Sunday, August 07, 2011

I'd guesstimate we're at approximately Fahrenheit 450 these days

I was a bookish kid. (Big surprise, right?) I remember getting rather pissed off at my mom--herself a big reader, I must point out--for saying at one point that I "read too much." I found that very offensive, though it's possible that she may have had a point. (I didn't exactly get out a lot.)

I'd tend to find a writer I like, then read everything I could get my hands on by that person. Around junior high, that writer was Ray Bradbury. The Martian Chronicles led to Something Wicked This Way Comes which led to Fahrenheit 451. In high school, it was, among a handful of others, Kurt Vonnegut.

So when I read the other day that a college professor (!) spearheaded a successful drive to get Slaughterhouse Five and other books removed from the classrooms and shelves of a high school in Republic, Mo.--a school in which the professor has no children enrolled because, of course, he home-schools them (sigh)--I was really saddened.

My HS library had all of Vonnegut's books, and I read every single one then on its shelves. And while it's true that in my 20s I felt I kind of outgrew his books and probably haven't read one since then, they were a big part of my realization that there was a big, crazy world out there outside of my small-ish town. For that, I'm still grateful to whoever was picking the books to stock.

And, therefore, I've made a small donation to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, which is soliciting funds to put copies of Slaughterhouse Five into the hands of any Republic High School student who requests one. Maybe you'll be inspired to do so, too.


pase de noticias said...

I found your blog very good and would you spend your well for mine. Of course if you can spread my blog would also be very good. thank you very much

ChefNick said...

Hmm . . . pase seems to get around. Like a virus.

I also had nothing as a kid . . . trapped in India, Africa, there was only books (oh shut up and call your Master Editor).

I was more into Silverberg and Simak but I devoured it all whole . . . I was an open book, so to speak. Now I find the Foundation Trilogy unbearably tedious but I lapped it up at age 16 . . . can you imagine?

Bilennium, misspelled by the author, J.G. Ballard, but something that rang my mind like a church bell.

I could never read a Walt Whitman -- I'd be in traction and ready for organ donation at the end of any of his books -- but I recognized the silver cunning in Ray Bradbury, this in a day when science fiction was a misdemeanour.