We invited you to help us whittle 20 books published in 1969 down to ten, and we’re now ready to kick off One Grand’s 1969 Book Club. We’re giving readers a month to read our first choice of the year, Kurt Vonnegut’s “famous Dresden book,” as he wryly refers to Slaughterhouse-Five in his introduction. A book that is simultaneously fiction and memoir, and which hops around in time, the New York Times urged that the introduction be read aloud to “children, cadets and basic trainees.” It was the first of Vonnegut’s to become a bestseller, but lost the Hugo Award that year to Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, which we’ll be reading later this year.
Immediately controversial, Slaughterhouse-Five has rarely been off the American Library Association’s list of Most Frequently Challenged Books, perhaps enhancing Vonnegut’s appeal among teenagers. But the most salient and striking feature of Slaughterhouse-Five is to tackle war without mawkishness, even with humor, and yet remain throughout stirring, profound, and moving. If you want a good primer before reading the novel, you could do worse than this engaging 2012 piece in the Times Literary Supplement. We’ll be checking in weekly to solicit thoughts and observations about the book in progress. And we’ll be announcing an online discussion with a noted author and fan of Vonnegut for late February. Follow this space!
Copies of Slaughterhouse-Five, and then nine other titles we’ll be reading this year, can be purchased with a 20% discount from One Grand Books by clicking on the titles below.
February 2019: Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
March 2019: Travels with My Aunt, by Graham Green
April 2019: The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood
June 2019: The Tremor of Forgery, by Patricia Highsmith
July 2019: The Left-Hand of Darkness, by Ursula LeGuin
August 2019: Portnoy’s Complaint, by Philip Roth
September 2019: The French Lieutenant’s Woman, by John Fowles
October 2019: Life is Elsewhere, by Milan Kundera
November 2019: Bullet Park, by John Cheever