First, I’ve received word that Charles Shield, whose biography of Harper Lee Mockingbird appeared earlier this year, is working on a biography of Kurt Vonnegut. He would like to know people’s experiences with Vonnegut, either personally or with his novels. You can email me or leave a comment. Vonnegut’s a writer that influenced me early on when I was a freshman in high school. Slaughterhouse-Five was one of the first books I read that challenged my notion of literature. Up until that point, I had been reading mostly classics like Dickens, Steinbeck, Bronte, and Austen. Vonnegut was an eye-opener.
My second piece of business isn’t really business. I just read this article in the NYT today about the London Review of Book’s personals.
A woman in the current issue, for instance, specifies that she is looking for a man “who doesn’t name his genitals after German chancellors” (not even, the ad says, “Prince Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingfürst, however admirable the independence he gave to secretaries of state may have been.”)In an e-mail exchange also conducted on condition that her name not be used, the woman, a 38-year-old local government arts official with an interest in Bismarck, said she been inspired by a disastrous experience with a date who announced over the tiramisu that he called his private parts “Asquith,” after the World War I prime minister.
I’ve been trying to write a personal in my head that would both offend and attract. People, you’re assignment is to write a personal ad in the comments below. With all of our great minds, surely we can come up with some real prizewinners.