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Ranking Author Kurt Vonnegut’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

Kurt Vonnegut Bibliography Ranking

“What are Kurt Vonnegut’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Vonnegut’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by Kurt Vonnegut and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s Of Kurt Vonnegut



29 ) Kurt Vonnegut: The Cornell Sun Years 1941–1943

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 29
  • Amazon: 29
  • LibraryThing: 29

From 1941 to 1943, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was a columnist and editor at his college newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun. Here, for the first time, are his collected writings, from sports columns to political satire to collected humor. Already, Vonnegut’s sharp wit and humanist worldview shine through in this, some of his earliest published writing.



28 ) Timequake

 Timequake Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 27
  • Amazon: 28
  • LibraryThing: 28

According to science-fiction writer Kilgore Trout, a global timequake will occur in New York City on 13th February 2001. It is the moment when the universe suffers a crisis of conscience. Should it expand or make a great big bang? It decides to wind the clock back a decade to 1991, making everyone in the world endure ten years of deja-vu and a total loss of free will – not to mention the torture of reliving every nanosecond of one of the tawdiest and most hollow decades. With his trademark wicked wit, Vonnegut addresses memory, suicide, the Great Depression, the loss of American eloquence, and the obsolescent thrill of reading books.



27 ) Sucker’s Portfolio: A Collection of Previously Unpublished Writing

 Sucker's Portfolio: A Collection of Previously Unpublished Writing Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 25
  • Amazon: 23
  • LibraryThing: 22

Sucker’s Portfolio showcases a collection of seven never before published works from Kurt Vonnegut, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Short, sardonic, and dark, these six brief fiction stories and one non-fiction piece are consummate Vonnegut with piercing satire and an eye for life’s obscene inanity. Also available for the first time is an unfinished science-fiction short story, included in the appendix.



26 ) We Are What We Pretend to Be: The First and Last Works

 We Are What We Pretend to Be: The First and Last Works Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 28
  • Amazon: 23
  • LibraryThing: 14

Now his first and last works come together for the first time in print, in a collection aptly titled after his famous phrase, We Are What We Pretend To Be. Written to be sold under the pseudonym of “Mark Harvey,” Basic Training was never published in Vonnegut’s lifetime. It appears to have been written in the late 1940s and is therefore Vonnegut’s first ever novella. It is a bitter, profoundly disenchanted story that satirizes the military, authoritarianism, gender relationships, parenthood and most of the assumed mid-century myths of the family. Haley Brandon, the adolescent protagonist, comes to the farm of his relative, the old crazy who insists upon being called The General, to learn to be a straight-shooting American. Haley’s only means of survival will lead him to unflagging defiance of the General’s deranged (but oh so American, oh so military) values. This story and its thirtyish author were no friends of the milieu to which the slick magazines’ advertisers were pitching their products. When Vonnegut passed away in 2007, he left his last novel unfinished. Entitled If God Were Alive Today, this last work is a brutal satire on societal ignorance and carefree denial of the world’s major problems. Protagonist Gil Berman is a middle-aged college lecturer and self-declared stand-up comedian who enjoys cracking jokes in front of a college audience while societal dependence on fossil fuels has led to the apocalypse.



24 ) Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage

 Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 24
  • Amazon: 23
  • LibraryThing: 17

In this self-portrait by an American genius, Kurt Vonnegut writes with beguiling wit and poignant wisdom about his favorite comedians, country music, a dead friend, a dead marriage, and various cockamamie aspects of his all-too-human journey through life. This is a work that resonates with Vonnegut’s singular voice: the magic sound of a born storyteller mesmerizing us with truth. “Vonnegut is at the top of his form, and it is wonderful.”



24 ) Jailbird

 Jailbird Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 21
  • Amazon: 23
  • LibraryThing: 20

Jailbird takes us into a fractured and comic, pure Vonnegut world of high crimes and misdemeanors in government—and in the heart. This wry tale follows bumbling bureaucrat Walter F. Starbuck from Harvard to the Nixon White House to the penitentiary as Watergate’s least known co-conspirator. But the humor turns dark when Vonnegut shines his spotlight on the cold hearts and calculated greed of the mighty, giving a razor-sharp edge to an unforgettable portrait of power and politics in our times.



