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1. post office: A Novel
2. Women: A Novel
3. Ham on Rye: A Novel
4. Tales of Ordinary Madness
5. Love is a Dog From Hell
6. Notes of a Dirty Old Man
7. You Get So Alone at Times
8. Slouching Toward Nirvana: New
9. The Pleasures of the Damned: Poems,
10. Pulp
11. Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion
12. The People Look Like Flowers At
13. Hollywood
14. Factotum tie-in
15. South of No North: Stories of
16. The Flash of Lightning Behind
17. The Most Beautiful Woman in Town
18. Burning in Water, Drowning in
19. The Continual Condition: Poems
20. Run With the Hunted: Charles Bukowski

1. post office: A Novel
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 208 Pages (2007-03-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061177571
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel—the one that catapulted its author to national fame—is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski.

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Customer Reviews (153)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Post Office: Delivering your Psyche"
"It all began as a mistake", starts off Charles Bukowski's 1971 novel "Post Office", detailing his view of the last 12 years of his life. Bukowski's nihilist classic is an autobiographical account of his 12 years of on and off work for the United States Postal Service. Told from the eyes of Henry Chinaski, a heavy drinking and womanizing gambler, whose matter of fact and straightforward personality could surely turn anyone as negative as himself. This book tells the story of a working middle class man who finds disillusionment in his expected way of living and how he copes with his problems in vain acts. It tells of the grim reality that he faced on a day to day basis and how he coped. "Post Office" was the very first novel Bukowski ever wrote and is a great display of his early style.

Holding a hankering for booze, women and horse racing, life for Henry Chinaski consisted of little more than these things and finding the will to even wake up in the morning. Posing as the perfect anti-hero he goes about much of his like in a classic slacker fashion. He lives on money he can scrap together from horse betting until he gets a low paying job as a substitute mail carrier. What started as a temporary way to make ends meet turns into a mistake of 12 years.After many months of work Henry quit at the post office and tried to earn money from horse racing alone, but his luck falls short and he is forced back into work as postal worker. Throughout many more little tragedies in the book, you come to the realization that life is never very good for Henry. You start to understand his behaviors and reasoning's and you even are allowed to see you yourself feeling the same way if only you were in his position. After growing old along side his long hated job, Henry manages to find his long awaited escape and find the life he was looking for.

While "Post Office" does reach the end that Henry could only hope for, the road of protest that is given through his eyes to get to that point is an extremely vital role of the story. The objections shown in this book neglect social agenda and focus more on the numbing and pain of the average life. Henry generally displays a matter-of-fact attitude with strong nihilist views of how life should be led, this normally means drunk, angry and alone. Seething in his own situation of being completely out of control and just letting everything come as it may, Henry manages to find self aware and numbed bliss in spite of all of his failures and tragedies along the way. I feel like everyone could draw at least some inspiration from the sad story that is entailed in this book and the harsh reality that is learned to be accepted. A reality that can be sensed in our own society.

The realization detailed in "Post Office" is that of a harsh reality to willingly call your own. We can all relate. To Henry bliss is in the bottom of every bottle and the charred remains of every cigarette that burns between his fingers. What is your bliss? We are still searching to find just that. "Post Office" brings the idea that we all subconsciously know our reality's truth is not what we actually see. Somewhere along humanities path we let ourselves settle for being unsatisfied. At this point we lost the capability to control our own reality and haven't regained control since. When anything is compromised and there is always something lost, and ours was tragic. How can one sanely cope with being out of touch from the truth like this? They can't. They turn to their own ways of settling their loss and eventually dulling their pain, but never fixing it. "Post Office" underlies that this is the way things are. It suggests that this is the truth we somehow looked over. Could we have had a better reality?

The questions that are posed to the psyche about ourselves in this book are stark. I would recommend this book to an older audience due to the fact of the dark nature of this book and some of the sexual content. The picture that's painted in this book is one that could be better accepted by an older audience with more life experience. An older audience would also appreciate the genuine creativity and display that "Post Office" illustrates. This book deserves 4 out of 5 stars and the category of "classic." "Post Office" reveals a primal and raw reality of a mid century working class man. This primal and raw reality may be that of your own.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Disgruntled Employee's Bible
If you really hate your job, "Post Office" beats a whole stack of Dilbert cartoons or watching an endless loop of "Office Space," "Clerks," and other workplace comedies.From the way Bukowski describes the post office, it's no wonder "going postal" entered our lexicon.It's probably also why my uncle who worked for the post office for a number of years was always so cranky.

The story concerns Bukowski's alterego Henry Chinaski.When he's a younger man, Henry does his first stint at the post office as a substitute mail carrier.As the motto says, he winds up trudging through rain (and mud) and dark of night, occasionally being attacked by the odd dog or two.This finances Henry's life of drinking and cavorting with Betty.

Eventually Henry moves on to other jobs and other women, including a wealthy heiress with a thing for animals and geraniums.He drinks and cavorts a lot with all of these and even fathers a child with one.To support this lifestyle Henry is drawn back to the post office, this time working as a clerk.It's a maddening, routine job that his supervisors only make more maddening.One of the funniest parts is early on when Henry's supervisor keeps writing him up for ignoring his write ups, which Henry keeps throwing in the trash.

Despite that his style is like a seventh grade student's, Bukowski's writing has a drunken swagger that makes it enjoyable.I have to wonder how much of what happens was based on real events and how much was just bravado.While it never rises to the level of "Catch-22" or "1984" it still demonstrates the crushing effect of a soulless bureaucracy on the common people.

Of course a lot of people will not want to read this because of the bad language, the sex, the violence to women, and so forth.But if you're a fan of writers like Hemingway, Chuck Palahniuk, or Bret Easton Ellis or you just have a really crummy job, then you'll get a kick of this.

That is all.

3-0 out of 5 stars Grungy, Dirty, Real
I read this book mainly due to the endorsement on the front that is it "One of the funniest books ever written".I didn't find it so.It is a book about a regular American man who is not happy in his job and not happy in his relationships.He lives a seedy life and gets by.The author, Bukoski, was a prolific writer and has been described as a "laureate of American lowlife".

The novel is Bukoski's first and was published in 1971.

Despite being different from what I expected, I finished it and it was readable.I had a soft spot for the main character (narrator) Chinaski.I wanted to see how it would turn out for him, I was interested in his every day, often sordid, life.It takes good writing to draw the reader in like that, so I would say it is a book worth reading.However, I don't think I will be reading any more in a hurry.

