I am currently reading And So It Goes, a biography of Kurt Vonnegut by Charles Shields. It’s a very interesting experience: I’ve been reading Vonnegut’s books for more than half of my life, some a few times over, and since he includes a lot of autobiographical material in his books I felt like I knew a lot about him—more than I know about some of my friends.
I’m not very far into the book (I just finished the bombing of Dresden) but I’ve already learned a ton of new stuff, especially about his childhood and early family life. If you’re a big fan of his work you should definitely check it out.
One interesting aspect of the book is that he really didn’t become KURT VONNEGUT (beloved author) until he was in his 40s. Prior to that he went from career to career, supporting a large family, struggling to get make it as writer and generally feeling like a loser. I admit I took some solace in this.
I also think it’s peculiar that he titled the book And So it Goes when, as Linda Ellerbee (who also had a book with that title) pointed out, Vonnegut’s phrase as just “So it goes.”
One fairly modest life goal I’ve set for myself is to get a hardcover edition of every Kurt Vonnegut book. In this modern day of ebay I realize that this kind of thing is a lot easier than it used to be so I’m going old school and only getting ones I find through sheer chance in used bookstores, etc. Unfortunately, I’m at the point where the only ones I’m missing are the early, rarer ones and one thing ebay has done is make it a lot harder to stumble across such things.
Wish me luck!