World’s Strangest

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God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

Did you know today would have been Kurt Vonnegut’s 90th birthday? In memory of one of the greatest writers of the last century, here is a look back at the author’s incredible life. His Career Choice Was A Bit Surprising Both Kurt’s dad and his grandfather were successful architects who attended MIT, so he no doubt had [...]

The Working Dead: The Posthumous Career of Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century. All signs point to the author holding the same place in the 21st century, despite the fact that he died April 11, 2007. The late Vonnegut has accomplished more dead than most of us will alive, from social media celebrity to [...]

Kurt Vonnegut’s Letters

Shaun Usher is delighted to have a copy of the new book Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, which is available for purchase today. He has published two of the letters at Letters of Note, in which the author’s fatherly side is evident. One concerns his son Mark, who received his draft notice in 1967. Here’s the first [...]

5 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets From Cheers

Thirty years ago tonight, an ensemble comedy set in a Boston bar debuted on NBC. Cheers didn’t exactly set the Nielsens on fire at first, but luckily the network gave the show a chance to find its audience. Thanks to consistently great scripts (Kurt Vonnegut Jr. stated in a 1991 interview “I would rather have [...]

15 Dad Facts for Father’s Day

A few years ago, we asked some of our favorite mental_floss writers to send us their favorite dad-related facts and stories for our newsletter. Here are 15 you can use around the grill today. 1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a [...]

Meet the Parents: 11 Dads of Famous Juniors

Let’s get ready for Father’s Day by taking a look at some dads who gave famous people a giant gift: their names. Here are the seniors behind a slew of well-known Juniors. 1. Martin Luther King, Sr. probably didn’t know his name would become so famous when he changed it. The civil [...]

At the Libraries: Coolest Bookmobile Ever

Time for another installment of book- and library-related fun! Meet the BiebBus, the coolest bookmobile ever! (And I have seen a fair amount of bookmobiles.) * The New York Times is really getting into the spirit of Nicholson Baker’s new book with their favorite raunchy tales. Add to the discussion if you’ve got one! * I just found out [...]

Free Slaughterhouse-Five Books For Kids

The Republic High School in Missouri recently banned Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five. In response, the Vonnegut Memorial Library is offering the students a free copy of the novel so they can read it on their own and draw their own conclusions. According to the library’s representative: We have up to 150 books to share, thanks to [...]

Kurt Vonnegut’s Story Diagrams

In this four-minute video clip, the late author Kurt Vonnegut shows us his “story shapes” — simple graphs of plots along two axes. I’ll tell you the labels for the Y axis: it runs from G (Good Fortune) to I (Ill Fortune). That’s about all I can say without ruining this whole. Sample quote regarding [...]

Slaughterhouse Five

The former butchering facility in Dresden, Germany featured in Kurt Vonnegut’s 1969 book Slaughterhouse Five is a real place that you can visit. The book is a work of fiction, but Vonnegut was really held prisoner in Dresden’s Schlachthof Fünf (Slaughterhouse Five) during the city’s fire bombing in World War II. Read more about the [...]