This is the first book I've read by Bukowski but it won't be the last.Post Office is without a doubt one of the funniest books I've ever read.I didn't expect it to be so funny because I was somewhat familiar with the author's background, growing up abused, etc.
He describes the working conditions very well.It feels authentic.In addition to his years of working at the post office he includes a lot of other material that adds a lot to the book.His experiences outside the post office are what make the book so good.He covers quite a bit of diverse life experiences.There are times when he describes the experience so vividly that I almost felt as though I was there experiencing it myself.
I would say more but I don't want to give anything away that would detract from someone else's experience while reading it.I look forward to reading more books by him.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awsum!!
This was the most enjoyable book I have read in a LONG time. I am a US Postal worker and the stories that Charles Bukowski writes about are right on the money!!
He has definitely worked in the trenches of the postal service as I have. Most of the country think we are overpaid government workers, do very little, just go on break whenever, have it sooo easy, etc. This is a glimpse of the lunacy that actually happens on a daily, weekly,and yearly basis.
This should be a must read before you take the oath to be a postal worker. All postal workers will enjoy this. Definitely worth the money ... Read more

2. Women: A Novel
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 304 Pages (2007-03-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061177598
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Low-life writer and unrepentant alcoholic Henry Chinaski was born to survive. After decades of slacking off at low-paying dead-end jobs, blowing his cash on booze and women, and scrimping by in flea-bitten apartments, Chinaski sees his poetic star rising at last. Now, at fifty, he is reveling in his sudden rock-star life, running three hundred hangovers a year, and maintaining a sex life that would cripple Casanova.

With all of Bukowski's trademark humor and gritty, dark honesty, this 1978 follow-up to Post Office and Factotum is an uncompromising account of life on the edge.

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Customer Reviews (135)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
The book came to me in perfect condition, better than I even thought. I have absolutely no complaints!

3-0 out of 5 stars A excelent book in a poor paper.
The book is excelent, but the quality of the paper is very poor, practically disposable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
This is excellent book. A very gracious look at what it is like to be a poor man with a life of abundance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bukowski is a mastermind
Love all of this other books, this is icing on the cake. Definitely worth the read. Henry Chinaski is total American scum and I love it.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Real Hank Moody
On "Californication," the Showtime series based on Bukowski's alter ego Henry Chinaski and the litany of experiences recounted in "Women," David Duchovny plays Hank Moody. Hank is an L.A. based writer with a daughter, a difficult relationship with the girl's mother, and an endless succession of affairs with admirers, colleagues, and friends, often fueled as a result of alcohol and/or drug binges. Hank Chinaski also has a daughter, a difficult relationship with the girl's mother, an endless succession of affairs, and a taste for drugs and booze. The difference between Chinaski and Moody lies in Showtime's careful manipulation. Duchovny has the resources to make Hank handsome, charming, witty, and sympathetic even in his most careless moments. He lives well, in a beautiful bungalow in Venice, and maintains a passionate love for his daughter's mother which the viewer expects will ultimately lead him to his salvation.

Bukowski's Hank has the wit, but the comparison pretty much ends there. He is ugly, lives in small and squalid apartments, and is not averse to misogyny. In the midst of an affair with a belly dancer from Vancouver, he asserts his fondness for "Canadian bacon." Some sex scenes bear closer to resemblance to rape scenes. There is never a moment of a pause in these scenarios, never a sense of wrongness.

Bukowski's character is revolting and, in his depictions of his pustule-ridden skin, the greasy floors of his apartment, and his unrepentant addiction to sex with any and every woman who crosses his path, he expects our disgust. Unlike other reviewers, I found Chinaski's steady access to so many women quite implausible. Halfway through, the catalogue began to bore me, and most of the women bore little identity beyond their body parts.

He approaches some for the first time and, within minutes, they are in bed. He has little time for seduction or courting and most of these women seem grateful for the opportunity to lie with a poet.His tastes are varied: streetwalkers, professionals living in the Hollywood Hills, dilettantes, unstable pill freaks, and numerous nubile admirers. Only a few women are truly memorable. The first is Lydia Vance, a sculptor and aspiring poet who inspires love and fear in Chinaski due to her passion and, often times, uncontrollable rage and jealousy. Vance is based on Bukowski's true life romance with sculptor and aspiring poet Linda King who later described her affair with Bukowski as a "prolonged nervous breakdown."

There is Tammy, a pillhead with bipolar tendencies. There is the remote Laura, whom Chinaski calls "Katharine" due to her resemblance to Katharine Hepburn. And there is Sara, the owner of an organic restaurant whose grace and dedication finally force Chinaski to question his behavior.

What saves this novel, which could easily be characterized as self-indulgent, misogynistic, hostile, and rather proud of itself for having these qualities, is its lucidity about the ways in which we distract ourselves in an effort to avoid wondering what meaning our lives bear. At one point, Chinaski confronts that his drinking, womanizing, and writing are simply activities to occupy his time while he waits to die.

Bukowski's style is straightforward, sometimes even brusque. His dialogue is a treat, giving a true sense of hearing how people communicate and, often, cross wires. There is some redundancy, which one might chalk up to poor editing or unawareness but that is, of course, not the case. Instead, this motif assists the tone of the novel, in which little changes and never is there a promise that the narrator has learned anything about himself or anyone else.

Bukowski avoids the flourishes of his contemporaries and mentions some by name in "Women," often contributing a taste for their novels to those within a certain class and of a temperament which are anathema to him.

I liked the novel because it is honest, though I detest many of the things it is honest about. I like it because it never pretends to be anything more than it is: an account of a man who finally has it good and intends to enjoy it, for he has nothing to lose except life itself. ... Read more

3. Ham on Rye: A Novel
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-03-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006117758X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski. From a harrowingly cheerless childhood in Germany through acne-riddled high school years and his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, women, and the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of D. H. Lawrence, Ham on Rye offers a crude, brutal, and savagely funny portrait of an outcast's coming-of-age during the desperate days of the Great Depression.

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Customer Reviews (142)

4-0 out of 5 stars Boys will be boys
With so many books on my "plate" I try mixing genres, topics, possibilities, and thought I was doing so when choosing this bookright after reading Skippy Dies.Despite being written in different decades and by seemingly disparate authors, I was struck by the many similarities between the two.Boys will be boys no matter, and the protagonists of these two books met entirely different fates even though the roads they traveled were so similar.unlike fragile Skippy, Henry finds inner strength despite a remarkably brutal, lovless homelife and his own combative self-destructive nature.It's astounding how he survives, and as with many, the large part literature plays in granting him his only awareness that there is life outside his personal hell.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ham on Rye
In the age of political correctness manicured malehood and metrosexuals, this work even now continues to speak with an authentic maleness that is refreshing and honest. The book "Ham on Rye" is a simple narrative whos' directness of tone and economy of works gives an honesty lacking in a great deal of work around now. There are no complex subplots, there are no preachy beleaguering comments about our hero's choices, there is just the tale. Chinaski, the main character could easily journey with the men of "On the Road", but without their beatnik hipness that can so grate. It has that same joy of a narrative as "On the Road", that does not force the reader to some perfect conclusion and thus it stands that test of a classic. It is a book that you could forever reread. Its not an easy book to recommend to friends, it is a book of the outsider, it is similar to "Catcher in the Rye" in that it charts the characters movement from innocence to streetsmart, whilst avoiding "Catchers's" habit of trying to capture teen slang.This is a great book and even, better I feel dangerous walking down the road with it in my hand.

