While Mortals Sleep, Kurt Vonnegut

Well, hello there. My name is Dorothy Roberts, and I read faster than anybody you know. Fast enough that I am the reigning Bookstravaganza champion. Fast enough that it’s 22 hours into this competition and I’m already on my third book. That fast.

I chose While Mortals Sleep for my first book because I intended to start reading at 12:01 AM, December 1, 2012. And I did begin to read while the mortals slept; but it turns out that I am not immortal and working 8:15-4:30 is not a lifestyle that encourages late night literary reveries. I fell asleep four times while reading this. Still finished it by 2:15, because it’s a book of short stories and those read fast. I don’t know how much late-night reading I’ll be able to do this year.

Okay. So. Vonnegut. I am a big Vonnegut fan and I surround myself with equally big Vonnegut fans. My mother, being an all-around excellent human being, gave me a bunch of Vonnegut for my birthday. I’d also like to mention that I just really like typing “Vonnegut.” So, she gave me a bunch of Vonnegut, and I’d read most of the Vonnegut, but I saved this Vonnegut so that I could read it first.

Vonnegut. Vonnegut. V-O-N-N-E-G-U-T.

Before this book, I hadn’t read much of Vonnegut’s short fiction. Unsurprisingly, it reads very much like his novels – charming, a little weird. I was disappointed that Kilgore Trout didn’t turn up anywhere. I have always loved, will always be envious of, Vonnegut’s ability to deal with morality and ethics in an accessible way. These stories tend more towards realism than his other work, but that’s not a bad thing – he’s still willing to provide ethical directives, and I appreciate that.

If you haven’t read any other Vonnegut (Vonnegut Vonnegut Vonnegut), I’d recommend that you don’t start here – while you can tell that these stories are his, his longer fiction is more darkly humorous. So you should probably read Slaughterhouse 5.


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