Overthinking It Book Club: Slaughterhouse Five

The Overthinking It Book Club is back! This summer, the OTI community will be breaking down Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

Overthinking It Book Club LogoIt’s summer and the Overthinking It Book Club is back! Last year, Ben Adams and Matt Wrather led a discussion of Ender’s Game in the lead up to the release of the (ultimately disappointing) film adaptation. We described that Book Club as “an experiment to see if we, the worldwide community of overthinkers, can have as much fun looking at a work of literature as we have when we talk about movies, TV shows, and music.” Given the lively discussions in the forums and the positive feedback we had to the Podcast, we consider that experiment a success.

book_coverFor this round of the Book Club, we’ll be reading Kurt Vonnegut’s 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death.Whether you read the book in high school English, fell in love with Vonnegut’s work on your own, or have never read the book, we’ll have something for you: the Club will have a full crew of OTI regulars, some have read the book before, some will be reading it for the first time.

For Ender’s Game, we were able to cap off our close-reading of the book with the release of a film adaptation. This time around, we’ll be pairing our Book Club with a discussion of the 1972 film adaptation (available for rent through Amazon’s streaming service).

Get the Book

We’d appreciate it if you used our Amazon affiliate link to buy Slaughterhouse Five as a paperback or Kindle book. (Canadian and European readers can use these links instead.)

The Podcast

The Book Club unfolds in weekly segments on the Book Club Podcast, released mid-week, with Ben and other Overthinking It writers. We’ll talk over the week’s reading, address some of the study questions, and highlight our favorite discussions from the forums.

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The Syllabus

Our own Shana Mlawski, (the world’s foremost expert on Slaughterhouse-Five) has divided up the book into five roughly equal chunks, so we’ll spend five weeks discussing the book and our last week discussing the adaptation to film. You’ll get the most out of the club if you read these sections by these dates:

  • Week 1 (July 23, 2014): Chapters 1 and 2
  • Week 2 (July 30, 2014): Chapters 3 and 4
  • Week 3 (August 6, 2014): Chapter 5
  • Week 4 (August 13, 2014): Chapters 6, 7, 8
  • Week 5 (August 20, 2014): Chapters 9 and 10
  • Week 6 (August 27, 2014): The film adaptation

The Forums

The most important part of the Book Club is getting the entire OTI community involved. For our discussion, we’re going to use a special section in the Overthinking It Forums. We’ll open up a thread for each Week of the Book Club, and everything up to and including the week’s reading is fair game for discussion—but if you’ve read the book, no spoilers for what is to come! (We’ll have a whole-book thread for those who have read it before.)

And more…

This is Overthinking It, so we don’t let little words like “Book” get in the way of what we talk about in Book Club. We’re looking forward to an exciting and wide-ranging discussion.

And after you’re done reading Slaughterhouse, stay tuned to OTI for the next round of Book Club—which may or may not feature an actual “book”…

8 Comments on “Overthinking It Book Club: Slaughterhouse Five”

  1. mezdef #

    Pumped! For those who want to have something for the commute as a refresher, I can highly recommend the audiobook version of SH5 read by the venerable Ethan Hawke. Take a listen here to see if it’s your cup of tea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVF9fRFnfy0

    Read by none other than Ethan Hawke—who has an amazing voice—I can unreservedly say it is the most pleasurable and appropriate reading of a book I have ever heard (and I have listened to many many audiobooks).

    Also: No Inherent Vice? It’s coming out this year (supposedly). This podcast needs more Matt waxing lyrical on Pynchon! Probably not the easiest one however.


    • youhavemyaxe #

      From what I understand Inherent Vice is the most accessible Pynchon book there is. I cannot soak towards that but it was the only book that after I finished it I turned right around and started again.
      Fun read for sure.


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      It was a consensus process. I actually raised a couple of Pynchon novels and a Dave Eggers novel in our discussion internally, but S5 was the clear winner


  2. Squin #

    Yes, favorite book!
    That’s going to be a long 5 weeks for a novel I originally read in a few hours though. Never seen the film version, so that’s exciting too.


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      We wondered about that internally. That said, we are the website that got an eighty-minute podcast out of Brunch. I think we can hang.


      • Squin #

        Yeah, don’t get me wrong, totally down for listening to you all talk about S5 for 3x the amount of time it would take to read.

        Also, the Brunchcast inspired me to get my DnD group together for a brunch session. It was lovely.


  3. Daniel #

    Hell yes!!

    Amazing book, amazing author, amazing people to discuss it with!

    Given how fun it is to merely think this book (for the high school level analysis, I’d reccommend this to anyone who’s interested http://youtu.be/F6g7S2W27Kc?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtOeEc9ME62zTfqc0h6Pe8vb) I can’t wait what comes out when we overthink it.


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