Why should you read Kurt Vonnegut?

A 9th grade student who recently finished one of my favorite books, Catch-22,
asked me to recommend something she should read next.

I replied, "Have you ever heard of Kurt Vonnegut?"

I'm always reluctant to recommend my favorites to students.
They're so subjective
(even moreso the curriculum I've designed and make everyone follow).

I feel I have to defend the works.
Or be good enough for them myself.

It's weirdly personal,
in the way that literature, often at its best, can be,
in the ways I try every day to sell to students with other texts.

What a contradiction!

I've never taught a Vonnegut novel, even though he's my favorite.
(I have included "Harrison Bergeron" in a short stories unit.)

I'm kind of too scared to do it.

And then later today, I came across this video from TED Ed:
Why should you read Kurt Vonnegut?

As I watched it I thought about how I had just recommended Vonnegut to a student
and how she'll probably come back and ask me why I like this author
and want to talk about how his works align with who I am as a human being.

And realized I felt pretty good about that.

Maybe good art is easily defensible, really.

"In spite of his insistence that we're all here to fart around, in spite of his deep concerns about the course of human existence, Vonnegut also advanced the possibility, however slim, that we might end up making something good. And if that isn't nice, what is?"

*Beautifully-illustrated images from the video

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