Ham on Rye: A Novel

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read.
I devoured this book. Bukowski's story reminded me of my "troubled" youth. One of best books I have ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Getting To Know Bukowski
With every novel he writes, Bukowski reveals another chunk of his crazy life.This one centers on his early years, starting at the age of two straight on through high school hell and into college.His discovery of booze and women makes for the strangest, funniest book about survival in the growing up years that I have ever read.Loved every drunken page of it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Best so far
This is my favorite Bukowski novel so far. I had just finished Women and was pretty burned out on him, but this novel was completely different. ... Read more

4. Tales of Ordinary Madness
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 238 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0872861554
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

With Bukowski, the votes are still coming in. There seems to be no middle ground—people seem either to love him or hate him. Tales of his own life and doings are as wild and weird as the very stories he writes. In a sense, Bukowski was a legend in his time . . . a madman, a recluse, a lover . . . tender, vicious . . . never the same . . . these are exceptional stories that come pounding out of his violent and depraved life . . . horrible and holy, you cannot read them and ever come away the same again.

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Customer Reviews (37)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Nice Indeed
I really enjoyed "...Ordinary Madness."It's the first time I've read Bukowski's short fiction after reading a few novels and a couple books of poetry.I enjoyed the hell out of quite a few of these stories.Dirty old man putting it out there, fearlessly exposing parts himself, ourselves and humanity and being hilarious along the way.

I thought some of the stories towards the end got a little preachy about politics and poetry and just skimmed them.Overall, this book is totally worth it and showed another side of Buk I haven't seen.The best part I think is when he plays with the form in a couple stories and is obviously experimenting / having fun.I highly recommend this book, especially to Buk fans.To those just starting, I would recommend one of his novels like "Post Office" or "Factotum" or his poetry (I like "You Get So Alone Sometimes it Just Makes Sense").

5-0 out of 5 stars Love this book!
The short story on "the pest" is one of the funniest things I have ever read! I love his refreshing honesty and lack of tact-it's great!

4-0 out of 5 stars Madness -- Ordinary and Otherwise
At certain times in my life, when I feel blue or lonely or otherwise in a funk, I turn to the writings of the American writer Charles Bukowski, (1920 - 1994), the perennial outsider and outcast. Sometimes they help, but sometimes they simply reinforce a mood. "Tales of Ordinary Madness", a volume of short stories, did something of both.This collection of 34 short stories and vignettes is tough, raw, crude, and violent. It startled me, even though I have familiarity with Bukowski's novels and poetry and with the short stories collected in the book "South of No North."The "ordinary madness" stories are by the same hand and explore the same themes, but Bukowski's other books did not fully prepare me for them.

The book was part of a longer collection of stories published in 1972 which, in 1982, was split up and made into two collections.The stories were originally published in magazines, includingadult magazines,and newspapers, although the specifics remain unmentioned in this volume. In addition, these stories were not published by John Martin and Black Sparrow Press, Bukowski's usual publisher, but by City Lights Books.A movie titled "Tales of Ordinary Madness" directed by the Italy's Marco Ferrerri and based upon some of the stories in this and the companion volume appeared in 1981.

Most of Bukowski's other works are written in short, simple, mostly clear sentences. Not so with these stories. Bukowski writes at times in a stream-of-consciousness, "spontaneous prose" style. The sentences go on and on, full of ranting and raving.The story lines as well frequently wander off in a variety of directions making them difficult to follow.

Set in the skid rows of Los Angeles, these stories are extreme. They have a claustrophobic, jarring feel. The stories are set in jails, institutions, rooming houses, the poor streets, the racetrack.The characters are mad and tormented, but recognizable. The word "ordinary" in the title suggests that life frequently has the character displayed in these stories, perhaps in varying guises, regardless of location, education, or economic class.The stories are full of violence, crude sex, excretions, alcohol and drugs, crime, alienation, and death. Some of the stories are more overtly philosophical that Bukowski's other writings, as the stories discuss for many pages Bukowski's thoughts on literature and poetry.

Many of the stories are autobiographical with the primary character identified as "Charles Bukowski."One story uses a Bukowski stand-in named Dan Skorski.Henry Chinaski does not appear in these tales.Several of the stories include tender moments especially as they relate to the Bukowski character's relationship with his young daughter.A number of stories describe Bukowski's experiences in reading his poetry at universities, while one story recounts how Bukowski was found ineligible for the military service in WW II.Some of the better stories in this collection describe Bukowski's experiences at the racetrack.These stories of horse racing, betting, and the frequenters of the sport have a freshness to them and a feeling of first hand experience.An assortment of losers, loners, and drifters frequent these stories. Oddly, several of these stories include as a character a young rabbinical student, said to be an admirer of the author's writing. Many of the stories, and scenes in the stories, are garish and lurid. It would be no shame to be uncomfortable with them.

This is a mixed collection, as in typical with Bukowski, including much tough good material together with considerable sections that are disturbing or just bad. It is a book for moods and moments, not for everyone and not every day fare. Readers fascinated with Bukowski should read it.

Robin Friedman

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent purchase
I really enjoy reading this book. The service was excellent and my book arrived quickly.

1-0 out of 5 stars Tales of Ordinary Blandness
This is only the second Bukowski book I've read, the first being Post Office. I liked Post Office much better, maybe cuz I ran a Rual Route as a letter carrier and I could relate to his struggle.There were a couple of short stories in Tales I found interesting, but the writing style makes for a confusing read. I found myself sometimes re-reading parts to follow where he was going. Either I didn't have e-nuff tall beers in me or maybe, I'm a little too upper middle class. It wasn't that bad but, wasn't that great.... ... Read more

5. Love is a Dog From Hell
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 312 Pages (2002-06-05)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$10.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0876853629
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Description not available ... Read more

Customer Reviews (39)

1-0 out of 5 stars in his life

wrote a

5-0 out of 5 stars a real shocker
I fancy myself a poet and have been reading poetry since I was thirteen years old....I always heard of Bukowski but never gotten around to him till I was about 26...two years ago....and this is the book I bought and I cant lie when I say that I laughed out loud the first time I started reading this HUGE book of poems......Bukowski really is shocking, perverted and all that but in a good way, I just love how they say how much he influenced poetry because its just so funny how something so twisted could cause such an influence.....I highly recommend this if you're looking for a great book of Poems......if you would rather be tried by Bukowskis short stories, I would go buy "Note of a Dirty Old Man" right away.......that book will shock anyone, it reminded me of HST on a bad PCP trip, again, in a good way....Love is a Dog From Hell is an essential Bukowski title and one not to be missed......

