Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut” as Want to Read:
Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  973 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Kurt Vonnegut says: "I've worked with enough students to know what beginning writers are like, and if they will just talk to me for twenty minutes I can help them so much, because there are such simple things to know. Make a character want something-that's how you begin." William Rodney Allen teaches English at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. He is th ...more
Paperback, 356 pages
Published October 1st 1988 by University Press of Mississippi (first published 1988)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Dec 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: libraryread
Continuing with my Vonnegut kick, I checked this out from the library. A collection of interviews that spans nearly 30 years of his career (1969 - 1987), this book provides a level of insight into his personality and inspirations, as well as his current projects.

Naturally, there's a good deal of repetition - he is asked about being a "black humorist" many times & uses several of the same anecdotes over and over. One of the later interviews was repeated verbatim in Palm Sunday, another recen
Apr 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Finished Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut yesterday and this morning learned the unfortunate news that he died yesterday. Of the book, like every other in the "conversations with authors" series, the interviews do seem to become monotonous. This is good and bad – on the one hand, it's comforting and on the other, it's disappointing – both going to expectations and disappointments in what any writer is capable of. There are limits to wit and anecdote and spontaneity, after all. Of Kurt specifical ...more
Megan Anderson
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
A collection of interviews conducted with Kurt Vonnegut from various sources dating from 1969 to 1999. A very interesting read if you’re a big Vonnegut fan or an aspiring writer.

It’s funny: I’m pretty sure that this book, which weighs in at about 330 pages, is longer than any of the books that Vonnegut actually wrote. I really loved getting to know some of Vonnegut’s biographical history and his thought processes. I also thought it was interesting to see how his interests and goals changed. For
Travis Roberson
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author of all time. He has been for quite some time now. I was so happy to finally get my hands on this book. Nothing but interviews picking the brain of the genius that is Vonnegut.

At times, the interviews can get a tad repetitive-- the same questions asked, the same answers given. But Vonnegut has always been a fan of repeating himself.

Many of the interviews were rather insightful, and I learned a couple of new things I never knew about this incredible man. It als
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Definitely suggest reading this only after you've read a good amount of his other works. "Meeting my Maker: a visit with Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., by Kilgore Trout" is especially worth the read.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I shouldn't have tried to read this book straight through but it was still worth it. At the least provocation and seemingly at random, Vonnegut comes out with incredible bits of wisdom. Not every interview is a hit and there's a fair amount of repetition, especially in the post- Slaughterhouse-Five/ early-70s ones, but I'm glad to have read the whole book.
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
This collection of interviews, spanning 1969 through 1999 (in the later edition) will be of interest to hardcore Vonnegut fans, but it is less engaging than Vonnegut's own volumes of non-fiction. When first published, in 1988, this collection reprinted several items which had already appeared in "Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons" (1974) and "Palm Sunday" (1981), rendering this title partially redundant. More significantly, however, is the fact that Vonnegut, as an author who was frequently bei ...more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Fun to read, but I guess I don't need quite that much Vonnegut. A couple quotes:

On the autobiographical aspect of Slaughterhouse-Five:
"As a groggy war prisoner he witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, 'a terrible thing for the son of an architect to see.'"

