jonathan (1973), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
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Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (1973)

  1. 40
    The World According to Garp by John Irving (soffitta1)
    soffitta1: Both are left-field, with overlap in themes.
  2. 30
    The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (readandride)
  3. 20
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (esswedl)
    esswedl: Both of these Vonnegut novels involve the question of free will (and both are great).
  4. 10
    Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson (sombrio)
  5. 00
    Mist by Miguel de Unamuno (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Books in which the author appears as himself and interacts with the characters while manipulating their fates.
  6. 01
    Something Happened by Joseph Heller (ateolf)
  7. 01
    Kurt Vonnegut's crusade; or, How a postmodern harlequin preached a new kind of humanism by Todd F. Davis (pyrocow)
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» See also 194 mentions

English (112)  Czech (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  English (115)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
I thought this book accomplished an amazing thing. It portrayed humanity in all its grotesqueness, stupidity, irrationality, insanity, and cruelty, and yet still convinced me that we are, each of us, "unwavering bands of light." This was the perfect read at the perfect time for me, still as relevant in 2016 as it was when it was written. And John Malkovich did a fantastic job as narrator. ( )
  sturlington | Oct 23, 2016 |
There is an ineffable charm in the cynical view of humanity, and especially the fraction that lives in the U.S., that Vonnegut conveys in his novels. This one is much the same as several of his others — not much of a plot, but a lot of commentary, both subtle and vulgar, on the people and culture of our point in time and space. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
I hated this book. It made no sense. I have no idea what it was about. It is a literary Seinfeld. ( )
1 vote Sheila1957 | Aug 25, 2016 |
Thus far one of the best discoveries of reading through the 1001 book list is Vonnegut. Breakfast of Champions is written in his signature style of short simple sentences. My take away from this book was concerns about mechanistic explanations for humanity and how much (if any) free-will the majority of us have. ( )
  kale.dyer | Jul 27, 2016 |
BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS is mainly a vehicle to showcase Kurt Vonnegut’s uniquely gentle satirical style. The plot is chaotic and pretty silly—in his preface, he tells the reader that the novel is “a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast”; the setting is hopelessly mundane and depressing—Midland City; the characters are deeply flawed and mostly recycled from previous works; and the narrative is filled with asides and crude drawings that seem cute but unnecessary. As my aside, Vonnegut once advocated for the elimination of the semi-colon, a convention I obviously have trouble adhering to.

So why are people attracted to this work? Mainly it is because of Vonnegut’s narrative voice. His worldview was often quite pessimistic, but his observations were always refreshing, spot on and unfailingly amiable. He addressed most of the absurdities and evils of American culture with characteristic deadpan humor. One can’t help but wonder what he would have made of the bizarre presidential campaign of 2016. Clearly, 50 years later, people seem to be waking up to some of the things that bothered Vonnegut in the 70’s, but whether we are up to the task of changing them seems to be doubtful.

There are far too many examples in the novel of Vonnegut’s jaundiced but accurate perceptions to cite them in any detail. You need to just let them flow over you as you read. Invariably, these observations provoke smiles, laughter and frequently downright awe. His scope was indeed prodigious, including racism, corporate greed, inequality, war, environmental degradation, materialism, sex, mental health, politics, history as myth, futility, derangement, free will, the inadequacy of fiction as a vehicle for change, and so it goes.

Vonnegut uses a hopeful metaphor of mirrors as “leaks” to a more rational reality. Notwithstanding his pessimistic view of our current reality as a bizarre wonderland, not unlike what Alice found on the other side of her looking glass, Vonnegut seemed to persist in a belief that kindness to other humans can be redemptive. ( )
1 vote ozzer | Apr 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kurt Vonnegutprimary authorall editionscalculated
Malkovich, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salu, MichaelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
When he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold.
-JOB
Dedication
In Memory of Phoebe Hurty,,
who comforted me in Indianapolis--
during the Great Depression
.
First words
This is the tale of a meeting of two lonely, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.
Quotations
Roses are red and ready for plucking; you’re sixteen and ready for high school.
Here is a picture of a wide open beaver.
Sometimes I wonder about the creator of the universe.
The chief weapon of sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were.
New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.
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The author questions the condition of modern man in this novel depicting a science fiction writer's struggle to find peace and sanity in the world.

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