First Posted: 4/16/2012 11:36:23 AM | Last Updated: 4/16/2012 11:36:58 AM
LAFAYETTE -- The 2012 One Great Read committee invites all county residents to join in reading, sharing copies of, and discussing “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater or Pearls Before Swine,” by Kurt Vonnegut.
“As always, we are excited about our choice, particularly this year since this is the first to feature an Indiana author,” said TCPL Head Reference Librarian Alison Moss. “Vonnegut's satiric wit and keen insight into human nature should appeal to many readers. It's a book that was timely when it was written and, timeless, as it is still relevant today."
Although not as well known as Slaughterhouse-Five or The Cat’s Cradle, this novel is one of Vonnegut’s most popular stories. Money is the book’s central character. In addition, this humorous American tale features a familiar Vonnegut character, Eliot Rosewater.
“First published in the mid 1960’s, by all modern accounts a much less cynical age than our own, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater offers readers characters with a Hoosier wide-eyed innocence living in the midst of a world constantly teetering at the edge of chaos.” said West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel. “Kurt Vonnegut is one of Indiana’s greatest gifts to American culture; I’m glad we have a summer to celebrate his wit and wisdom with one another.”
Often described as a “quick and entertaining read,” the novel presents a long, and quirky cast of characters, a family fortune generated during the Civil War that became a charitable and cultural foundation in 1947, and a plot that culminates in a power struggle among the family heirs in 1964.
2012 One Great Read activities begin with a kickoff celebration at the Downtown Library, Tuesday, June 26. Topics and presenters for upcoming programs include: Director of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Julie Whitehead, Curator of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Chris LaFave, Indianapolis author and journalist Nelson Price, Greater Lafayette Community Foundation President/CEO Greg Kapp, Patrice Waidner from WorkOne, a virtual tour and Vonnegut family history discussion from Crown Hill Cemetery, programs with mental health and military specialists, a book group leaders’ workshop, and a live performance. Exact dates and details will be announced starting June 15. All partner-sponsored activities end Friday, August 31.
Kurt Vonnegut’s Awards and Distinctions:
1967. Guggenheim fellow, Germany.
1970. National Institute of Arts and Letters grant.
1973. L.H.D., Indiana University.
1974. Litt.D., Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
1981. Literary Lion award, New York Public Library.
1981. Eugene V. Debs Award, Eugene V. Debs Foundation; for public service.
1983. Freedom to Read Award, Chicago Public Library.
1985. Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; for ''Displaced Persons.''
1986. Bronze Medallion, Guild Hall.
The One Great Read committee includes representatives from the Tippecanoe County Public Library system, West Lafayette Public Library, Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette, Tippecanoe Arts Federation, Wabash Area Lifetime Learning Association, and Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Members are required to host or sponsor at least one activity per year.
Originally published in 1965, the edition to be used was re-issued by Random House in 1998. The 288-page novel is available in paperback, hard cover, and downloadable formats. Copies of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater are available in all local libraries and for sale in local new and used bookstores.