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About the book
  • Published: 18 July 2016
  • ISBN: 9781609806972
  • Imprint: Seven Stories Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $39.99
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If This Isn't Nice What Is?, (Much) Expanded Second Edition


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Six new essays round out this much expanded edition of the bestselling book, already a perennial favorite for graduation season

Best known as one of America's most astonishing and enduring contemporary novelists, Kurt Vonnegut was also a celebrated commencement address giver.
Selected and introduced by fellow novelist and friend Dan Wakefield, this much-expanded edition now includes a total of fifteen of Kurt Vonnegut's speeches. In each of these talks Vonnegut takes pains to find the few things worth saying and a conversational voice to say them in that isn't heavy-handed or pretentious or glib, but funny and serious and joyful even if sometimes without seeming so. The new material includes:
* Vonnegut's earliest known commencement address given in 1972 at the State University of New York at Albany;
* A commencement address given at Southhampton College in June of 1981 in which Vonnegut describes the life of one Ignaz Semmelweiss, who saved countless lives by persuading his fellow physicians to wash their hands before touching a patient.
* Writing in Playboy in January of 1984, Vonnegut describes what it is like to be the most censored writer of his time.
* The speech Vonnegut gave in 1992 upon accepting the Humanist of the Year Award from the American Humanist Association, in which he sets out to say what a humanist is and can't quite decide.
* A piece first published in Cornell Magazine in May of 1994 in which Vonnegut lists some critical things he was never told when he was in college, like not to bother with fraternities or getting drunk or getting a college degree.
* In the last of the new pieces, "An Unsentimental Education" from 1995, Vonnegut reminisces about his early days as a student and new father, copyboy at the Chicago City News Bureau ("One time I found a body"), and novelist. A beautiful and nakedly transparent account of his beginnings in which he says, among many other things, "Culture is a gadget . . .And you can fix it the way you fix a broken oil burner. You can fix it continuously."

  • Pub date: 18 July 2016
  • ISBN: 9781609806972
  • Imprint: Seven Stories Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $39.99

About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. An army intelligence scout during the Second World War, he was captured by the Germans and witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired his classic novel Slaughterhouse-Five. After the war he worked as a police reporter, an advertising copywriter and a public relations man for General Electric. His first novel Player Piano (1952) achieved underground success. Cat's Cradle (1963) was hailed by Graham Greene as 'one of the best novels of the year by one of the ablest living authors'. His eighth book, Slaughterhouse-Five was published in 1969 and was a literary and commercial success, and was made into a film in 1972. Vonnegut is the author of thirteen other novels, three collections of stories and five non-fiction books. Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007.

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