Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons
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Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  5,734 ratings  ·  108 reviews
"Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons (Opinions)" is a rare opportunity to experience Kurt Vonnegut speaking in his own voice about his own life, his views of the world, his writing, and the writing of others. An indignant, outrageous, witty, deeply felt collection of reviews, essays, and speeches, this is a window not only into Vonnegut's mind but also into his heart.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 12th 1999 by Dial Press (first published 1974)
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19th out of 35 books — 438 voters
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MJ Nicholls
This collection of nonfiction demonstrates amply why so many people fall headlong in love with Vonnegut—all aspects of his cranky humanity, his unimpeachable morality, his hard-won cynicism are on show over these twenty-five pieces. The title isn’t particularly catchy: readers of Cat’s Cradle will recognise the terms which Vonnegut says represent his dabblings in nonfiction. Not so. Among the brilliance here includes his take on SF as a literary art, his ornery take on the moon landing and a lov...more
Melki
Wampeters--An object around which the lives of otherwise unrelated people revolve, e.g., The Holy Grail.
Foma--Harmless, comforting untruths, e.g., "Prosperity is just around the corner."
Granfalloons--A proud and meaningless association of human beings, e.g., The Veterans of Future Wars.

Taken together, the words form as good an umbrella as any for this collection of essays, book reviews and speeches written over the years by Vonnegut. This review will contain a lot of excerpts, because I can thin...more
Harold
Nothing less than five stars will do for this one.

I wanted to have a better concept of Vonnegut’s personality in preparation for reading Kurt Vonnegut’s biography “And So It Goes.” I thought a book of non-fiction by KV would be appropriate so I revisited this after nearly 40 years since my first reading. I remembered virtually nothing from my original read. My intent was to read a chapter now and then and to alternate with several books of short stories and non-fiction I’ve been reading. After a...more
Kate
I loved this book because I love Kurt Vonnegut and reading his opinions made me feel closer to him as a person, which may sound weird, but I really admire him. I also really enjoyed this book because, even though it was a book of his opinions, he wrote them in a fictional way. I really liked the story "Fortitude" because it was a story about the evils of technology (at least, that's how I read it) and how people succumb to it without realizing that it's happening. I also really liked his intervi...more
Erik Graff
May 01, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vonnegut fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
I like Kurt Vonnegut not only for his humorous and imaginative novels and short stories but also for his politics, his values. Not only has he added his name to many a worthy petition and appeared on many a plstform, but when The Nation, the oldest news weekly magazine in the USA, was in financial trouble, Vonnegut, Doctorow, Vidal and other writers bailed them out without demanding editorial control. This collection represents something of where Vonnegut came from and what he believed in, much...more
Mmkay
Hasło "Vonnegut" mnie przyciąga. Przeczytałem dotąd kilka różnych książek pisarza, i choć muszę przyznać, że z poziomem mojego zainteresowania było różnie, to regularnie przyciągał mnie sposób pisania autora. Tym razem nie było inaczej.

