Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

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Books by Title/Title=topic name > _God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian_ by Kurt Vonnegut (1999)

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message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Mar 05, 2016 04:03PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (79-page book) by Kurt Vonnegut (first published in 1999)
BELOW IS FROM MY GR REVIEW:
I have finally gotten around to reading this very short book in which Kurt Vonnegut imagines himself as a reporter interviewing famous dead people. I must say that the satire and irony is delicious! You have to read the book to get the real sense of it. No amount of explanation can deliver the real effect of it.

Each interview is a very short vignette, making the reading of the book very easy. But after you finish reading each vignette, you're tempted to go back and savor it again to get all the "juice" out of it. Vonnegut is the master of irony and satire!

The title of the book refers to the imaginary process in which Dr. Kevorkian facilitates the interviews by allowing Vonnegut to have numerous "near-death" experiences. Vonnegut thereby arrives at the Pearly Gates through a blue tunnel. He then interviews his subjects, famous people, who are well known to us all for their good deeds and their bad. I gave it FIVE STARS!

Here's a link to my review which has more information:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments I need to read this. Unfortunately, my library doesn't have it available as an audio download, so I haven't gotten around to it. He can be funny.


message 3: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "I need to read this. Unfortunately, my library doesn't have it available as an audio download, so I haven't gotten around to it. He can be funny."

Jim, I think it would be better appreciated if you read it instead of listening to an audio version. Reading gives you time to savor what he says. Audio lets what he says get by too quickly. Just my opinion.


message 4: by C. (new)

C. McKenzie (cleemckenzie) | 1 comments The audio experience is so different than the reading. First, it's terribly slow for me, and second I miss the ability to interpret the characters and emotions myself. Voice actors are often great, but I'm a do-it-myself kind of reader.

I haven't read this book, but it is on my list. I'm a Vonnegut reader.


message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments C. wrote: "The audio experience is so different than the reading. First, it's terribly slow for me, and second I miss the ability to interpret the characters and emotions myself. Voice actors are often great, but I'm a do-it-myself kind of reader. ..."

Hi C. Thanks for posting here. Yes, the two experiences are very different. The time it takes to listen to a book is much longer than if you read it. And, as you say, reading gives you time to digest the material, to understand it and interpret it. However, sometimes it's easier to listen, especially if the book is non-fiction.


message 6: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments PS - C, I know you'll enjoy _God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian_ !


message 7: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6066 comments I know my son would like this even if he read it when he was a teenager. He is a marvelous author and of course, his wit is legendary.


message 8: by Nina (last edited May 19, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Nina | 6066 comments The theme of this book reminds me somewhat of an experience I once had that was referred to by my cardiologist as a "little death" experience. I was experiencing acute irregular heart rhythm and in danger so I was given an injection to stop everything in my body including the heart. They call this "little death," which differs from a "near death" experience as in the latter one you don't actually die. The problem with myself is that you are supposed to come right back to life and for some reason my reappearance to life didn't come right away. According to my husband who was viewing all of this the nurse ran out of the room toward the nurses' station and then came the loud announcement, "She's coming back." And fortunately I did. I don't remember much expect for feeling very peaceful and I did see a light but it's possible it was just the light in the room when I awakened. A couple of weeks later when I visited the dr and he asked how I was feeling I told him I was OK expect for feeling very tired. He then said to me, "When you die it takes time for your body to readjust." End of story. But fortunately not of me.
.


message 9: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Nina wrote: "The theme of this book reminds me somewhat of an experience I once had that was referred to by my cardiologist as a "little death" experience. I was experiencing acute irregular heart rhythm and in..."

Glad you came back, Nina! :)


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments C. wrote: "The audio experience is so different than the reading. First, it's terribly slow for me, and second I miss the ability to interpret the characters and emotions myself. Voice actors are often great,..."

Yes & no. I'm a fast reader & audio can be slow, but most players have the ability to speed up. I usually listen to them at high speed, although it depends on the reader & the subject matter. I don't just sit & listen, either. I'm always doing something else, usually a repetitive chore like mowing or commuting, so it's not really comparable to sitting down to read a book. I listen to books when I can't sit & read, but still want to read - that's most of the time.

Some narrators play the characters, but others don't. I generally prefer those that don't do much, but other times a full cast production can add new dimensions to a book. When an author like Neil Gaiman reads his own stories, it's a real treat. I've had narrators ruin books, but others made them. My daughter really liked the stupid Queen Betsy books (vampire queen with a shoe fetish). I barely made it through one. She told me to listen to them read by Nancy Wu. I ran through half a dozen chuckling the whole time.

There's definitely a learning curve to listening to books. I originally listened to very few, in part because not many were available & cassettes (or LPs) were a pain. Now that I can get them in MP3 format, I listen to a lot of them. I find some sorts are better than others. Mystery thrillers, classics that I've read decades before, & light nonfiction are all practically perfect for audio.

There are limitations. Authors that are repetitive are awful to listen to or really complex subject matter. Sometimes I'll listen to a book, but also read parts. That's generally limited to nonfiction. Any book that relies much on pictures, graphs, maps, or tables doesn't fit audio well either, of course.


message 11: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim, that's a very good essay on the pros and cons of audio books.

I would never speed up an audio. I listen slow. :) In other words, I can't digest the words when they go by to quickly.

I know what you mean about having a good narrator. They can make all the difference.


message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6311 comments I never used to speed up, but I tried it a couple of times & then came to like it. It's not super fast, about 25% faster, I believe. It's amazing how the brain can adjust to things. My MP3 player doesn't fix the voice when playing fast, so they're a bit higher. At first, it was irritating, but now I barely notice. Other devices & players can speed up the reading speed & still adjust the tone of the voice back to normal, though. That's really awesome.


message 13: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited May 20, 2016 06:50AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "... Other devices & players can speed up the reading speed & still adjust the tone of the voice back to normal, though. That's really awesome."

Jim, it's amazing how they do that. There are some unsung geniuses out there behind all this marvelous technology. Our son is a sound engineer. I'll have to remember to ask him what he knows about that. I've always considered him a bit of a genius myself.

"Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple." -C.W. Ceram

Our son is able to do that.


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