5-0 out of 5 stars Hell ain't so bad...
Reeling from an unhappy love affair, I picked up a copy of this book after wandering the aisles of Rizzoli's one day in the mid-eighties. I guess the title spoke to my situation, but what I found inside was more than enough to sustain me until the next pair of legs walked by. Since then, I've nurtured a love for almost everything the man has written. Bukowski tells it straight, for better or worse, and often we see the writer himself in the crosshairs more than anyone else.

5-0 out of 5 stars raw, lewd, sexy, disgusting, tender, angry, beautiful, bukowski
never thought that I would be impressed by c. bukowski's poetry, but it's brilliant. I love it. If you love bukowski, you'll apprecite this.

5-0 out of 5 stars did i see u at suffolk downs?
probably 20 something years ago i read this collection of what i call beatnik prose thanks for the memories... ... Read more

6. Notes of a Dirty Old Man
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 204 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0872860744
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"People come to my door—too many of them really—and knock to tell me Notes of a Dirty Old Man turns them on. A bum off the road brings in a gypsy and his wife and we talk. . . drink half the night. A long distance operator from Newburgh, N.Y. sends me money. She wants me to give up drinking beer and to eat well. I hear from a madman who calls himself 'King Arthur' and lives on Vine Street in Hollywood and wants to help me write my column. A doctor comes to my door: 'I read your column and think I can help you. I used to be a psychiatrist.' I send him away. . ."

... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another gem from Buk...
Bukowski has always made me laugh-maybe it's because I'm cynical and mean ha ha. Although his reading can be crass for some, I always find a pearl of wisdom in what he writes. This book has many "pearls".

1-0 out of 5 stars I lent this book to a friend
A friend of mine is an avid reader so I lent her Notes of a Dirty Old Man. She got 30 pages into the book and gave it back. She called Buk morose, confusing, disjointed and overindulgent. She called the book:'Depressing', 'Pointless','How do you accidentally rent a room in a whore house?', 'He's always drunk', 'A baseball ball player with wings?', 'When you lent this book to me, you said it would be funny, well,it wasn't funny, it was disturbing'...I guess Bukowski isn't for everyone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Bukowski for first timers and long time fans.
A collection of his short stories and poems written for a newspaper in LA.Some of the stories are used in some form in his other works, but they are all worth reading.Yes, he was a drunk, womanizing lowlife with a great imagination with a gift with words.A man from hard times and a disregard for being PC, his works may offend, disgust and possibly make you hate him; however this is a large part of what makes his writing 'real'.Gritty and dirty this is a great compilation of who he was and what he thought.Enjoy or be offended, but definitely worth the read.

5-0 out of 5 stars You can take your Updike and shove it
Bukowski because he can. A writer that might not have changed or infulence a generation of other writers...yet. His writting style can be intense and saddening or laid back and happy. Bukowski for all his shortcommings is a writer that should not be missed. How many of my college English teachers did not make this a priorty for us to read is frustating. Short stories that are brillant. Watch the documentary about Charles. It will give you a lot of great background information on one hell of a writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars great
the only books I've read from Bukowski before this are "Ham on Rye" and "Love is a Dog from Hell".....but this book really is the most intense work of art that I've read in a good while.....I would consider it a Must-Own even though I have just started recently to read him and dont know if there is better ones out there or not...but it is an amazing insight to his own life, and freakin Hilarious...... ... Read more

7. You Get So Alone at Times
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 320 Pages (2002-06-05)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$6.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0876856830
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book description to come. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars A softer pitbull
You get so ALONE at times that it JUST MAKES SENSE. The title alone should make anyone intrigued, if nothing else, and in fact that's just what happened with me. Bukowski was more or less only a name to me when I stumbled across this book, one of so many literary figures whose work, I'd been told, I should check out. In many regards, it seems that this collection of poems was the best way to begin an aqcuaintance.

Penned at a time when Bukowski's turbulent life-style had seriously begun to affect his health, this book does not stand as particularly innovative in context to his own literary canon, and it may be argued that it offers less of the emotional rage which characterized much of his earlier work in the 1970's. However, that is one of the reasons why it is apt to make such a profound impact on the reader; no matter what his mood may be, Bukowski never fails to be Bukowski, enunciating his memories, visions and thoughts in his own distinct manner, which essentially consists of giving you the finger while acknowledging you as a loyal listener simultaneously. To write about sex, drugs, alcohol, loneliness and the weather is easy enough (in fact, such things seem to be the favorite topics of most writers), but few authors are able to be truly convincing about these things and still maintain a sort of reflective distance to it all; I guess a Bukowski is required for to do that.

It'd be a hard task to single out personal favorites in this collection, but to me, "January," "I'll take it..." and "Some Suggestions" are among the ones which deserve special mention. In sum, YOU FEEL SO ALONE AT TIMES THAT IT JUST MAKES SENSE may not be Bukowski's most outstanding work, but it is surefire nutrition to the fan, including several of his best poems. It is possibly among the best introductions to a newcomer as well, as it conveys a little bit of every aspect of the man: pitbull Buk and softer Buk.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great For Bukowski fans
I actually ordered this very quickly on an impulse and didn't even look to see that it was poetry.Ended up being a great read for me, as much as any of his novels.I didn't give it 5 stars because I don't think it's his best, but pretty damn good.

3-0 out of 5 stars It was nice.
It was nice. It was a bit like reading my own scibblings, though. It's not Bukowski's absolute best, but it was nice collection of ramblings. I didn't find much in it that really stood out.

Any Bukowski fan would like it. If you're not a Bukowski buff already, don't bother, unless you'd want to hear random ramblings from the journal of a drunk old cynic.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Bukowski
I hate "poets." I like back-alley writers though; Bukowski is as back alley as they come. I wish I'd learned about his writings back when I still believed that life could be nice or fair. That would've saved me a lot of frustration.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Large One
This collection is massive and reads like the old man wrote in a month; it is a great example of Bukowski's subtleness of form. ... Read more

8. Slouching Toward Nirvana: New Poems
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 288 Pages (2006-01-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060577045
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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in this place

there are the dead, the deadly and the dying.

there is the cross, the builders of the cross and the burners of the


the pattern of my life forms like a cheap shadow

on the wall before me.

my love

what is left of it

now must crawl

to wherever it can crawl.

the strongest know that death is


and the happiest are those gifted with the

shortest journey.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Can't Beat the Buk
For a guy who's been dead since 1994, Charles Bukowski is an amazingly prolific sort. This is the 13th posthumous work to come from the Buk since his death and it's subtitled "new poems."

The Buk never claimed to be the best person, the best lover, the best writer, the best anything; although I'm sure that at different times and with plenty of beer in him he put forward some extravagant claims of other kinds. I love him, and many, many regular people who feel similarly do so because, I think, he was honest, unsentimental and a great lover of humanity in his poems--even when he is castigating humanity for its ugliness. It's precisely this breadth, which I would call Whitmanesque in its strange multiplicity, that continues to amaze.

