Friday, November 18, 2011

So It Goes at the Vonnegut Library

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis is small but mighty. Offbeat tidbits from his life stock the displays, such as his Pall Mall cigarettes, Purple Heart medal, and the box where he kept his rejection letters. Each month the library frames a different letter and hangs it on the wall, ie:

"I was glad to read your story To Dust Return. I am sorry that I cannot write to you about it with enthusiasm.... I'm afraid you have tried to substitute novelty for real dramatic narrative. This sometimes works but very seldom. I'm afraid that I must, therefore, tell you that you should look elsewhere for an agent.... Yours, Larabie Cunningham, McIntosh & Otis Inc., NY, NY"

The library also replicates Vonnegut's office, complete with checkerboard carpet, red rooster lamp and blue Coronamatic typewriter. Visitors can sit at the desk and type Kurt a note, which the library then publishes via Twitter from the name @kurtstypewriter.

A few months ago, the library formed a Banned Book Response Team to give away free copies of Slaughterhouse-Five to students in Republic, MO, where the book is restricted. Yes, Billy Pilgrim and friends continue to cause controversy by swearing and having sex, even 42 years after publication.

Click here for a random, rock-n-roll Billy Pilgrim sidebar.

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