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Bagombo Snuff Box

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,005 Ratings  ·  276 Reviews
Before the Golden Age of magazines drew to a close halt a century ago, a young PR man at General Electric sold his first short story to one of the doomed publications. By the time he'd sold his third, he decided to quit GE and join the likes of Hemingway and Fitzgerald and try to make a living at $1,500 a pop. With four major magazines running five stories each week and sm ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 295 pages
Published February 3rd 2000 by Vintage (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melki
Jul 09, 2012 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess Vonnegut is known mostly for his novels, but I've always been a big fan of his short fiction. No one else seems to pack such vitality into so few pages, and this collection really highlights his versatility.

Some of the stories are humorous - a realtor learns a thing or two from some prospective buyers, a town comes to regret embracing an efficiency expert, and a mob Santa Claus receives a special present.

And some are bittersweet - a man attempts to pawn a wartime souvenir, a school ba
...more
Hrishabh Chaudhary
What a surely, purely, coincidentally, appropriate title!

I say this, because this book is nothing short of a snuff box for a Vonnegut fan and that is how I have been using it for past 2 weeks. One or two stories a day to make my troubles drop away.


The book contains 23 wonderful stories, accompanied by a brilliant preface by Peter Reed ( author of at least 4 books on Vonnegut and his works) and an introduction by Kurt Vonnegut himself, which contains his eight rules for creative writing, out of w
...more
Patdmac7
Dec 10, 2009 Patdmac7 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Creative Writing 101:
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things-reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in ord
...more
MJ Nicholls
A collection of Vonnegut's earliest work for '50s/60s periodicals.

As the Master himself points out in the marvellous introduction, these are embryonic stories, stylistically clumsy and written purely for financial gain.

This doesn't make the work any less playful and Vonnegutian, though the bulk of these stories have a more moralistic feel to them, and only shades of the postmodern hilarity he would become known for is evident throughout.

Thanasphere and 2BRO2B are the only sci-fi entries. The r
...more
Oriana
Oct 05, 2011 Oriana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't care if you ever read this book, and in fact, though I know I did (and apparently gave it three stars several years ago), I don't remember anything from it except for the intro. Please allow me to reproduce a small chunk of that here:

Kurt Vonnegut's Creative Writing 101:
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is o
...more
Meredith
This book is a collection of some of Vonnegut's earliest short stories, written for weekly and monthly magazines. They're interesting as a perspective on this era, when "serious" literary authors, or at least burgeoning ones, wrote for magazines, as well as writing full-length novels. They're also an interesting look into Vonnegut's earliest writing style (although he admits in a postscript that he could not help editing the ending of many of the chapters). That being said, they're not as enjoya ...more
Olga Godim
Dec 22, 2013 Olga Godim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mainstream
Although this book was compiled in 1999, it contains the author’s early short stories, published in magazines in the 1950s and ’60s. It was not an easy or a fast book to read but it was powerful and it made an impression. I won’t re-read it; it didn’t give me much pleasure, which is why 4 stars instead of 5 stars, but I’ll remember it.
The stories are all about a small man in America. A couple stories have a scifi slant, but their speculative flavor is unimportant. The spotlight in all the stori
...more
Vishal
Mar 24, 2016 Vishal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and varied - if at times a bit dry - collection of Vonnegut's stories, where he sets out to do his favourite thing; get the reader to reset their moral compass, take off the mask of pretension and find themselves.

As he describes himself, writing is the process of making one's soul grow and that aim comes through here.
Erik Graff
May 01, 2012 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vonnegut fans
Recommended to Erik by: Lawrence Santoro
Shelves: literature
Larry Santoro, a GoodReads author, gave this book as a Christmas present during the period when I and others would go to his home almost weekly to watch videos from his enormous movie collection. It is early Vonnegut and definitely not his best, but if you like the man as the writer he became, then it's probably worth reading.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Bagombo Snuff box: uncollected short fiction, Kurt Vonnegut
عنوان: انفیهدان باگومبو؛ نویسنده: کورت ونه گات؛ مترجمها: روحی افسر؛ شهرزاد مهدوی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، کلاغ سفید، 1386، در 422 ص، شابک: 9789649165417؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 20 م

