I just finished Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., copyright 1968. Not quite as old as me, but close.
I had heard Vonnegut was one of America's most important writers and this book made him so. How could I not read it? I was prepared to be wowed. I was prepared to be bored. I was also prepared to be depressed because the alternate title is "The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance With Death," and I heard the book was all about Vonnegut's WWII experience as a prisoner of war and witness to the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany.
Boy was I wrong.
Let's see...how to sum up for those who haven't read it? Is there anyone left out there who hasn't read it? I'm pretty sure I was the only one, but here goes:
It is a novel. I suppose that should go without saying, but if I thought it was an autobiography about a hellish and depressing time in some guy's life maybe someone else out there does, too.
Now that we have established it is fiction, I present Vonnegut's opening line: "All this happened, more or less." And there you have it. He narrates a story about a guy named Billy who experiences the real life things Vonnegut experienced, but who also gets unstuck in time and is abducted by aliens. It is funny and sad and strange and...a classic. At 215 pages, it is also a quick read.
My favorite line (as spoken by the character Kilgore Trout, a batty author and the main character's idol): "I put everything that happens to me in books."
Vonnegut would have been a blogger, I'm sure of it.