These are far from his best poems, but there are some gems in here. Bukowski was the kind of poet of which there were and are few to none--a populist who wanted to be left alone, a lonely man who wasn't alone, a craftsman of the finest stamp, somebody who, like Hemingway, got the true words down on paper and knew how to leave it there. There are poems here about the usual Buk concerns: Women, drinking, the track, love, impending death, other writers, fame, bars, working horrible jobs, starving, starving, drinking and writing in boardinghouses; his close and unforgiving (yet deeply sympathetic) portraits of other people trying to push the dharma wheel a few inches forward, usually failing.

I won't attempt to do any lit crit pronouncements on this book. It's something to read alone and laugh with, to read openly with other people, to cherish, to keep the fire alive. There's an existential commitment to meaning here, the meaning one places on one's own actions, decisions, follies, joys, tears, life and death. We were fortunate to have him and now fortunate to have all these volumes to keep us warm.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lies, Half-lies and God-#$$% Mother-$@$@&!! LIES!!!
I hate writing reviews. I also hate the consumer as much as the producers of goods for the most part but right now I'm feeling sprendthrift towards humanity due to all the Yuletide cheer. This book is rubbish. Nearly all of the posthumous books released by Black Sparrow/Ecco of Buk's work are fifth-rate, fragments of his glory days of skid-row bum-dom. It's as if they scraped his cancerous boils and produced enough DNA to put his soul back to life in a maggot's body with a Frankenstein's aptitude for producing works of art. The result is echoes of echoes of a former greatness. The rawness of the famed writer is lost in complete drunkenness and scraps of poems that were never published in books because they were leftover material. Maybe that's why John Martin sold off the rights because he couldn't continue to publish a dead man's best of works for obscene sums of money. If they retitled it WORST OF THE WORST: AFTERMATHS OF GLORY Vol. 5 I might feel better about the whole thing. But as is this is vainglorious puke.

5-0 out of 5 stars Slouching Toward Greatness
This latest volume of Charles Bukowski's poetry was published posthumously and edited by John Martin. Almost all the poems are highly personal and often told through the voice of a first person narrator who is obviously Bukowski himself. He is nothing if not opinionated. He listens to Sibelius, Wagner and Brahms, reads Auden, Dostoevsky and Hamsun, does not care for visitors, ("sometimes I simply ask them to leave/and they do") abhors poetry readings and signings ("this is the ultimate sellout, Jack.") as well as most academic poets or academics of any kind. He doesn't care for Hemingway, ("he knew that what he was/killing was already/dead.") likes his cats, ("I think cats are better than we are") alcohol and women-- although he admits that he is not always successful in his affairs-- and detests reviewers, describing them as "a dink moralist, a failed young writer or most likely just nothing at all." (I suppose I know what he would have to say about nothing Amazon reviewers.) He thinks about death but isn't obsesssed by it. ("death doesn't always come running.") After all, he is now past 70 and has beat the odds of not living a long life ("because Death after all these years/walks around in the room with me now and speaks softly"). He doesn't want a eulogy when he departs this world. "it would be nice/if one of my x-ladies was there/wearing too much makeup. . . and a tight green dress. . ." He is crazy about horse races, spends a lot of time and money attending them, and hates most movies, particularly those that win awards. ("Academy Award?", page 86.)

Two or three character sketches of Richard Corey types are included here-- a Harry Keel person, "admired and feared" in school who years later turns up as a down-and-out salesman and Dale Thorpe ("golden boy"), envied from afar in high school but who has since disappeared-- and a moving poem about a kid who, after the bullies beat him up daily at school, must endure the wrath of his mother because his clothes are ruined ("clothes cost money").

As do all good poets, Mr. Bukowski achieves much with little-- often with biting humor: "is what's good for the goose sometimes only good for the/goose?" he asks. And he beautifully contrasts youth and old age in "beach boys."

I watch the young boys on their surfboards
slim strong bodies gliding

some of them will end up in the madhouse
some of them will gain 80 pounds
some of them will commit suicide
most of them will eventually stop coming to the

The poet, who says we are all "museums of fear," eloquently describes his feelings in "with his awful teeth," describing "this dog Sadness," who is a "persistent mongrel."

There are literally dozens of similar passages in this collection that you will return to again and again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buk at his best
Most poets are struggling to get anything published and can hardly afford to send out less than their best work; so I have to marvel at a poet who intentionally holds back his best for publication after his death.But that's apparently what Bukowski did.I'm curious how many more poems he marked for posthumous release, but I'm not aware if John Martin has said.At any rate, the current batch is topnotch Bukowski and essential to any collection of his work.

In the past, one of my pleasures on finding a new Bukowski volume was to note the author photo, which changed from book to book.Now I get the impression that the official photo will be that of ofthe more avuncular-looking, white-haired Buk wearing his old-man windbreaker and gazing benignly at the camera.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome collection
I keep coming back to Buk after intervals - this collection is packed with gems - scathing attacks on humanity and its parade of fools. Lonely, introspective poems that reveal the vast emptiness of the universe and the soul. I have a few volumes of Buk's stuff and can't afford to buy them all but when I flipped through the pages of Slouching ... I had to have it. You will not be disappointed if you are a fan of poems by Trakl, Rilke, Holderlin etc... Bukowski is one of the giants. ... Read more

9. The Pleasures of the Damned: Poems, 1951-1993
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 576 Pages (2008-12-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$9.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061228443
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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To his legions of fans, Charles Bukowski was—and remains—the quintessential counterculture icon. A hard-drinking wild man of literature and a stubborn outsider to the poetry world, he wrote unflinchingly about booze, work, and women, in raw, street-tough poems whose truth has struck a chord with generations of readers.

Edited by John Martin, the legendary publisher of Black Sparrow Press and a close friend of Bukowski's, The Pleasures of the Damned is a selection of the best works from Bukowski's long poetic career, including the last of his never-before-collected poems. Celebrating the full range of the poet's extra-ordinary and surprising sensibility, and his uncompromising linguistic brilliance, these poems cover a rich lifetime of experiences and speak to Bukowski's "immense intelligence, the caring heart that saw through the sham of our pretenses and had pity on our human condition" (The New York Quarterly). The Pleasures of the Damned is an astonishing poetic treasure trove, essential reading for both longtime fans and those just discovering this unique and legendary American voice.

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Customer Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but definitely not definitve
Let me start off by saying that this is a mostly satisfying collection of Bukowski's poetry.There are a few slow spots here and there, but I strongly disagree with the reviewer who said that he could go for a hundred pages without finding a worthwhile poem; that's gross hyperbole.Overall the quality is pretty strong, certainly stronger than the average Bukowski book (excepting The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills; Love Is a Dog From Hell; Burning In Water, Drowning In Flame; War All the Time; and What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through Fire).

