slaughterhouse 5

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slaughterhouse 5

Postby 0.0 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:57 am UTC

I'm about 68 pages in and am finding it to be a chore to continue at this point. Somebody convince me to finish this book. The books I have read and enjoyed are the foundation series, enders game and the trilogy, hyperion and the sequel and the Davinci Code. These books I immensely have enjoyed. The book I have waiting in the wings is Catch 22.

That short list of books is basically my life long list of 'read' books starting from about 3-4 years ago. I am 31. I did read some crappy books in highschool for school that turned me away from reading, but have blocked their titles out of my mind (except for old yeller). Enders game started me reading again about four years ago and since then, the only book I didn't finish was Eragon, which was written by a fifteen year old and reads like a fifteen year old wrote it. So far, Slaughterhouse five reads like a total twit wrote it. I found this book highly recommended and was ver excited to read it. I even went ahead and bought the hard cover I was so sure I would enjoy it enough to read it again later.

I almost forgot. I also read the hitch hiker's guide to the galaxy. I have the unabridged compilation that has gold leaf and looks just like the bible and was the best read yet (how did I forget?). I KNOW I will read that again.

Can someone convince me to either finish this book, or just scrap it and stop wasting my time?
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby MotorToad » Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:44 am UTC

I think it might have more meaning of you consider that it's mostly not fiction. The time flashes seemed clumsy to me, Billy Pilgrim isn't a character I dealt with well, and I didn't think the Tralfagamor-- whateverthefucks were the best instance of sci-fi ever. But the parts about the war were so obviously from someone that saw it first-hand, hated it, and wanted to find a way to tell people he hated it. My eyes didn't cruise over the words as easily as they have many other books, but I found this book to have a lot of meaning.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby beastie » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:37 pm UTC

I've read it twice but it had to do with school. I giggled at the bit where he describes the Englishmen during the war:
“The Englishmen were clean and enthusiastic and decent and strong. They sang boomingly well. They had been singing together every night for years. The Englishmen had also been lifting weights and chinning themselves for years. Their bellies were like wash-boards. The muscles of their calves and upper arms were like cannonballs. They were all masters of checkers and chess and bridge and cribbage and dominoes and anagrams and charades and Ping-Pong and billiards, as well. They were among the wealthiest people in Europe, in terms of food. [...]
They were adored by the Germans, who thought they were exactly what Englishmen ought to be. They made war look stylish and reasonable, and fun.
They had known for twelve hours that American guests were on their way. They had never had guests before, and they went to work like darling elves, sweeping, mopping, cooking, baking, [...] setting tables, putting party favours at each place. Now they were singing their welcome to their guests in the winter night. They were dressed half for battle, half for tennis or croquet. They wrestled the Americans toward the shed door affectionately, [...] called them ‘Yank,’ told them ‘Good show,’ promised that ‘Jerry was on the run,’ and so on.”

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Kizyr » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:14 pm UTC

Billy Pilgrim is completely schizophrenic and has many colorful delusions.
At least, that's one thing I was convinced of.

I really enjoyed Slaughterhouse Five. I thought Cat's Cradle was better, but Slaughterhouse was good in its own right. I'm not sure what I could say to convince you to finish it, though. I found it best to read it as a progression of events in Billy's own consciousness, rather than a scatterbrained time-travel story.

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby the_bandersnatch » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:42 am UTC

As has already been mentioned, Slaughterhouse 5 isn't really about the time travel, or the aliens, or whatever. It's about the bombing of Dresden, the writer's own experiences in it as a PoW and observer, the horror of it, and on a wider scale, the horror and pointlessness of war in general, as well as it's absurdity.

Me, I absolutely loved Slaughterhouse 5, despite finding Vonnegut's other stuff to be very poor.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Torlek42 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:50 pm UTC

I think your problem is that you have nothing to compare it to. Some of those other books you've mentioned...like (ugh) The DaVinci Code...have very little depth. They are just for entertainment, they tell a story that's meant to be exciting and that's it. Slaughterhouse-Five is a more serious book, although it is often very entertaining just by being weird.