23 ) Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons (Opinions)

 Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons (Opinions) Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 23
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 26

Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons (Opinions) is a rare opportunity to experience Kurt Vonnegut speaking in his own voice about his own life, his views of the world, his writing, and the writing of others. An indignant, outrageous, witty, deeply felt collection of reviews, essays, and speeches, this is a window not only into Vonnegut’s mind but also into his heart.



22 ) Deadeye Dick

 Deadeye Dick Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 21
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 25

Deadeye Dick is Kurt Vonnegut’s funny, chillingly satirical look at the death of innocence. Amid a true Vonnegutian host of horrors—a double murder, a fatal dose of radioactivity, a decapitation, an annihilation of a city by a neutron bomb—Rudy Waltz, aka Deadeye Dick, takes us along on a zany search for absolution and happiness. Here is a tale of crime and punishment that makes us rethink what we believe . . . and who we say we are.



21 ) Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction

 Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 26
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 27

A young PR man working at General Electric sold his first magazine piece. By the time he’d sold his third, he decided to quit his job and join the likes of Salinger, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner, and make a living as a full-time writer. That young man was Kurt Vonnegut. Bagombo Snuff Box collects Vonnegut’s favourite stories from the postwar years that sharpened his dark, vaudevillian and quietly subversive voice. Here we see the mind-bending wit and central themes of his masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five.



20 ) Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!

 Slapstick, or Lonesome No More! Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 23
  • LibraryThing: 15

Slapstick presents an apocalyptic vision as seen through the eyes of the current King of Manhattan (and last President of the United States), a wickedly irreverent look at the all-too-possible results of today’s follies. But even the end of life-as-we-know-it is transformed by Kurt Vonnegut’s pen into hilarious farce—a final slapstick that may be the Almighty’s joke on us all.



19 ) While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished Short Fiction

 While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished Short Fiction Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 19
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 18

Foreword by Dave Eggers Smart, whimsical, and often scathing, the fiction of Kurt Vonnegut influenced a generation of American writers—including Dave Eggers, author of this volume’s Foreword. In these previously unpublished gems, Vonnegut’s originality infuses a unique landscape of factories, trailers, and bars—and characters who pit their dreams and fears against a cruel and sometimes comically indifferent world. Here are stories of men and machines, art and artifice, and how ideals of fortune, fame, and love take curious twists in ordinary lives. An ambitious builder of roads, commanding an army of bulldozers, graders, and asphalt spreaders, fritters away his free time with miniature trains—until the women in his life crash his fantasy land. Trapped in a stenography pool, a young dreamer receives a call from a robber on the run, who presents her with a strange proposition. A crusty newspaperman is forced onto a committee to judge Christmas displays—a job that leads him to a suspiciously ostentatious ex-con and then a miracle. A hog farmer’s widow receives cryptic, unsolicited letters from a man in Schenectady about “the indefinable sweet aches of the spirit.” But what will she find when she goes to meet him in the flesh?



18 ) God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

 God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 24

From Slapstick’s “Turkey Farm” to Slaughterhouse-Five’s eternity in a Tralfamadorean zoo cage with Montana Wildhack, the question of the afterlife never left Kurt Vonnegut’s mind. In God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian, Vonnegut skips back and forth between life and the Afterlife as if the difference between them were rather slight. In thirty odd “interviews,” Vonnegut trips down “the blue tunnel to the pearly gates” in the guise of a roving reporter for public radio, conducting interviews: with Salvatore Biagini, a retired construction worker who died of a heart attack while rescuing his schnauzer from a pit bull, with John Brown, still smoldering 140 years after his death by hanging, with William Shakespeare, who rubs Vonnegut the wrong way, and with socialist and labor leader Eugene Victor Debs, one of Vonnegut’s personal heroes. What began as a series of ninety-second radio interludes for WNYC, New York City’s public radio station, evolved into this provocative collection of musings about who and what we live for, and how much it all matters in the end.



