Slaughterhouse-Five (Or The Children's Crusade)
By: Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)
Movie: (1972) - [haven't seen]
"Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden."
(summary from www.goodreads.com)
Written in 1969, Slaughterhouse-Five is the book Kurt Vonnegut is most known for, despite his success writing half a dozen other titles previously.
I'm always a little wary of the modern classics, as it's hard not to have high expectations. Also, I find a bit of a disconnect with certain "classics" either because the writing-style of the period is hard to relate to, or maybe even the voice of the author in general. Personally, I love the unconventional voice of Vonnegut's, and how he treated his inability to write a comprehensive book about the Dresden massacre, as it was beyond his (or anyone's) comprehension.
An "Ah-ha!" Moment":
It's always humbling to read a book about WWII and still have it be relevant today. I'm addicted to The Daily Show (with Jon Stewart *let us all have a moment of silence*) and am in shock and awe at the politics and the economic divisiveness. Interestingly enough, Vonnegut makes the observation that every other society in the world has some fabled wise person born and/or living in poverty. But to Americans to be poor is to be ashamed. That was the bottom line then, and it is the bottom line today.
I think Kurt Vonnegut is brilliant, and can't wait to read his other works. This is easily in my Top 10 Classics.