Kurt Vonnegut was one of the important writers in my intellectual development. In my early teens, his works led me to a level of curiosity and criticism I had not encountered in my other reading and he demonstrated that one could be intelligent and funny at the same time. His death will begin the process of evaluating his place in American literature and this article about Cat's Cradle by Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision, is a good start.
Finally, (for today) Peter Matthiessen author of Far Tortuga, has released a one volume "recension," to use Michael Dirda's phrase from his article "Epic of the Everglades" included in the New York Review of Books RSS feed on this blog, of his three linked novels Killing Mr. Watson, Lost Man's River, and Bone by Bone. It is called Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend. It's a strange activity to me, to take a work that you've already finished, hack it up and represent it as a new (and 40 dollar in hardcover) work, but the passages that Dirda quotes in his article are so brilliant as to dispel any debate in my head about the legitimacy of the project.