"Wampetery, foma i granfalony" to przede wszystkim zbiór tekstów pisanych do czasopism i przemówień. Zdarzają się też tu recenzje książek, a także jedno opowiadanie. Długość tekstów jest różna, niektóre mieszczą się na dwóch stronach, najdłuższy tekst ma stron czt...more
James Payne
A little of this goes a long way. I haven't read Vonnegut in almost a decade. I'm continually bemused at how weak I'm finding the arguments and sentiments in leftist writing that I enjoyed as a teen to be. In this non-fiction collection, Vonnegut gives us piles of overly general, and generally unimaginative, moralizing - ironic given Vonnegut's fictive inventiveness. One of Vonnegut's rhetorical strategies is to portray himself as isolated in one of his different regional and class aspects when...more
kate
Not my favorite Vonnegut, but an interesting collection of his non-fiction, with a bizarre one act play for added flavor. His review of fear and loathing on the campaign trail 1972 offers a good insight into his opinions of his contemporaries. His report on biafra is a heartbreaking chronicle of a country that has already been forgotten. I guess it's time to go back and read his fiction again.
Jim
Good stuff here for fans and for future fans. A good read if you're a writer or want to be in the future.
Aaron
Another series of speeches, interviews, articles and opinions. I skipped a few if they didn’t interest me, but several of the speeches, and the 50 page interview with Playboy Magazine to finish off the book were REALLY good. It's weird that as I get older, I seem to think some of his cynicism about government is a little extreme, but other aspects of it (like his views on culture, the importance of 'it takes a village'-ness, and the rich vs. the poor) are perfect. and still very relevant Probabl...more
Hansen Wendlandt
WFG includes Vonnegut’s gripes from Biafara to capitalism, religion and poetry—an amalgam of pessimistic gold in a wooden world…
On religion, it suffices to read one page. Morality? “We don’t need bigger brains. We don’t need more information. All that is required is that we become less selfish than we are.” (166) Spirituality? “The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy: To teach the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to console the sad, to reprove the sinner, to forgive the offender, to bear with the...more
Anne
I enjoyed the Playboy Interview at the end of this book the most. But here are some other great passages:
"Well - it would be a drab world without meaningless social aggregations. There would be a lot fewer smiles, and about one-hundredth as many publications."
"Earthlings who have felt that the Creator clearly wanted this or that have almost always been pigheaded and cruel. You bet."
"Kids don't learn nice manners in high school anymore. If they met a person who was in favor of building a device w...more
wally
....ooooo....opinions.....

give it a shot. you get some idea of vonnegut, the man, where he came from, what his obsessions include, what he ignores and so you wonder why...he had a sheepdog named sandy. sandy sounds like an interesting dog. he took a trip down the inter-coastal waterway aboard a yacht owned by joe kennedy...the trip consumed 1,522 gallons of gasoline and elsewhere vonnegut worries about the planet, all we're consuming. and so on.

interesting tale about biafra...he went there w/van...more
Paul
Dec 12, 2007 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vonnegut Enthusiasts
Shelves: vonnegut
While this compilation consists mainly of what seems to be speeches to the intelligent, sensitive elite there are moments where Vonnegut's voice tenders on single events and themes, something his books avoid.
Whereas his novels have diverse intricate morals, Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons often gives the reader the opportunity to read exactly what was ravaging Vonnegut's opinion. The most personal event comes in his report of the doom in Biafra. Writing with the intimate conviction that is abs...more
matt


Collected incidental prose from one of America's wise men. Vonnegut gives his take on a variety of topics- Biafra, the South, politics, commonsensical subversion from a man who had truly seen it all.

I think that one of the regrettable things about living in the modern moment is that people seem to ape his hard, sarcastic, yet chillingly blase and snickering style as the true voice of experience: "Hi ho, So It Goes, etc" though Vonnegut seemed to be one of those people who were really and truly...more
Traci
Vonnegut has some amazing things to say in this book. It's a collection of opinion or essay pieces rather than a novel. One or two of the pieces are kind of boring but the rest I highly recommend.

On America, Vonnegut says:

"And her dad (Nixon) would say in an acceptance speech that night among other things, 'We covet no one else's territory. We seek no dominion over any other people. We seek peace not only for ourselves but for all the peoples in the world.' This was what he had said on Russian t...more
Tracey
It seems somewhat appropriate to be reading Wampeters, Foma and Grandfalloons at this point in time as several of the enclosed essays deal with war.

Specifically, Vietnam, but also a heartbreaking piece on Biafra, which existed "for three Christmases and a little more"; a country that most of my generation have probably never heard of. Vonnegut also writes about the Cape Cod mutilations of 1968-69 - for which I could only find one passing reference on the web. (Most of the Biafra links on the Web...more
David
Wampeters offers a look at Vonnegut the man, a sort of back-stage pass to how his brain works. The first-person writings include essays, reviews of other authors' work, speeches, and the collection-ending Playboy interview—the latter of which he alludes in the introduction to having doctored.