17 ) Hocus Pocus

 Hocus Pocus Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 19
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 22

Here is the adventure of Eugene Debs Hartke. He’s a Vietnam veteran, a jazz pianist, a college professor, and a prognosticator of the apocalypse (and other things Earth-shattering). But that’s neither here no there. Because at Tarkington College—where he teaches—the excrement is about to hit the air-conditioning. And its all Eugene’s fault.



16 ) Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage

 Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 21

Honest and scarily funny, and it offers a rare insight into an author who has customarily hidden his heart.



15 ) Armageddon in Retrospect and Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace

 Armageddon in Retrospect and Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 11

To be published on the first anniversary of Kurt Vonnegut’s death, Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve new and unpublished writings on war and peace, imbued with Vonnegut’s trademark rueful humor.



14 ) Player Piano

 Player Piano Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 17
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 18

Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run completely by machines. Paul’s rebellion is vintage Vonnegut—wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality.



13 ) Galápagos: A Novel

 Galápagos: A Novel Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 12

Galápagos takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry—and all that is worth saving.



12 ) If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young

 If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 12
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 15

Master storyteller and satirist Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most in-demand commencement speakers of his time. For each occasion, Vonnegut’s words were unfailingly unique, insightful, and witty, and they stayed with audience members long after graduation. As edited by Dan Wakefield, this book reads like a narrative in the unique voice that made Vonnegut a hero to readers of all ages.



11 ) Canary in a Cathouse

 Canary in a Cathouse Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 4

Published in 1961, Canary in a Cathouse is a collection of twelve short stories. Except for Hal Irwin’s magic lamp, eleven of them reappear in the later collection Welcome to the Monkey House. Contents: – Report on the barnhouse effect – All the king’s horses – D.P. – The manned missiles – The Euphio question – More stately mansions – The Foster portfolio – Deer in the works – Hal Irwin’s magic lamp – Tom Edison’s shaggy dog



10 ) Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction

 Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 10
  • Amazon: 4
  • LibraryThing: 12

Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short stories from one of the most original writers in all of American fiction. In this series of perfectly rendered vignettes, written just as he was starting to find his comic voice, Kurt Vonnegut paints a warm, wise, and funny portrait of life in post—World War II America–a world where squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers, and small-town lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity, and unprecedented affluence. Here are tales both cautionary and hopeful, each brimming with Vonnegut’s trademark humor and profound humanism. A family learns the downside of confiding their deepest secrets into a magical invention. A man finds himself in a Kafkaesque world of trouble after he runs afoul of the shady underworld boss who calls the shots in an upstate New York town. A quack psychiatrist turned “murder counselor” concocts a novel new outlet for his paranoid patients. While these stories reflect the anxieties of the postwar era that Vonnegut was so adept at capturing– and provide insight into the development of his early style–collectively, they have a timeless quality that makes them just as relevant today as when they were written. It’s impossible to imagine any of these pieces flowing from the pen of another writer; each in its own way is unmistakably, quintessentially Vonnegut.



9 ) God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine

 God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 10

Second only to Slaughterhouse-Five of Vonnegut’s canon in its prominence and influence, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965) presents Eliot Rosewater, an itinerant, semi-crazed millionaire wandering the country in search of heritage and philanthropic outcome, introducing the science fiction writer Kilgore Trout to the world and Vonnegut to the collegiate audience which would soon make him a cult writer. Trout, modeled according to Vonnegut on the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon (with whom Vonnegut had an occasional relationship) is a desperate, impoverished but visionary hack writer who functions for Eliot Rosewater as both conscience and horrid example. Rosewater, seeking to put his inheritance to some meaningful use (his father was an entrepreneur), tries to do good within the context of almost illimitable cynicism and corruption. It is in this novel that Rosewater wanders into a science fiction conference–an actual annual event in Milford, Pennsylvania–and at the motel delivers his famous monologue evoked by science fiction writers and critics for almost half a century: “None of you can write for sour apples… but you’re the only people trying to come to terms with the really terrific things which are happening today.” Money does not drive Mr. Rosewater (or the corrupt lawyer who tries to shape the Rosewater fortune) so much as outrage at the human condition.



