Writers’ Doubt

Dec 8 2012 @ 2:14pm

After reading Vonnegut's Letters, Lydia Kiesling concludes that "Kurt Vonnegut’s biggest obstacle to happiness was Kurt Vonnegut":

It shouldn’t surprise me, because I am pretty sure it’s some kind of trope, but I am nonetheless surprised that a successful, vital, and by most accounts delightful man, who was always coming out with important books and fine statements, should have so often felt the need to convince other people of his worth — and particularly, that he would engage people from the three demographics least likely to budge from a position about one’s merits or lack thereof: critics, philistines, and one’s own children.

More Dish on Vonnegut's letters here. Read a fascinating excerpt here. Meanwhile, in another letter to his wife, Kurt recommended An ABZ of Love, a 1963 Danish "dictionary of romance and sexual relationships." Maria Popova excerpts and explains:

The book is presented with the disclaimer that rather than an ABC textbook for beginners, it is a "personal and subjective supplement to the many other outstanding scientific books on sexual enlightenment already in existence," setting out to describe "in lexical form a few aspects of sexual relationships seen from a slightly different standpoint." Indeed, the book was in many ways ahead of its time and of the era’s mainstream, pushing hard against bigotry and advocating for racial, gender, and LGBT equality with equal parts earnestness and wry wit.