Writing 14 novels between 1952 and 1997, Kurt Vonnegut established a legacy as one of the great writers of the 20thy century, crafting a literary style that was utterly unique, fusing science-fiction with satire, as he examined the themes of power and control, free will, determinism, genocide, madness and war. Oh, and he was funny, too. Despite the seriousness of his themes, Vonnegut was just about the funniest writer America ever produced. With the exception of his first book, Player Piano, all of his books were tidy affairs. Slaughterhouse Five isn’t even 50,000 words. But these tightly crafted novels have much to say. Below is my list of the 5 best Kurt Vonnegut books.
There are a few books which aren’t First Editions and also aren’t the Dell paperbacks that I will discuss in a minute. Whether because of his contract or because of timing (most likely a combination of both), none of the later Vonnegut books are available in Dell paperbacks, so we have mass market copies of both Hocus Pocus and Timequake that don’t match the rest. We also have trade copies of Breakfast of Champions, Between Time and Timbuktu (his teleplay) and Fates Worse Than Death. We also have Avon paperbacks of both Player Piano and Mother Night. There are Avon copies of many of the older books but the reason we have these two is that it is the only copy we have of Player Piano and because Veronica really likes the cover of Mother Night (it had been hers) and wanted to keep it.