This year saw the passing of Kurt Vonnegut and I doubt any lover of books of the past several generations was not saddened by the loss.
I'm sure that like many of you, I vividly remember my Vonnegut moment. I was in eighth grade and my a pretty progressive English teacher gave us Cat's Cradle to read. Suddenly a new world was opened to me. Books could be profound and funny! Scifi could be clever and cool! I was smitten with what was my first brush with literary black humor and satire and have since read nearly every novel he's ever written.
Though his legacy as a writer and artist was extraordinary, Vonnegut struggled with depression and survived at least one suicide attempt (as well as the self proclaimed “classy way to commit suicide.” – cigarette smoking).
But with as much sadness as he dealt with, he was a kind and devoted man, a man who adopted the orphaned children of his sister who died of cancer. He was a man who could suffer as he observed the absurdities of mankind yet still has this to say: “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”
He was a true innovator and an inspiration.