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The Sirens of Titan
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Stand-Alone Novels > June 2018—THE SIRENS OF TITAN by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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message 1: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Sep 08, 2018 06:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
The winner for our June novel is The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut!

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

To all who voted—thank you!
To everyone—I hope you'll participate and read this selection for our monthly book club.
For those who do—share your thoughts as you read, please!

Spoilers are allowed; add a considerate warning if your comment includes any so members have the option to skip.

I will begin reading this tomorrow. I look forward to following this discussion!


message 2: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Sep 14, 2018 07:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I purchased the ebook for $7.99 this morning. It's 203 pages. It should be easy to finish this by June 30th. I'm going to schedule an hour a day to read it; I think I'll be done in about a week and a half to two weeks (I'm reading two other books at the moment and starting yet another tomorrow so I'll be reading four at once which is unusual for me).
I've never read anything by Kurt Vonnegut, but I've had his Slaughterhouse-Five on my to-read shelf for a long time (hadn't got around to reading it).

Some info on this novel and author:
Kurt Vonnegut was born November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana and died April 11, 2007 in Manhattan, New York at 84 years old.
The Sirens of Titan was first published in 1959.
genres include: fantasy, comic science fiction, and black comedy
involves: free will, omniscience, and the overall purpose of human history
GoodReads rating: 4.16—78% gave it 4 or 5 stars


message 3: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jun 25, 2018 10:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
SPOILER-FREE

I'm on chapter 2, p. 30 (15% done).
If I had to choose a single word to describe this novel so far it'd be—bizarre.
Yesterday I'd read up to p. 18 and I remember thinking as I placed my virtual bookmark, 'Oh my. This book is strange, but I like it!'
Today I found myself smiling often and chuckling aloud at a couple parts. It contains dark humor, no doubt.
I'm intrigued, to say the least!


message 4: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jun 06, 2018 04:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I hadn't planned on giving another update until I was past the halfway mark, but felt compelled to.
Chapter 4 is eerie! I'm not exaggerating. It gave me chills, and there is a reveal in chapter 5 that is absolutely brilliant! It was a jaw-dropping moment for me as the reader. I murmured aloud, "Vonnegut was a genius. ... The man was a genius."
Glad The Great American Read has introduced me to this book!


message 5: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jun 25, 2018 10:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I'm on p. 109, at 54%. I've attempted guesses a couple times and was utterly wrong. I adore the unpredictability and admire the structure as there isn't a lot of unnecessary filler. Each chapter progresses the story at a steady pace while delivering surprise after surprise with a scattering of comedy. I've grown fond of Vonnegut's writing style; it's surely unique. I continue to be thoroughly amused by this novel!

While I was writing the topic KURT VONNEGUT JR.—Author of the List Book: The Sirens of Titan I read that this book is currently being made into a television series. It was announced in 2017 that Dan Harmon would direct and collaborate with Evan Katz. I will definitely watch it!


message 6: by Andrew, moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
I finished reading this today and posted a short review. I liked it a lot. I hadn't read any Vonnegut since, maybe, the early nineties?

It's pretty loopy and a little dark, but very funny, and no longer than it needs to be. Probably not for everybody, but it fits my worldview these days pretty well...


message 7: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Aug 20, 2018 12:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
I just finished it! I gave it four stars.
I think it's important to keep an open mind while reading this novel. Vonnegut's atheistic views come through loud and clear, so it could make some readers uncomfortable depending on their religious beliefs. Aside from that potential concern for some, I think this is a well-written, imaginative, and hilarious book. In spite of its silly approach to serious subjects, it made me think. It says a lot about an author and their work if it has that affect.

Final thoughts:
I will likely never forget the words "chrono-synclastic infundibulum."
I think I'd like a harmonium for a pet.


Tasha I joined a little late for this one but I'll keep it on my to read list. Growing up I remember that my dad loved Vonnegut so this is one I'd like to check out eventually.


message 9: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Aug 20, 2018 12:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Tasha—this discussion will remain open. Whenever you'd like to read The Sirens of Titan and add your thoughts, please feel free to do so!

That goes for everyone, as well. Don't hesitate to comment on past group reads, anytime!


Laurie | 15 comments Finished this last week...Quite imaginative and forward thinking for 1959. I decided to take a look at Vonnegut’s biography...had no idea he was a POW in WWII and in Dresden during the bombing...puts his work into a new perspective for me.


message 11: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Sep 14, 2018 07:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Laurie wrote: "Finished this last week...Quite imaginative and forward thinking for 1959. I decided to take a look at Vonnegut’s biography...had no idea he was a POW in WWII and in Dresden during the bombing...pu..."

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Laurie!

I quite enjoyed your review! If anyone would like to read it, click—Laurie's Review.


message 12: by Andrew, moderator (last edited Jul 02, 2018 04:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Laurie wrote: "had no idea he was a POW in WWII and in Dresden during the bombing..."

Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse-Five deals with the fire-bombing of Dresden, among other things. If you haven't read it yet, it's worth reading, though it's obviously a bit intense at points.

I was surprised to see Sirens of Titan on the TGAR list rather than Slaughterhouse-Five, since I thought Slaughterhouse-Five was generally considered his best work. (Maybe it's just his best-known work, which isn't quite the same thing.)


message 13: by Laurie (last edited Jul 02, 2018 04:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laurie | 15 comments Thanks Lavan and Andrew... I also thought Slaughterhouse-Five might have been the Vonnegut book on the list...maybe b/c of its overall popularity... so it goes!! Glad I read this one tho, as I might not have if it was not on the list!


message 14: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Jul 08, 2018 02:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Andrew—I'd read that Slaughterhouse-Five is Vonnegut's most famous, critically successful, and best-selling novel, but as the public (those selected by PBS to survey for the 100) chose "best-loved" books, I suppose more people like The Sirens of Titan over the former. Perhaps it's because, as you've mentioned, Slaughterhouse-Five is more intense rather than The Sirens of Titan's comedic tone. Hopefully PBS's The Great American Read: The Book of Books: Explore America's 100 Best-Loved Novels will shed some light as to why this list book was preferred.