...more
Lull Wain
Oct 19, 2012 Lull Wain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vonnegut is the master of short forms. Short stories can have a greatness, if they're short enough and great enough in their shortness.
"Bagombo Snuff Box" is an assortment of short stories written by Kurt Vonnegut. All of them was initially published in the 1950-60s, but they didn't appear in Vonnegut's previous collection, "Welcome to the Monkey House". I was really glad to see this new anthology.
In the foreword, author says: "While I am reading [a short story], my pulse and breathing slow do
...more
Hamid
May 14, 2011 Hamid rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
تو دهه پنجاه و اوایل دهه شصت میلادی، وونهگات برای مجلات و روزنامهها داستان کوتاه مینوشته. بعد از شهرتی که به واسطه رمانهاش به دست میاره، سراغ داستانهای اون دورهش میرند و یه منتخبی از اون داستانها رو تو کتاب به خانه میمون خوش آمدید چاپ میکنند. داستانهایی که تو این کتاب اومده، باقی داستان کوتاههای وونهگاته که تو به خانه میمون خوش آمدید چاپ نشدند. داستانهایی که به قول خود وونهگات اگه شهرت رمانهاش نبود، هیچوقت کسی سراغشون نمیرفت.
داستانها در کل ضعیفند. خیلی از داستانها رسما رو پایهی نتیجه اخلاقی بنا
...more
Alan Perry
Aug 31, 2007 Alan Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked this book up at the beginning of the year. Having read Timequake a while back, I thought it was about time I read some more of Vonneguts work, this seemed to be a good place to start. A great collection of all his early short stories which had been published in various American literary magazines over the years, it's a wonderful insight into his beginnings of a novelist. The detail of emotion and feeling which he puts into the many personalities in the book leaves you with no doubt that ...more
Mindy
I have often heard reference to Kurt Vonnegut and was interested in finding out what all the fuss was about. I'm not sure this collection of short stories truly gives an accurate understanding of his writing style.
These stories have the feel of Stephen King, Ray Bradbury (as Kurt himself mentions a kinship) or the Twilight Zone. The stories each have a unique twist to them that allows the reader to experience a shocking or surprising ending each time. Many of the stories include characters of t
...more
Amy
Nov 03, 2007 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
maybe i'm really not a short story person and then again maybe vonnegut's a better novelist than a short story writer but it took me months to get through this collection and there were few stories that i found myself really wanting to finish except to get on to the next one. i was consistently disappointed and found myself on an 8 hour flight where i'd rather watch something called "wildhogs" than read vonnegut. i didn't even think that was possible.
Landon Beeson
This is a collection of short stories that are all kind of... well... boring except for one, which is absolutely incredible. That story is called 2BRO2B. This story is a crazy futuristic dystopian society that turns out so creepy it rocks! You could probably find this story without buying the whole book. It would be worth your time to skip the others. They are okay, but nothing special.

Chickens McShiterson
Aug 02, 2015 Chickens McShiterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This was the first collection of Vonnegut's short stories I ever read- some time back in 2002, I think. I still think it is his best collection, though I have about three more to read before I make up my mind permanently. By far, this is his most traditional and direct writing, and it is still as highly enjoyable as his bizarre and postmodern output.

The Breakdown:
"Thanasphere" - A+
"Mneumonics" - C-
"Any Reasonable Offer" - A+
"The Package" - A+
"The No-Talent Kid" - B+
"Poor Little Rich Town" - B+
"
...more
Zeynep K
vonnegut describes the act of reading short stories as "buddhist catnaps". since i've taken actual catnaps on the sofa while reading his stories, i think he's got a point.

