The passing this week of Kurt Vonnegut was strongly felt here, as he is one of my favorite authors. I first was keyed into Vonnegut by a high school English teacher (by the name of French!) and started reading a few. When I got to college, I started plowing through the whole shelf of Vonnegut novels & catching his few last ones as they came out. If you've never savored the ever-relevant bitter humor of Mother Night or the absurdity of Cat's Cradle, you're missing out. Breakfast of Champions & Sirens of Titan are great fun too, and even the lesser works have lots of good bits in them. Vonnegut isn't for prudes, though has texts are really pretty tame compared to a lot of other literature before and after (e.g., my current soul-enriching time sink, The Good Soldier Svejk -- now there is some inspired vulgarisms!)
Please don't take this the wrong way, but I enjoy reading good obituaries. Not that I'm happy to see someone pass, but good obituaries teach you something you didn't know -- perhaps because you never knew the person existed (but should have), but other times because you didn't know something interesting about a familiar figure. I never knew that Vonnegut had studied to be a biochemist. I think Asimov was also originally a biochemist as well -- but surely to group them in this way is to engage a granfalloon. Hi Ho!