The book is almost as much a window into the contemporary political climate (and Vonnegut's views thereon) as it is a collection of the author's works. What I enjoyed most were the speeches, which mix his sa...more
Beckie
I don't think I have read any Vonnegut, save for one of the short stories in this book which seemed very familiar, until now. Recommended by a long-time online friend, I am glad I listened to him and read it. I really liked the essays, though some of them, for me, were emotionally draining and I would have to stop reading for the rest of the day. Unlike so many literary works, I actually understand a lot of what he is saying, and I agree with so many things he wrote about regarding firearms and...more
Brian
Looking for a paperback to take with me on the plane for vacation I grabbed this off the "Vonnegut" shelf at home. Some really good stuff - interesting to read this right after reading his "Letters".
Travis Roberson
This is the last Kurt Vonnegut book I had to read. Now that I am finished with this one I have read everything ever published by Vonnegut. It's such a bittersweet moment.

This, like Fates Worse Than Death and Palm Sunday, is yet another collage of opinions, speeches, and essays but Vonnegut. A little, quirky play is even thrown in. There are maybe one or two dull chapters, but this is still a book that lets you delve even farther into Vonnegut's brilliant mind. And it just makes you wish that you...more
Beth
My first Vonnegut book, purchased at Dolan Books in Renfrew, Ontario, Canada. Short stories and lectures, an excellent if obscure Vonnegut primer.
Mirabella
This is a collection of short essays written by Vonnegut on varying subjects. Not my favorite of his works but not bad.
Patrick Gibson
‘Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons’ is a collection of essays, speeches, and reviews from Kurt - along with one piece of fiction and one interview. Certainly, it isn't on par with his fiction, but neither does it pretend to be. This is a book for those who have already read most of what else Kurt Vonnegut has written. The reviews are nothing to write home about, though some of the essays are quite good - but his public speeches, as always, make for excellent reading. There is a handful of them...more
Frank
This is one of those collections of stuff he didn't really intend to publish, or at least be remembered for, collections.

Some of it is crap.

Some of it is astounding: only a few souls showed up for a writers retreat that hosted him, Richard Yates, and a couple other guys.

But most of it is why his opinions fit better into his quirky stories: they are full of obvious contridictions, which he does acknowledge at times.

It's a very timely read actually as a lot of them deal with war and trusting gov'...more
Eduardo Santiago
The column on the 1972 Republican convention was eerie. It could have been written yesterday: the grandstanding, the hypocrisy, the jesus, the warmongering, the contempt for anyone with insufficient golf club memberships. Even the peaceful protesters and the police intimidation thereof. Forty years. The names have changed. Nothing else has.

On the whole, not a good book: inconsistent, often dated, occasionally incoherent. But the good stuff—his essay on Biafra, the abovementioned column, the Play...more
Chris
I learned from this book a good bit of what was already apparent to me from reading Vonnegut's fiction. He had seemingly little faith in humanity and a learned pessimism that came in part, probably, from serving in the military and possessing more than half a brain. This book is a collection of essays and written versions of speeches that he gave after becoming a famous author. It's an interesting glimpse of the thoughts of someone I consider to be a master. It wasn't an amazing reading experien...more
Dcj2
First read this in high-school, and still have the 1976 Dell edition I read then. I remember being very impressed by Vonnegut then, but I guess the cynicism of age makes yesterday's revelations seem pretty obvious today. Vonnegut's unmistakable style holds up, even though this is non-fiction, so fans of his other work won't be disappointed. I especially enjoyed his reminiscence of cruising the Kennedy family yacht down the inland waterway from Connecticut to Florida. Almost Twain-esque, in a twi...more
Laura
Kurt Vonnegut was an all around brilliant man. I thoroughly enjoy reading his work. Though I prefer his novels to his collections of short stories or opinions, I would never turn them down. This book is full of opinions in the form of short essays and speeches, including one play and one interview. Though it dragged at a few points, the overall experience is very valuable to a Vonnegut fan. I am eager to learn as much as possible about his life, and this book was an excellent addition to my shel...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...more
More about Kurt Vonnegut...
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“If somebody says 'I love you' to me, I feel as though I had a pistol pointed at my head. What can anybody reply under such conditions but that which the pistol holder requires? 'I love you, too'.” 432 likes
“Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?” 121 likes
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