Most of Bukowski's books, especially the majority of the posthumous collections, are like garage sales - you dig through a dozen dusty stacks of crap to find one or two jewels worth keeping.But this one has a pretty good hit to miss ratio, although it is worth noting that most of the duds are posthumously published (or previously uncollected) poems.That said, another reviewer mentioned that the book was missing the poems "Love Poem to a Stripper", "To the Whore that took my Poems", and "The Beats."I would add to that "The Blackbirds Are Rough Today," "Consummation of Grief," and especially "I Met a Genius."Now, if you're new to Bukowski and you think that I'm just angry because some of my personal favorites are missing, go to Google and look up "Bukowski poetry," find a random website, and look for these poems.They're always there at any site you visit.That's because they're canon.How John Martin, the editor of this book, could miss these poems is beyond me.He obviously didn't check fanzines or conduct surveys, otherwise he wouldn't have overlooked such classics.

Now, if you've never read Bukowski before, and you're looking for a good collection, this is still probably the best place to start, but just be warned that it's somewhat uneven and incomplete.If you're a music fan, here's another analogy for you:You know that greatest hits collection by your favorite band that substitutes a couple of odd demos, live versions and b-sides for a few of your favorite songs?It's kind of like that - frustrating, but it's still better than most of the group's albums.So, if you're looking for one collection to replace the 10-20 Bukowski books sitting on your shelf, you may have to keep waiting for awhile.But if you're looking for a book that has the majority of Bukowski's greatest hits with a few stray b-sides thrown in, you could do a lot worse.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book and a must have for poetry fans
Great book, a good start to Bukoswki, gets you wanting to read more of him.

4-0 out of 5 stars This is Not The Best of the Best of Bukowski
You have to admire Bukowski for his tenacity to prove himself as an original artist and for his enormous body of work. I'm not too sure what Buk would make of his revamped, posthumous career, but he is becoming increasingly famous and this is the 14th major publication of his creative work since his death in 1994. The large blurb on the back cover of this new UK release claims: THE BEST OF THE BEST OF BUKOWSKI. As pointed out by Zachary T. Ciulla, about half of the poems collected in this volume were not published until after Bukowski's death. It is difficult to imagine Bukowski allowing a lot of this material to be published, but I suppose it is of sufficient interest to appeal to a Bukowski fanatic or scholar.

There are some astounding poems in this collection, such as `The Genius of the Crowd', `Dinosauria, we' and `the bluebird' but there is also a lot of second or third-rate filler. You can sometimes read 100 poems in a stretch and not find one worthy of detailed future consideration. I get the impression that Bukowski's long term venerable editor John Martin slapped this one together, tossing in the mix, dozens of uncollected or newly published poems to give the volume a fresh, previously unread feel, even amongst Buk's most ardent followers. The book is certainly worth reading, but overall, a vast majority of the poems did not challenge me or extend my understanding of the Bukowski canon.

If you are a novice reader of Bukowski, rather than waste your hard earned bucks on 'Pleasures of the Damned' check out some of his finer earlier work- he actually agreed to have published during his lifetime. You can't go wrong with LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL (1977), BURNING IN WATER DROWNING IN FLAME (1978) or WAR ALL THE TIME (1984).

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read!
This is an incredible collection of Bukowski - his insight into life is beautifully illuminated in this book.
What a great talent and man - we are all the better for having read him.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Bukowski Collection
Charles Bukowski was not your conventional poet. He didn't write in the traditional style that most poets write, with stanzas and syllable counts and rhyming patterns. I've actually one read one Bukowski poem that ever rhymed , and he ironically acknowledged that in the poem. He instead opted for a conversational free verse style of writing. He didn't typically write flowery statements about life and romance. His poems tend to be raw, blunt, and sometimes raunchy, taking the most mundane, offensive, and/or bizarre events and turning them into his own brand of poetry. His earthiness and lack of pretense has made him appealing to the "common man", so to speak, but hasn't particularly endeared him to most scholarly types. Bukowski's poetry has sometimes been criticized as "too simple" or "mediocre", but his simplicity is what has endeared him to millions of fans. His writing makes you feel as if you're having a conversation with an eccentric yet wise and perceptive sage. Throughout "The Pleasures of the Damned", a massive collection of Bukowski's poems, I felt like I was sitting down with the writer himself, in his living room, listening to his entertaining stories. That's one of the reasons why Charles Bukowski is so appealing. He makes the reader feel as if he's getting to know him. He tells his stories with wit, that's often ironic or sardonic, insight, and sometimes even surprising poignancy. "The Pleasures of the Damned" isn't a perfect collection, however. John Martin, the editor, could've trimmed a little of the fat and given us Bukowski's best work, instead of all of his poems. It also wouldn't have hurt to have an introduction of some sort, especially since Martin was so close to Bukowski. However, to the Bukowski fans, this is as close to a definitive collection of his work that we'll get and it's a great one at that. ... Read more

10. Pulp
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 208 Pages (2002-06-05)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0876859260
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Opening with the exotic Lady Death entering the gumshoe-writer's seedy office in pursuit of a writer named Celine, this novel demonstrates Bukowski's own brand of humour and realism, opening up a landscape of seamy Los Angeles.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (41)

2-0 out of 5 stars Finally found a Bukowski book I don't like
Well I have finally ran across a Bukowski book I don't like. Cliche ridden detective story, (yes I realize that some of those cliches were put there intentionally, but still) and Bukowskis attempts at humor for the most part fall flat.

5-0 out of 5 stars a beautifully bad masterpiece
Sure, it's juvenile, and sure, it's raunchy, but that's the whole point!It's wonderfully bad!You can tear through this in a couple nights, and there's some wonderfully rude dialogue (the phone sex bit is a scream) and some good old fashioned nose-smashing violence.You have to love a P.I. who charges $6 an hour and considers himself overpaid.Belane is not as perfect a loser as Hoke Mosely, but he's great in his own way.I read this about once a year, and love it every time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Bukowski Masterpiece!!
I was completely taken by this novel.It's a film noir style detective story mixed with supernatural subplots.Although it's a little off-beat, it was very enjoyable, one that's hard to put down after you pick it up.Hell it's a Bukoswki, did I even really need to write anything else?Highly recommended this book to Bukowski fans, film noir fans, reading fans, non-readers, men, women, cross genders, boys and girls! Read it!

3-0 out of 5 stars It's either a three or a five, but that depends on you.
"Pulp" finds tough-guy scribe Charles Bukowski at his most sensitive, though not everyone will recognize it. Long known for his skid-row classics "Ham on Rye" and "Post Office", Bukowski has changed gears dramatically for this, his final novel.More than the homage to the pulp fiction genre that it pretends to be, "Pulp" is a rumination on death, on a life spent pursuing it and on the potential for something afterwards.