I say take a break and start Catch-22 instead. It's written in much the same way as Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but like Slaughterhouse-Five it deals with war. A good bridge between the two. You may also be suffering from the effects of over-hyping books...Slaughterhouse-Five is great, one of my favorites, but if it's not what you expect it to be then it's a disappointment even if it's great in its own way.

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby 0.0 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:25 am UTC

you make a good point. I like books with a great story and interesting characters. Billy has 'interesting' things happen to him, but is dull as all hell. And I don't think I like Vonegut's style of writing either. If I want a book with deep meaning, I'll read Dala Lama. (sp?)

Btw, did you actually read DaVinci Code? That book was a page turner. I felt like I was there, and would actually stay up way to late at night because I couldn't stop reading and would get to excited to sleep. From some of the posts I have read in this forum of people putting this book down, I feel like there may be a little 'its popular so it is cool to not like it' vibe going around. I read it because it had good reviews, and would give it a good review now. I actually read another of Dan Brown's books right after, although it was nowhere near as good.

On a side note, when I bought the book (Walden Books) the clerk recommended I get the slightly more expensive version that included photos of some of the artifacts mentioned in the book (i.e. last supper painting). I just stared blankly at her for a moment and said 'Its fiction, why would I want to have references?'

If you take DaVinci Code at face value as an exciting fiction adventure, its awesome. I don't get all the criticism. :|
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby the_bandersnatch » Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:36 am UTC

The DaVinci Code is an exciting fiction adventure, but it's also incredibly poorly written, has paper thin characters and a nonsense plot. Plus many people take issue with what the author tries to peddle as fact is mostly complete nonsense. But, hey, I enjoyed the DaVinci Code for what it was and didn't take it too seriously, if you enjoyed it too then great. Sometimes, though, it's nice to have something with depth.

And as for the comment about not wanting references in your fiction, for God's sake don't ever attempt to read The Lord of the Rings, your head might implode.

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby ifni » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:06 pm UTC

I just don't understand how anyone can think this book is dull. First time I read it, I read it in one sitting.

I guess you'll have to follow the other repliers advice though, its not fiction in the common sense. It's not written for entertainment, although it is certainly entertaining.

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Sprocket » Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:01 pm UTC

This is a book that REQUIRES you read the intro. Infact, I liked the intro almost better than the book. There was a great deal of wit and I liked the sort of science fiction aspect of it, I was actually just contemplating the idea that it was the first serious book I'd read in awhile that I didn't have to drag myself through, and thought maybe my days of light fiction like Douglass Adams and Gaiman were coming to a close, when Vonegut started to point and laugh at his own book saying "look, this is sci fi!" No wonder it kept my attention. ;-)

I finished Slaughter House V this morning. For something that was supposed to be so about the atrocity of war and trying to claim his point was that it's horrible and he wanted to write something to inform people how awful war is so it wouldn't happen again, I don't think it really did it's job. It was all about a guy who walked numbly through it. Sure he went insane, but the whole thing is seen through his entirely numb state, which doesn't leave us with much of an impact. Though I know it wasn't trying to say this, I felt like it was almost agreeing with the Tralfamadorian mind set Billy Pilgrim created to cope. I guess I felt it was more a satire about how America handled the experience, in this numb ::shrug:: "Oh well. So it goes." kind of way, which is all well and good to stairize, but the impact of the severity of the situation wasn't really there. I don't know, I liked the beginning and the middle, but somewhere near the last third it gained so much apathy that it hardly seemed to be saying anything anymore.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Lt Greatsocks » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:06 am UTC

This might just be me but I think the time travel is just a device to show how he stumbles through his life. All the shit with the war was crazy. I loved everything about the book.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Mr. Galt » Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:28 am UTC

I haven't ready slaughterhouse yet, but recently finished Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut, which I found to be enjoyable to say the least. From what I've heard, its a little more lighthearted.

