Wowio – Download Kurt Vonnegut’s Books for Free

I discovered via the entertainment blog Pop Candy yesterday that there is a site called Wowio that allows you to download books legally for free. Honestly, it’s completely free and legal. They are paying the publishers using advertising, which for the book I downloaded was minimal. Right now this is only available to United States residents because of copyright laws, but hopefully that will change. I wrote about this today at Nerd Zapper but with a technology twist. I thought I’d post it here for those of you who don’t read that site, plus I’m going to take a slightly different angle here.

Anyhow, the first book I downloaded was Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I have been wanting to read this since he passed away earlier this year, and was so happy to find it for free. The book downloads as a .pdf file, so I have to read it at the computer rather than in bed where I normally read, but it’s free, so whatever. Maybe someday I’ll be able to afford an e-book reader.

I’m already enjoying Slaughterhouse-Five. There was a piece in there that really hit home with me yesterday, as I contemplated the hearings with General Petraeus, knowing we will be in Iraq for at least another year and no one is going to do a damn thing to change that fact. Oh, and don’t think it was coincidence they held the hearings on September 11th.

Anyhow, here is the excerpt from the book that really struck a nerve with me (this is a conversation between the narrator and a “movie-maker” named Harrison Star:

“Is it an anti-war book?”

“Yes,” I said. “I guess.”

“You know what I say to people when I hear they’re writing anti-war books?”

“No. What do you say, Harrison Starr?”

“I say, ‘Why don’t you write an anti-glacier book instead?'”

What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that too.

Anyhow, that was written in 1969 and is as true today as it was then and will surely be 100 years from now. Depressing, but true.