8 ) Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday

 Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 6

In Breakfast of Champions, one of Kurt Vonnegut’s most beloved characters, the aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.



7 ) Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death

 Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 1

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time, Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.



5 ) The Sirens of Titan

 The Sirens of Titan Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 4

The Sirens of Titan is an outrageous romp through space, time, and morality. The richest, most depraved man on Earth, Malachi Constant, is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side. Of course there’s a catch to the invitation—and a prophetic vision about the purpose of human life that only Vonnegut has the courage to tell.



5 ) A Man Without a Country

 A Man Without a Country Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 8

In a volume that is penetrating, introspective, incisive, and laugh-out-loud funny, one of the great men of letters of this era—or any era—holds forth on life, art, sex, politics, and the state of America’s soul. Whether he is describing his coming of age in America, his formative war experiences, or his life as an artist, this is Vonnegut doing what he does best: being himself. Whimsically illustrated by the author, A Man Without a Country is intimate, tender, and brimming with the scope of Kurt Vonnegut’s passions.



4 ) Bluebeard, the Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian (1916–1988)

 Bluebeard, the Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian (1916–1988) Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 9

Bluebeard, the Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian (1916–1988) is a 1987 novel by best-selling author Kurt Vonnegut. It is told as a first person narrative and describes the late years of fictional Abstract Expressionist painter Rabo Karabekian, who first appeared, rather briefly, in Breakfast of Champions. Circumstances of the novel bear rough resemblance to the fairy tale of Bluebeard popularized by Charles Perrault. Karabekian mentions this relationship once in the novel.



3 ) Welcome to the Monkey House

 Welcome to the Monkey House Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 2
  • LibraryThing: 7

Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s shorter works. Originally printed in publications as diverse as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Atlantic Monthly, these superb stories share Vonnegut’s audacious sense of humor and extraordinary range of creative vision.



2 ) Cat’s Cradle

 Cat's Cradle Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 1

Told with deadpan humour and bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut’s cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon and, worse still, surviving it … Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding ‘fathers’ of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he’s the inventor of ‘ice-nine’, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker’s three ecentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker’s Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to humankind brings about the end, that for all of us, is nigh…



1 ) Mother Night

 Mother Night Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 2
  • LibraryThing: 3

Librarian note: Alternate cover edition for this ISBN can be found here. Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of gray with a verdict that will haunt us all.



Kurt Vonnegut’s Best Books



Kurt Vonnegut Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOverall Rank
Mother Night 123 1
Cat’s Cradle 271 2
Welcome to the Monkey House 427 3
Bluebeard, the Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian (1916–1988) 819 4
The Sirens of Titan 3134 5
A Man Without a Country 578 5
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death 7131 7
Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday 5136 8
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine 9710 9
Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction 10412 10
Canary in a Cathouse 13134 11
If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young 12415 12
Galápagos: A Novel 131312 13
Player Piano 17718 14
Armageddon in Retrospect and Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace 112211 15
Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage 131321 16
Hocus Pocus 19722 17
God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian 18724 18
While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished Short Fiction 191318 19
Slapstick, or Lonesome No More! 132315 20
Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction 26427 21
Deadeye Dick 211325 22
Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons (Opinions) 231326 23
Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage 242317 24
Jailbird 212320 24
We Are What We Pretend to Be: The First and Last Works 282314 26
Sucker’s Portfolio: A Collection of Previously Unpublished Writing 252322 27
Timequake 272828 28
Kurt Vonnegut: The Cornell Sun Years 1941–1943 292929 29

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