I wish I could help you with a recommendation, but I've found myself re-reading a lot of books recently. I myself enjoyed the Ender's Game series immensely.

Personally, I would hang on to it, but keep your eyes open something to take its place and if your looking forward to catch-22 then I say hit that first.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Ghandi 2 » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:29 am UTC

I can't suggest that you continue, I really didn't enjoy it. After about halfway through, I wanted to scream at him every time he wrote "And so it goes." It was just in general a really irritating book for me.

Catch 22, however, was excellent.

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Day Tripper » Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:54 pm UTC

I started both Slaughterhouse 5 and Catch-22, but have found them extremely painful to get through, like wading through concrete. Advice has already been posted about Slaughterhouse (and I'll give it another shot), but is Catch-22 really worth trying again? The characters seem ridiculous, like they live their lives in a sketch comedy winking at the audience, not like a real person would.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Boxcar Aldous Huxley » Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:46 am UTC

0.0 wrote: I like books with a great story and interesting characters. Billy has 'interesting' things happen to him, but is dull as all hell. And I don't think I like Vonegut's style of writing either.


I myself love his style of writing, so it was easy for me to read. If you don't like the style at all, though, there's probably no good reason to struggle through the book.

I think a key to the book is that it's trying to be in the style of a "Tralfamadorian novel" (as mentioned within). It's all about the overall mood set, as opposed to the actual events or the order in which they take place. The style is key to this, really.

On a personal note, when I first read Slaughterhouse 5, it was lent to me by someone whose parents survived the Dresden bombing, so it had a pretty strong effect on me...
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Pebbles » Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:09 am UTC

If you find Slaughter House 5 frustrating to read dont even bother with Catch 22. I loved both books. But neither were easy, straight forward reads. Both required patience and the ability to keep reading without fully understanding whats happening straight away. The answers will come and if you miss them, reread!

edit: daytripper- Yes, catch 22 is really worth trying with. The characters are ridiculous to highlight how ridiculous the whole war was at that point for those people. Its a difficult read because it jumps and storyline isnt always apparent. But I think its very worth sticking with.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Aran Kedar » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:08 am UTC

For what it's worth, I'm sorry that you have to read this book. I barely finished it, and the only reason I did finish was because it was for a book project and a fairly large chunk of my English grade depended on my doing well on the project. This book is one of the most pointless, random books I've ever heard of. He keeps skipping around from past to present to future to present to future to past to present to past to giraffes to alien planets to World War Two, and so forth and so on. I hated every word, every page, every chapter.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Zohar » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:55 am UTC

Aran Kedar wrote:He keeps skipping around from past to present to future to present to future to past to present to past to giraffes to alien planets to World War Two, and so forth and so on.


Yeah, it's really cool.

I loved the book, personally. It might not be the easiest to read but I found the story and the structure of the book very interesting. Obviously others think differently. While this is the most "erratic" of his books that I've read, I think you should still avoid the others written by him.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby CVSoul » Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:13 pm UTC

Aran Kedar wrote:For what it's worth, I'm sorry that you have to read this book. I barely finished it, and the only reason I did finish was because it was for a book project and a fairly large chunk of my English grade depended on my doing well on the project. This book is one of the most pointless, random books I've ever heard of. He keeps skipping around from past to present to future to present to future to past to present to past to giraffes to alien planets to World War Two, and so forth and so on. I hated every word, every page, every chapter.