"Ordinarily, living authors are not good friends with one another. It is, and I have talked this over withother authors, part of our stock in trade--not hating other authors, but pitying them. [laugh] There is nothing a living author has writ
Jay C
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
300+ pages of interviews of Vonnegut, sequenced chronologically. More great insight into a great author. Helps if you've read most of his works, but this isn't required to enjoy the book. Somewhat repetitive at times, as interviewers tend to ask the same or similar questions. I read it for the book club at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, which met today. That groups average rating - on a scale of 10 - was 7.2.
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Take the repetition as a lesson that needs to be heard over and over to be learned. Vonnegut's voice, in both his writing and his interviews, comforts and stresses in tandem.
A few things to remember:
-Simple isn't an insult
-G**damnit, you've got to be kind.
-Some of the best things are harmless untruths and horsesh*t
There are two types of artists. Which are you?
Kealan O'ver
Nov 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Merely a collection of interviews spanning 30 years but they are interviews with Kurt Vonnegut which makes them some of the best interviews you'll read. Although because the interviewers are different some of the topics do get repeated over again.
Dan Tasse
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
Eh, it would have been great at 100 pages! At 300+, its a little long. There's only so much chatting with Kurt Vonnegut I'm interested in.
Still a fan of the guy. But I quit reading this about 3/4 through because I wasn't really getting much out of the interviews anymore.
Dec 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
I only read part of this, while hanging out in the Charlotte public library in 1990.Interesting thoughts on the Vietnam war and why he would (if younger) want to go there (during the war) to find out what is really going on.
Genevieve Dewey
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has ever wanted to write (heck, anyone who has ever aspired to do anything) should read this book. It is a great collection of insightful shorts with one of the best American writers and humorists ever. Wonderful advice on not taking the process (or yourself) too seriously.
Sep 26, 2013 rated it liked it
lots of ranting with some very funny bits every now and then.
Hermeenie Drossos
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
he is a GOD!!! what a pleasure reading his thoughts. Loved!
Brenda Wood
Great read!
rated it really liked it
Sep 03, 2016
rated it really liked it
Apr 09, 2008
rated it it was amazing
Apr 25, 2012
rated it liked it
Aug 30, 2011
Cody Cook
rated it really liked it
May 09, 2011
rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Mar 11, 2013
P.L. Thomas
rated it really liked it
Jun 30, 2016
rated it liked it
Feb 13, 2013
rated it really liked it
Jun 30, 2014
Maxie K
rated it it was amazing
Dec 26, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Mar 21, 2010
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Like Shaking Hands with God: A Conversation About Writing
  • And So it Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life
  • Love as Always, Kurt: Vonnegut as I Knew Him
  • The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity
  • The Use and Abuse of Literature
  • The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends
  • Expletives Deleted: Selected Writings
  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature
  • Was This Man a Genius?: Talks With Andy Kaufman
  • Venus on the Half-Shell
American author and former Professor of English at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. He received his PhD from Duke University, and was a faculty member at LSMSA from the time the school first opened in 1983 until his retirement in 2011. He is married to Cindy Allen, a counselor at the school, and has two daughters, Emily and Claire, with her. He has many interests, which includ ...more
More about William Rodney Allen

Nonfiction Deals

  • Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's Anorexia
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Manic: A Memoir
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
    $19.99 $1.99
  • The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Without a Doubt
    $5.99 $2.49
  • The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done (Harperbusiness Essentials)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Paris Letters
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
    $13.74 $1.99
  • My Cross to Bear
    $11.24 $1.99
  • The Warrior Ethos
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Chance in this world
    $5.99 $0.99
  • It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Everyday Zen
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Make Good Art
    $9.99 $1.99
  • In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Somebody Else's Kids
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Maude
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Here Is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Revised Edition)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Rational Optimist (P.S.)
    $14.49 $2.99
  • Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Of Wolves and Men (Scribner Classics)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • God: A Story of Revelation
    $8.74 $1.99
  • In My Skin: A Memoir of Addiction
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book
    $10.95 $1.99
  • The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000 BC - 1492 AD
    $13.99 $2.99
  • I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Belles on Their Toes
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dharma Punx: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
    $10.99 $1.99
“I felt after I finished Slaughterhouse-Five that I didn’t have to write at all anymore if I didn’t want to. It was the end of some sort of career. I don’t know why, exactly. I suppose that flowers, when they’re through blooming, have some sort of awareness of some purpose having been served. Flowers didn’t ask to be flowers and I didn’t ask to be me. At the end of Slaughterhouse-Five…I had a shutting-off feeling…that I had done what I was supposed to do and everything was OK .” 483 likes
More quotes…