It was with great sadness that I learned of the death late Wednesday of author Kurt Vonnegut.
I was introduced to his work as an exchange student nearly 25 years ago at Alsager College (now Manchester Metropolitan University), near Stoke-on-Trent, England.
It was for a class on American literature that we were assigned Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle." I was more interested in sightseeing and drinking than in this writer about whom I knew nothing and cared even less.
So, I went through the motions of reading the novel and bullshitted my way through an essay we had to write about it.
The results were predictable.
I nearly failed the class, and by all rights I should have.
Vonnegut was easily forgotten, with a little resentment thrown in.
Years later and living in Philadelphia, I went through my bookshelves looking for something to read. I picked up "Cat's Cradle."
This time, I read it.
And reread it.
And I was hooked.
Eventually, I riffed my way through nearly all of Vonnegut's 14 novels. "Cat's Cradle" is my favorite. "Slaughterhouse-Five" is easily No. 2. But really, I like them all.
Thank you and goodbye, Kurt.
And so it goes.