Written after the author was diagnosed with leukemia, "Pulp" tells the story of Nick Belane, a down on his luck Hollywood detective that has been nicknamed, quite adequately, "Mr. Slow Death". The character, like the author who spawned him, is in the process of dying. Bukowski knew this, while Belane, at best, only suspects it.

The story follows Belane as he stumbles across a number of clients all at once and, due in no part to any talent of his own, manages to dispatch each case. The cases play something like you would expect from a detective novel, except that none of these tales possess the complex web of evidence or conspiracy commonly you would commonly find. The cases are also strikingly bizarre; they contain aliens, the personification of death and the appearances of long dead authors shopping in bookstores. Perhaps it is no surprise then, that Bukowski has dedicated the lot of it "To bad writing". As a detective novel, it could be said that this book is a complete failure.

However, the book, like its author, is more complex than it seems on the surface. What buttress the novel's central cases are a series of vignettes about Nick Belane's regular life. From these vignettes, we learn Belane, like Chinaski before him, shares a great deal in common with the book's author. Understanding the two to be representative of the same, "Pulp" becomes a book haunted by the author's coming death, and the specters of the life that preceded it. For the Bukowski enthusiast, this book will offer insight into the man's thoughts on his age, on the chances for his works to endure, on his literary influences and on his coming death. Much of the subject matter is surprisingly touching when read in this manner. Belane's frequent loneliness and occasional helplessness in the face of Lady Death, and the nature of the red sparrow, stand out as particularly poignant examples of this.

The problem is that this book, like the mysteries contained within it, is short on clues. The effect is that, for someone with no background into Bukowski, this book will be only a weak detective novel. The powerful introspection contained within will be lost on the casual reader. This is why the super-slim volume from Ecco ultimately disappoints us; it does not provide the context required to understand itself. One would expect that any company holding the copyright to all of Bukowski's works, as Ecco does, should be able to understand the context needed to appreciate this book. Yet, Ecco gives us only a sparse and perfunctory biography of the author and no background into his previous works This is much too little for the reader to appreciate the book's contents when taken on its own.

The majority of readers will not appreciate this volume then, nor should they be expected to. They will not know enough about Bukowski's history, his life or his death to appreciate the subtle craftsmanship contained within. They will not have read about his unease with the public, or understand why he would make this final attempt to buck convention. They will not see the poignancy of the conclusion, nor understand the reasons for the actions of many of the characters. To the average person, this book will be, at best, a strange genre piece.Only to the seasoned Bukowski fan will it be something special. This is a shame because, in the hands of the correct publishing company, this volume could have been so much more. As it is, "Pulp" is not a strong enough novel to stand on its own.

Taken by itself, "Pulp" is only a three star novel. This is especially true of this volume from Ecco, and may not represent its quality in earlier printings. However, if you have the context of all of Bukowski's novels then this is, like all of his books, a pure five star.

4-0 out of 5 stars Memento mori
Bukowski's Pulp isn't nearly as good as his Ham on Rye, nor nearly as bad asWomen.But it is, I think, his most reflective piece of prose writing--although, in typical Bukowski fashion, the depth is deliberately hidden.

On the down side, the book tends to repeat gags too frequently, characters are even less developed here than usual (for Bukowski), and the ending is so abrupt that the reader is tempted to think that the final twenty or so pages must be missing.

On the up side, though, the book is a really clever and at times hilarious spoof of the hard-boiled detective novel in which all the women characters are dames and dolls, the private dick is a cynical and rather seedy guy with a philosophical bent, and the clients are a mixture of improbably outlandish and all-too-ordinary characters (think of the mix in a typical Chandler novel).Dedicating his final effort to "bad writing," Bukowski is obviously having a ball trying to out-hard-boil the hard-boiled genre.

What's been overlooked by too many reviewers (here and elsewhere) is that the novel is also a swansong meditation on mortality.Bukowski must've either known or sensed, while he was writing it, that he was dying.There are too many ruminations about mortality in the novel--not to mention that one of the main characters, Lady Death, is Bukowski's version of the Grim Reaper--to be coincidental.Pulp is Bukowski's last chance to come to grips with an existence that he found dreary, sad, and rather sordid, and this novel is full of his reflections on life and death (e.g., pp. 57,89,99,127,135, and 150).The final scene, in which the main character Beltane dies and is absorbed by a "vast yellow vortex, more dynamic than the sun" (p. 202), is more evidence that death was clearly on Bukowski's mind when he wrote the book.It's unlike anything else in his prose.

Cleverly, Bukowski's philosophizing is expressed in the terse, tough-guy style that Chandler or Hammett have their heroes use:yet another way in which Bukowski spoofs the genre (and, probably, his own life too).But this doesn't take away from the poignant fact that Pulp is Bukowski's final reflection on mortality. ... Read more

11. Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 128 Pages (2002-06-05)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$6.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0876854374
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book description to come. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Bukowski's Poetry in the Dark
This volume of Bukowski's poems truly lives up to its title, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit.Like his other compilations, the title and his little short preface gives valuable insight to the collection. In this collection, Bukowski gives his wisdom before you hit the actual poems--" waiting/ in a life full of little stories/ for a death to come".This, coupled with the title, reveals that the poems will show how to live a hard, full life, pounding on the piano, until all the little emotions, encounters, and stories make you bleed.Bukowski doesn't disappoint, and his poems in this collection show the bleakness of the unrelenting force of life.Two poems stand out in this collection that really embraces Bukowski's theme and tone, "the apple" and "hug the dark".In "the apple",Bukowski plays off the archetypal view of an apple as the wisdom of life.He enforces that knowledge comes through living, not just books, when he points out the apple "is an experience" (59).Experience and living contain "underlying pits of white" (59), which represent a deeper understanding of emotions and truth.While Bukowski describes eating the apple, he daydreams about "choking to death on the apple skin" (59), emulating the fear of understanding, as well as oppressive nature that comes inherently with knowing too much.The poem ends with "depressive feelings" (59) and an "ending" (59), as the apples gets thrown away, leaving the poet staring at an ashtray.Likewise, in "hug the dark", Bukowski reveals how the cruel touch of life leaves a person jaded.The poem describes how "turmoil is the god" (113) of the modern world.It continues describing how pain can kill or help people survive, but "peace is the worst thing" (113) because it's fake.Peace covers up "the whores/ betrayal/ the worm in the apple" (113). Bukowski offers ominous advice to avoid theses modern gods, but, even if you do, you're still disturbed like anyone else. This collection shows Bukowski artfully peeling off the veneer of America, exposing the hopelessness of fighting against a life that beats you like a percussion instrument.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome.
I'm going to make this quick. If you like Bukowski, you'd love it. If you've never heard of him... What the phreak is wrong with you? Buy it already.

