Cat’s Cradle, Common Decency, and The Return of Wanda June

Yes, The Daily Vonnegut became unstuck in time for a bit, but is back this week with another question.

Q: In Cat’s Cradle, what is the name of the book that the narrator is writing about what famous people were doing the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima?

a) Ka-Boom!

b) Canary in a Coal Mine

c) The Day The World Ended

d) A Pillar of Salt

Check back next week for the answer, or better yet, pick up Cat’s Cradle and find the answer on page 1.

As part of its Lonesome No More initiative exploring the issue of mental health, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library published a blog post featuring comments by Kurt’s son, Dr. Mark Vonnegut, who addresses the topic of his famous father’s suicide attempt.  Follow the link for the full post:

Common Decency in Friendships with Mark Vonnegut and Madeline Zielinski

The Wheelhouse Theater Company is presenting a revival of Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday, Wanda June from October 18 through November 29 at The Duke on 42nd Street in New York.  Tickets are now on sale.  For more, visit the Wheelhouse Theater website:

Happy Birthday, Wanda June

For more, here’s a 1998 appearance by Vonnegut and writer Lee Stringer, who collaborated on 1999’s Like Shaking Hands with God.

Back To School

It’s back to school time, and what better way to begin the new school year than with this classic Vonnegut cameo from Back to School.

The answer to our last trivia question was A – Cheers, which Vonnegut referred to as television’s one comic masterpiece.

The Daily Vonnegut returns next week with more trivia.

Vonnegut trivia, 13 Fascinating Facts, and Vonnegut’s advice to high school students

This week’s trivia question is about Vonnegut and television.

Q: In 1991, while promoting the Showtime series Welcome to the Monkey House,  Kurt Vonnegut praised which popular sitcom, calling it television’s one comic masterpiece?

a) Cheers

b) Seinfeld

c) M*A*S*H

d) The Dick Van Dyke Show

Check back next week for the answer, or you can find it sooner at “Thirteen Fascinating Facts About Kurt Vonnegut.”

Thirteen Fascinating Facts About Kurt Vonnegut   

The correct response to last week’s question was B – In Slaughterhouse-Five, Edgar Derby is reading The Red Badge of Courage.

In the following clip, a teacher reads a letter of advise to high school students written by Kurt toward the end of his life.  His advice: make your soul grow.

Vonnegut trivia, a tribute to Jane, and Kurt’s warning about the future

This week’s question is from Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five.

Q: What book does Edgar Derby start reading in the infirmary while watching over Billy Pilgrim?

a) A Farewell to Arms

b) The Red Badge of Courage

c) Johnny Got His Gun

d) The Brothers Karamazov     

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to our previous question was A – Steven Paul directed the film adaptation of Slapstick.   

Kurt often wrote of his first wife Jane with great respect and affection.  In the following piece by Ginger Strand in The New Yorker,  the author explores how Jane helped Kurt develop as a writer.

“How Jane Vonnegut Made Kurt Vonnegut a Writer.”   

For more from Ginger Strand, read her interview with The Daily Vonnegut here:

The Brothers Vonnegut – An Interview with Ginger Strand

Finally, here’s a 1987 appearance in which Kurt wonders what might happen to society when “the excrement hits the air conditioning.”

Vonnegut Trivia and The Vonnegut Encyclopedia

Here’s this week’s question:

Q: In the original production of Kurt Vonnegut’s play Happy Birthday, Wanda June, the young actor Steven Paul played the part of Paul Ryan.  What is Steven Paul’s other connection to the work of Kurt Vonnegut?

a) He directed the film adaptation of Slapstick

b) He had a supporting role in the film version of Mother Night

c) He played Harold Ryan in a future production of Wanda June

d) He did the narration for the audio book of Slaughterhouse-Five

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to last week’s question was D – Walter Starbuck met his wife Ruth at a post-WW2 refugee camp.

For serious Vonnegut fans, there is no better resource than Marc Leeds’ The Vonnegut Encyclopedia, a revised edition of which was published by Delacorte Press in 2016.  For more on the Encyclopedia, here’s a recent review from the Irish Journal of American Studies.

The Vonnegut Encyclopedia

You can also read Leeds’ interview with The Daily Vonnegut.

Marc Leeds – The Vonnegut Encyclopedia  

Finally, here’s a clip of a 2018 appearance in which Marc discusses Kurt Vonnegut and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.   

Vonnegut Trivia – Week of July 8, 2018

This week’s question is from Jailbird, first published in 1979.

Q: Where did Walter Starbuck meet Ruth, his first wife?

a) At a Harvard sorority party

b) In Federal Prison

c) At a staff meeting for the Nixon White House

d) At a refugee camp in post-WW2 Europe

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to last week’s question was B – Player Piano is set in Ilium, New York.

For more, here’s a recording of Kurt Vonnegut, from 1969, reading his story “Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son.”

Philip Roth, Father’s Day, and Weekly Trivia – June 17, 2018

The Daily Vonnegut mourns the recent passing of the great American novelist Philip Roth.  Vonnegut’s Jailbird and Roth’s The Ghost Writer were both Main Selections of the Book of the Month Club in September 1979–a marvelous month to be a reader.

This week’s question is about Kurt Vonnegut Sr.

Q: What was Kurt Vonnegut Senior’s occupation?

a) Doctor

b) Architect

c) Hardware store owner

d) Pharmacist

Check back next week for the answer.  The correct response to last week’s question was D – The Sirens of Titan was Vonnegut’s second published novel.

In celebration of Father’s Day, here’s a video of Mark Vonnegut discussing his father’s life and work.