most of the stories in this collection are about little human moments here and there. they are poignant with the perfect amount of satire in the kindest way. i think 2br02b would be a better fit for the welcome to the monkey house collection, it's not so much of a buddhist catnap. i'm glad it isn't though because it's haunting
...more
Josh
Jul 10, 2014 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those who know Vonnegut primarily from his novels will find this collection-- short stories first published in magazines and periodicals-- to be a revelation, simultaneously true to the spirit of Vonnegut and quite different from his better-known works. True, there's nothing here quite as savage as 'Cat's Cradle' or 'Slaughterhouse Five,' yet there is treasure aplenty: Some grimly funny tales that remind me a bit of Flannery O'Connor, and some amiably low-key charmers that tip their hats toward ...more
Liza
Oct 07, 2014 Liza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things-reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader ma
...more
caroline
Jul 20, 2015 caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, own
3.5 stars
Ben
This is another Vonnegut short story collection. My guess is that these are the Welcome to the Monkey House rejects. There are a couple of good stories (Thanosphere, 2BR02B) and a few that are decent, but most of them are just "meh".
Mister Misfortune
This collection of short stories was my introduction to Vonnegut a few months ago. After having read each story at least twice, I have concluded that it is essential for the beginning Vonnegut fan. The introduction to the collection (which was written by Vonnegut himself) is one of the best I have ever read, full of humor and truth, which sets up the collection perfectly. In it, Vonnegut makes references to Ray Bradbury and his inability to drive and his confusion when learning of the fact that ...more
Golu
Jan 21, 2016 Golu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full Disclosure: I am a big fan of Short Stories !
This is the first time that I have read (heard actually) Kurt Vonnegut.
I must say that I am gob-smacked at the huge variety of literature that he has written in a single collection.
The stories are funny, witty, philosophical and on the whole very satisfying to read. I smiled at so many passages, that I have lost count !
It actually appears that the stories were written by different writers, given the large number of setting, tenor of the stories a
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Pre-science-fiction Vonnegut. From the days when he was a nobody and sold stories to periodicals just to keep food on the table. "Souvenir" is probably the best one in the bunch.
Darina
Mar 28, 2014 Darina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for something similar to the fantastical novels of Kurt Vonnegut, this is not the book for you, except for two stories: the first one titled "Thanosphere", and the u/dystopian "2BR02B".
But if you enjoy looking into people's souls and actions, especially after the WWII, it's a lovely and charming exploration of various ordinary but sympathetic characters: from a school band conductor to an efficiency consultant.
There is wit *and* warmth in these short stories and I'm glad they
...more
Calvin Boyer
Dec 10, 2013 Calvin Boyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
Vonnegut is funny, clever, sad--from page to page one never can be sure what is next other than a good read in each story!
Sarahlucas
Jan 19, 2015 Sarahlucas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-25
Babombo Snuff Box is a collection of Kurt Vonnegut's short stories. It was the first collection of his short stories that I had read, and I hold it very close to my heart. Kurt Vonnegut is my all time favorite author. I love his humor and his dry style of writing. I prefer his short stories to any of his novels I have read, because I feel like he is the true master of short stories. He is able to use his craft to make short pieces of art that say everything he means to say while making the reade ...more
Lynetta
Jun 19, 2012 Lynetta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Many “old” movies and books are dated by hair, clothes, words. In contrast, Kurt Vonnegut’s Bagombo Snuff Box, short stories published in popular magazines to avoid working for companies such as General Electric, are still current.

“Thanasphere” theorizes on what astronauts will find when they enter space. …”thousands of them, thousands of them, all around me, standing on nothing, shimmering like northern lights…”

“ Mnemonics” is a short report of what happens when Alfred Moorhead takes a memory
...more
Michael Tildsley
May 18, 2013 Michael Tildsley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty interesting set of short stories. Quite a few times, I had to flip to the cover and make sure that I was still reading Kurt Vonnegut, and not Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, or Rod Serling. I am a fan of Vonnegut's short stories. Welcome to the Monkey House is also fantastic.

He has a different feel than when he is writing novels, sure, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I like that he isn't so nihilistic here, though a lot of his humor comes from some of his more grim poin
...more
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Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journali
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“Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” 102 likes
“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” 89 likes
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