You're most welcome, Laurie!

I'm glad you participated and read The Sirens of Titan, Loretta, even though sci-fi is not a genre that you generally like!


Tasha I started this last night and read some more this morning. I'm loving it! I read the first 2 chapters. It's my first Vonnegut, I've always wanted to read his stuff so I'm glad to finally be getting around to it.


message 16: by Lavan, moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Tasha wrote: "I started this last night and read some more this morning. I'm loving it! I read the first 2 chapters. It's my first Vonnegut, I've always wanted to read his stuff so I'm glad to finally be getting..."

I'm thrilled that you're reading The Sirens of Titan Tasha, and glad you're enjoying it so much!
Let us know if your feelings for it change for better or worse, and continue to share your thoughts as you read, please.


message 17: by Tasha (last edited Jul 29, 2018 02:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tasha I enjoyed the first two chapters so much (and loved the cover) that I decided to buy my own copy before moving on. I have it now so will get back to it this week. I like these new(ish) covers. I think they will make a nice collection of books if I decide to read more of his stuff after this one.

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut


Tasha I definitely plan to, lol! I plan on buying it to go alongside Sirens on the shelf. Growing up my dad loved Vonnegut so much that I always think of my dad when I think of Vonnegut. I may have read something when I was much younger but I have no idea for sure. When I see him next I'm going to make sure to remember to talk to him about Sirens. :)


message 19: by Lavan, moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Tasha wrote: "I enjoyed the first two chapters so much (and loved the cover) that I decided to buy my own copy before moving on. I have it now so will get back to it this week. I like these new(ish) covers. I th..."

That's wonderful, Tasha!
I love that you have a positive association of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. with your father. That's incredibly sweet.

Slaughterhouse-Five is on another list that I'm working my way through, so I'll surely read it at some point. Looking forward to it!


Tasha I finished this while on vacation last week and ended up enjoying it more than I thought. It's not my usual genre but I'd like to try more of his stuff. I think I may try Slaughterhouse-Five next based on your recs. He definitely kept my attention throughout Sirens of Titan. Once again, I'm happy to have joined this group bc I don't think I would have picked this one up on my own. :)


message 21: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Aug 17, 2018 08:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
Tasha wrote: "I finished this while on vacation last week and ended up enjoying it more than I thought. It's not my usual genre but I'd like to try more of his stuff. I think I may try [book:Slaughterhouse-Five|..."

I'm delighted that you enjoyed this list book enough to rate it 4 stars and have decided to read more of Vonnegut's works!

I'm happy you've joined our group too, Tasha. Your presence is a positive here, that's for sure.


Tasha Aw, thanks so much, Lavan! I'm enjoying it here. :)

In thinking more about the book I remember that while reading it I did have a hard time reading about his feelings towards the military which was really evident by his descriptions of the Martian military and them acting like drones and being controlled by a box in someone's pocket. I understand completely that the military does expect certain things from it's members but having family in the military, I don't see it as drastically as described by Vonnegut. It disturbed me a bit and frankly I wondered if that would affect my rating once I finished. In the end, I decided not to use that to rate my experience as I assume this story line is highly influenced by his own experience in the military and as those serving in the military come from different motivations and backgrounds, I can't say it's wrong only their own perspective. So, in the end, I just looked at the creativity of the story and my interest level to rate the book. I decided not to argue against the discomfort I felt as I understand everyone has a different experiences and it's all good. Going forward in his other books, I will keep this in the back of my mind and just enjoy the story without judgment. ;)


message 23: by Lavan, moderator (last edited Aug 21, 2018 07:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lavan Zerach | 498 comments Mod
First and foremost—your feelings, thoughts, and opinions are absolutely valid. Please, don't ever think otherwise. If upon further reflection you decide to change your rating for The Sirens of Titan for whatever reason, don't hesitate to do so. I never want members to feel pressured to rate and review a GAR book in anyway except as they believe it should be through their personal experience.

Thank you for sharing your comment, because it did make me think. I hadn't picked up on that while reading this selection, perhaps because the story seemed mostly silly and absurd, but now that I've reflected I do see what you mean. Five members of my family have served/are serving in the military; I have the utmost respect for them and all who serve.

The Sirens of Titan is considered black comedy (genre):

"Black comedy, also known as dark comedy or gallows humor, is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss. Comedians often use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, thus provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as amusement in their audience."wikipedia.com

Your saying that you felt uncomfortable with this aspect of the story illustrates how well Vonnegut portrayed this genre, but that doesn't mean that everyone will like this style and I respect that.


Bridget | 275 comments Mod
I really enjoyed reading this, it was funny, different, weird, all the things I love in a book. Sometimes it is rare that a sentence or thought in a book makes such an impression that I want to write it down. With this story I was highlighting quotes starting with the acknowledgement.


message 25: by Andrew, moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew (andyhuey) | 332 comments Mod
Bridget wrote: "With this story I was highlighting quotes starting with the acknowledgement. "
I was just looking at some of the quotes you shared, and you've got some good ones in there. Reminded me of how much I enjoyed this book!


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