Like many of you I’m sure, I cut my literary teeth on Kurt Vonnegut, who died early this morning. My dad gave me three of Vonnegut’s books–Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse Five, and The Sirens of Titan–when I was about eleven or twelve. It’s a cliché, but these books really did change my life forever. In the next couple of years, I devoured everything Vonnegut wrote. My favorite book of his was and is Cat’s Cradle, which I think surpasses both Mother Night and Slaughterhouse Five as his most important work. As I grew older, I began to reject Vonnegut, to see him as not as serious or profound as the authors I was reading. His later books like Hocus Pocus and the truly-lamentable Timequake didn’t help either. Nevertheless, I read them as soon as they came out in paperback. I had to. I had to read everything he wrote. Celebrate Vonnegut’s life by reading one of his books, and remember what got you into reading in the first place.