In my opinion, if you think that, UR DOIN IT RONG.
I had to read this book twice through to really understand it-- Once so I know what all the plot elements are, again to organize them in my head and enjoy it. When I had to do it for an English class, the teacher gave us a quiz grade to make a timeline after reading the book, and I think that helped a little bit.
I think that the main point to being unstuck in time is to rearange the events to keep the book from getting really stupid halfway through; as far as Pilgrim's timeline goes, his story's climax and conclusion happen pretty within the first 5 years of the story. If the book was written in a sane way, it would really really suck; the first half would be a "war is bad" story of pain and gore, then the second half would be terrible science fiction. It would make even less sense that way.
I personally love the time skipping-- it's a challenge in reading at first, and it makes you feel really smart if you ever know what the heck is going on. But like I said, reading it through twice (maybe with something mindless in between) makes it a lot better.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby zomgmouse » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:17 am UTC

Slaughterhouse-Five - One of my favourites.

To call Billy Pilgrim dull would actually be doing him justice. The whole point was that he's just an ordinary person, who just so happens to be crazy. Didn't you sense that although he has the brain-damaging plane crash, whatever he says is just absolutely frank and real?

Vonnegut writes so simply but powerfully, indifferently, condescendingly, knowingly, deeply. I read Breakfast of Champions, Galapágos and Deadeye Dick (and am planning to read much more), and although this style encompasses all of these novels, I don't think he does this to such effect as in S-F.

If you don't like this novel, I wouldn't say UR DOING IT WRONG to that extent, but you should at least try and consider why he wrote it, and how masterfully he does it. It is understandable that you might see it as 'boring', but once you actually get into it, and start feeling what he writes, then you will enjoy it immensely.

On a side note, he's dead. So it goes.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby pooteeweet » Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:17 am UTC

Till now I don't think I'd ever realized that there are actually people who dislike Vonnegut.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby telkanuru » Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:16 pm UTC

I'm really not entirely sure how anyone could dislike anything he's written. This book is up there with The Great Gatsby and LotR on my all-time favorites list.

To quote the great Stephan Fry, "... I use the word "book" very loosely [...]the Da Vinci Code. It is complete loose stool water. It is arse-gravy of the worst kind."
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Jesse » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:41 pm UTC

Vonnegut is no real human, he's merely a logical extension of James Joyce.

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby protocoach » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:28 pm UTC

pooteeweet wrote:Till now I don't think I'd ever realized that there are actually people who dislike Vonnegut.

Really? I've always gotten the sense that he's one of those massively polarizing authors...you either loved his stuff almost without exception or you hated it almost without exception. Honestly, if you're falling into the second camp, just stop. Reading should never, ever, ever be something you have to force yourself to do; that mentality is why the way we teach literature sucks and why so many people get burned off reading.

That said, I love Vonnegut. I can put up with the wandering storyline, because it seems like I always find a new meaning somewhere in his stories that applies directly to my life. Slaughterhouse 5 came highly recommended to me, from one of my favorite teachers ever, and it lived up to the hype entirely, in my view.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby 0.0 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:33 pm UTC

OP here:
I ended up stopping half way through. Which in itself is sad, because it is pretty short. I do think it killed one of reading spurts (I'm on again off again reader). Lately, I've been winding down at night by watching 2 or 3 episodes of the new Doctor Who. I just got into the show this year and found out it is in its 4th season and since there is nothing on TV worth watching, I bought the first 3 seasons on DVD. So Catch-22 is going to sit for at least a few more weeks, then maybe I can get another "spurt" going. I may stay away from Vonnegut in the future
If you find Slaughter House 5 frustrating to read dont even bother with Catch 22. I loved both books. But neither were easy, straight forward reads. Both required patience and the ability to keep reading without fully understanding whats happening straight away. The answers will come and if you miss them, reread!


I don't think it has anything to do with the ease of the read. I could see what Vonnegut was doing and it just seemed..... whats the word....tedious? Lets just say it brought me no joy. Its like it wanted to be deep but it just didn't get there for me.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby ParanoidAndroid » Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:55 am UTC

I read it earlier this summer, and I really loved it. There weren't really any heroes or villans, just people.

