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by Kurt Vonnegut
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When you see a beautiful stranger across a crowded room, the spark fires and you won’t forget the moment.
This was long before the power and reach of social media, decades before “Black Twitter” became a sounding board for people of color. And yet, by episode three, on the strength of word of mouth alone, there wasn’t a black or Latino teenager I knew who was missing a new Chappelle’s Show every Tuesday night.
I am going to try to convince you that The Novel is one of the most important works of both literary history and criticism to be published in the last decade.
Tell me reading about those farmers, very early in the morning, devouring those biscuits, those eggs, that ham, that coffee, doesn’t do something for you, doesn’t make you feel as if you could hoe a field, doesn’t make you want to go out and get that shit fucking done.
Maybe those days of curling up in bed with a story were long gone, but what if we read the same book together silently in the living room? If I bought two copies of a novel, we could take on chapter-length chunks each evening and then discuss what we’d just read. Perhaps in this way I could gently lead my son to an appreciation of the deeper internal landscapes that literature offers.
Reading these letters, it seemed like Kurt Vonnegut’s biggest obstacle to happiness was Kurt Vonnegut.