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10 More Great Kurt Vonnegut Quotes

Kurt Vonnegut drawingIn the spirit of Banned Books Week, I have been going back through my collection and looking for the most subversive authors I can find. I never have to look very far on my bookshelves to find something by Kurt Vonnegut. I recently read Cat’s Cradle again and was struck by the brilliance of the Calypso verses from the Books of Bokonon. I laughed because I realized that many Kurt Vonnegut quotes act as my own Calypsos.They guide me as much as anything can.

So today I’m going to give you five more quotes from the man who basically said everything as well as it could possibly be said.

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

“Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn’t mean we deserve to conquer the universe.”

“There’s only one me, and I’m stuck with him.”

“Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”

“We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.”

“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?”

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion . . . . I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”

“Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile!”

“The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms”

Damn it, Kurt, I miss you…


PS: If you have never seen any of the Kurt Vonnegut drawings that he did, check out Breakfast of Champions or some or the art on Vonnegut.com. They’re pretty excellent.

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  • Cyndi September 29, 2010, 9:44 pm

    I love these.

  • Milo September 30, 2010, 3:17 am

    The man truly was a genius wordsmith, mixing brilliant insights with humour like few others have managed. That ‘trapped in the amber of the moment’ line is ridiculously profound!

  • Ray September 30, 2010, 1:24 pm

    My favorite Vonnegut book is Breakfast of Champions just because its sheer enjoyability as a book. My favorite quote was from Cat’s Cradle though about: She’s a fool, so am I, and so is anyone who thinks they see what God is doing.

    • Josh Hanagarne September 30, 2010, 8:33 pm

      It’s my favorite too. I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed a book more, page by page.

  • Jonathan Manor October 1, 2010, 4:46 pm

    The standing on the edge quote is my favorite.

    I never read Vonnegut. I did try over and over though. The first few pages of any book I picked up by him always felt as if Palahnuik was trying to teach a class to me. Too fast to keep up.

    • Zahara March 13, 2012, 12:47 pm

      I know the feeling, I tried to read Slaughter house 5 first about a dozen times but each time only made it a few pages, try 2br02b it’s a free download and because it’s a short story it doesn’t get too complex. Since then I’ve worked my way through all of his short stories and most of his books. Oddly having come to love vonneguts styles I read Slaughter house 5 and loved it but it just required getting into his style.
      Personally my favourite is Slapstick or Lonesome no more to me the ideas were genius and having reread it about 50 times I love it more each time. I have often wondered what fans and Vonnegut himself found so objection about it.

      “They were innocent great apes, with limited means for doing mischief, which, in my opinion as an old, old man, is all that human beings were ever meant to be.”