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby boylan » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:34 am UTC

It's odd - some people seem to be having trouble with the time-travel element of it - but I always thought his "becoming unstuck in time" was his way of disassociating from such a horrible, horrible event. Trauma survivors tend to disassociate from their senses when faced with unthinkable horror as a coping mechanism. He can't comprehend what happened, so he just started drifting. And as weird as being on another planet may be - how does that make any less sense than being executed for stealing a teapot?

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby 0.0 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:11 pm UTC

you guys may want to put some spoilers on your posts.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:01 pm UTC

It's an almost 40 year old book. It'll be fine.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby cephalopod9 » Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:04 am UTC

You have a bitter and withered soul. Can I recomend going back to the begining, perhaps starting with some Calvin and Hobbes, some Roald Dahl, or some of the simpler of Ray Bradbury's short stories?
Sorry.
Seriously tho', I would say it is kind of advanced literature. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Ender's Game both have their own literary themes, but for the most part, apreciation of their plots isn't dependant on understanding them. Slaughter House 5 is different in a lot of ways, starting with the fact that it isn't a humor piece (not in the way H2G2 is at anyrate).
It's a little difficult for me to explain; I've been a big reader for as long as I can remember and things like metaphor and allegory (it's been my experience that these are really really hard to teach) are easy for me, so I have trouble wrapping my mind around how there are people who "don't read".
I really would recomend "working your way up to it" a little before coming back to it. The Martian Chronicals by Ray Bradbury has a number of similar themes, but you might find it a bit more accessible (linear, if fragmented, timeline and limitted insanity).
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Marlowe » Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:14 am UTC

0.0 wrote:you guys may want to put some spoilers on your posts.


Vonnegut is very honest with what happens in the book from the first chapter, there's really very little to spoil.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby folkhero » Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:05 am UTC

Pebbles wrote:If you find Slaughter House 5 frustrating to read dont even bother with Catch 22. I loved both books. But neither were easy, straight forward reads. Both required patience and the ability to keep reading without fully understanding whats happening straight away. The answers will come and if you miss them, reread!

Reread indeed.

I am finishing reading Catch-22 for the 2nd time and I'm marveling at how I was able to enjoy it at all the first time I read it. I didn't fulling understand the jumping through time aspect until the end where things get pretty linear anyway. Heller makes references to things that haven't been read yet, or that were explained in an opaque way.

Spoiler:
He talked about the time Snowden "spilled his guts" and "spilled his secret" a number of times before we learned that he literally did spill his guts on the floor of bomber, one of the most memorable passages that I ever remember reading in any piece of fiction.


To fully appreciate this novel, you really do need to read it more than once. I think it would also be hugely helpful to get it read quickly. The first time I read it, I was getting fewer than 100 pages read per week and I had no hope of keeping anything straight, I couldn't tell my Nately's from my Aarfy's. This second reading will be completed in about one week from when I started and that's about as slow as you can go while still making sense of things (unless you have a considerably better memory than I).

Now I'm wishing I wasn't so liberal about loaning books to people. I loaned my copy of Slaughterhouse 5 to someone and they never gave it bake. Rereading Catch 22 really makes me want to reread Slaughterhouse 5.
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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby ParanoidAndroid » Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:28 am UTC

Shoot, I just realized that this book is going to earn me some overdue fees. :\

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Re: slaughterhouse 5

Postby Ati » Sat Aug 02, 2008 5:47 pm UTC

I read this story (along with cat's cradle, breakfast of champions, etc.) when I was thirteen. It was slow going, due to the density of the language and the non-linear storyline. That said, I enjoyed it immensely. It conveyed in excellent, vivid tones, the flat, dead complexion the world takes on to someone with post traumatic stress disorder. Billy Pilgrim is an ordinary guy. He's an optometrist. He goes to war, and terrible things happen to him. Later in life, he gets brain damage in an airplane accident that kills his wife. At this point, he begins to believe that he's been abducted by aliens, and that he can travel through time. It's not a page-turner like the da-vinci code (which is, frankly, drivel). On the other hand, it is something else entirely; literature.
I can kill you with my brain.

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