An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce (A Man without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut)

Feels like every second book I read is a Vonnegut.

The problem with maintaining a list of what I read is that I can’t make statements like that anymore. Well, I can, as long as I don’t mind facing the fact that it’s not true, not even a little.

There is a problem with reading so much Vonnegut though, and it’s nothing to do with the quality of the literature and the level of enjoyment. I love Vonnegut. It has a little to do with being depressed about humanity, there’s a lot to be depressed about and he captures it so devastatingly well. But mostly it’s just that, despite his long, productive career, I’d be out of books to read within a very few months.

As you can see, it’s been at least three books since my last Vonnegut. As it happens, it has been exactly three books. The last book I read before I started Reading the Why was A Man without a Country, a collection of writings in one of which Vonnegut explains how humour is the best defense against the awfulness in the world, and how the awfulness wins out in the end. He mentions–

That break was me trying to find the reference to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce–“the greatest American short story”–and thereby explaining how I came across it and why I wanted to read it. I had some troubles. In the end I had to practically re-read A Man without a Country, which explains the title of this post. Incidentally, every second book I read could be Vonnegut, if I just read him over and over. There are a quite a few I really want to read again.

-Reading the Why


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