5-0 out of 5 stars All my friends are married, every Tom and Dick and....
You must be strong if you're to go it alone
Here's to the bachelors and the Bowery bums
Those who feel that they're the ones
That are better off without a wife

Cause I like to sleep until the crack of noon
Midnight howling at the moon
Going out when I want to and I'm coming home when I please
Don't have to ask permission, wanna to go out fishing
Never have to ask for the key

Well I've never been no Valentino
But I had a girl who lived in Reno
Left me for a trumpet player who didn't get me down
He was wanted for assault
Though he said it weren't his fault
You know the coppers rode him right out of town

I've been sleeping until the crack of noon
Midnight howling at the moon
And I've been Going out when I wanna coming home when I please
Don't have to ask permission, wanna to go out fishing
Never have to ask for the key

Kinda selfish about my privacy
Now as long as I can be with me
We get along so well I can't believe
I love to chew the fat with folks
I've been listening to all your dirty jokes
I'm so thankful for these friends I do receive

I've been sleeping until the crack of noon
Midnight howling at the moon
And I've been Going out when I wanna coming home when I please
Don't have to ask permission, I wanna to go out fishing
Never have to ask for the keys, no

Yeah, I've got this girl I know, man and I just...she's been married several times. I don't wanna end up like her, I mean she's been married so many times she's got rice marks all over her face. Yeah you know the kind.

-I wrote a review for "THE LAST NIGHT OF THE EARTH POEMS" wherein I quoted "THE PIANO HAS BEEN DRINKING" by T. Waits.A buddy of mine said I shoulda put that onehere, and I think, of course that woulda been way too obvious.But, maybe he was right.But, to h*ll with that and what's right.I always did know what the right path or choice was, but never took it anyway.It was just too damn hard.Except when it came to Buk.Buk and Waits.Buk and Waits and boxing.But here, you gotta know it's right to snatch this book up right away, because with Buk, you simply can't pick a bad one.Each one is as good, if not better, than the next and this one is no exception.Get it, get it, get it.You will not regret it.

Enjoy kiddies.Now I gotta make like a hockey player and get the puck outta here...

5-0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to Bukowski's poetry
This book is like a 'greatest hits' from the 1970s for Bukowski. Ranging from 1970 to 1979, these poems show him working on familiar themes, but he's getting better at expressing himself. His chaotic life is drawing to a close as he settles into married life in the 1980s. These poems are more focused than his earlier efforts, but also a little looser --- he's able to sum up a mood, a day, or an old friend in half a page of non-rhyming verse. These poems are full of wry humor and romance, a far cry from his reputation for booze and sullen moods. If you haven't read his poetry, try this book. You'll find out what kind of writer Bukowski was. It's sure to inspire you to read more of his great work.

5-0 out of 5 stars confessions of a first class maniac
This is the first Bukowski book that i read. All you have to do is take a look at both of my books, STONE HOTEL and RUSTY STRING QUARTET to see the obvious influence. Bukowski's importance as an American writer will only grow in the 21st century. The man is already a Hemingway-like figure in Europe;the cultural snobs of academia in America have tried to ignore his work, but that will change. This collection is a grab-bag of previously uncollected poems that Bukowski regularly submitted to small press rags during the late sixties and all the way up til his death. These are from the 70's and there are some great poems here dealing with a number of themes: alienation, lonliness, the emptiness of fame, the awkwardness of love triangles, and on and on. There is more truth and beauty in Bukowski's poems than in 500 yrs of philosophy and ersatz religions. A grand overstatement? Of course, but to heck with it; I am a poet too! ... Read more

12. The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New Poems
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 320 Pages (2008-01-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$6.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060577088
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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the gas line is leaking, the bird is gone from the
cage, the skyline is dotted with vultures;
Benny finally got off the stuff and Betty now has a job
as a waitress; and
the chimney sweep was quite delicate as he
giggled up through the
I walked miles through the city and recognized
nothing as a giant claw ate at my
stomach while the inside of my head felt
airy as if I was about to go
it’s not so much that nothing means
anything but more that it keeps meaning
there’s no release, just gurus and self-
appointed gods and hucksters.
the more people say, the less there is to say.
even the best books are dry sawdust.

—from "fingernails; nostrils; shoelaces"

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not His Strongest, But Stronger Than Most
This poetry collection was a little spottier than other books like, say, "Open All Night" - but the fact that this is one of several posthumous publications of Bukowski's work, it is remarkable that there are as many gems as there are in this book.

If you're interested in his racetrack poems or his poems about other writers, this book has some great ones. It's a bit lacking in those striking poems about the death of one of his former wives, which were always surprisingly vulnerable for such an already candid poet.

I would recommend this book to any Bukowski fan - it's a bit rough as a 100% first-Bukowski read - but weak Bukowski is still excellent poetry.

4-0 out of 5 stars The best posthumous poetry collection.
Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last (Ecco, 2007)

Being a Charles Bukowski fan since his death in 1994 has, for the most part, been an exercise in treading water. He left a phenomenal body of work to be published posthumously, but let's face it, he published most of the good stuff before he died. Way before, some would say. But The People Look Like Flowers at Last is the first book of poetry (The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship, a book of prose, is remarkable) since Bukowski's death where some of the poems really resound. Like Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame resound. Sure, in a book of three hundred pages, not all of them do, but some of this is Buk's best work since the early seventies. And all this time it was sitting in a drawer...

"I suppose like other
I have come through fire and sword,
love gone wrong,
head-on crashes, drunk at sea,
and I have listened to the simple sound of water running in tube
and wished to drown
but simply couldn't bear the others
carrying my body down three flights of stairs
to the round mouths of curious biddies..."
("it is not much")

So many of Bukowski's poems from the past forty years have been observational and nothing else. Astute, well-worded observations, of course, but no sense of closure, nothing other than stories that seem to be told and then sit there without asking the reader to think more. I'm not denigrating this type of poem (at least not when Bukowski writes it), but every once in a while he pops up with a poem in a more traditional structure, something that says "hey, you know, I've been thinking about..." and blasting the reader with fantastic images that are actually anchored to something. The majority of Burning in Water... is like that, and it's the last book with a clear majority of such poems. In the posthumous work, I thought they'd all died out, but such is not the case. It's not a majority, but there are enough here to keep the reader hungry for the next posthumous work. My favorite Buk in quite a while. *** ½

4-0 out of 5 stars A Mighty Fine Bukowski Collection
Read it front to back, back to front, or dip in and step out at your leisure. I keep it close at hand for a Bukowski fix and it always does me right.

5-0 out of 5 stars very pleased
For me this is one of the best books of prose or poetry I have read. I ear marked several. This is a now one of my favorite books.

5-0 out of 5 stars And it is the end
Sad to say, this book exhausts the remainder of Buk's poetry. The work is not as strong as earlier books, not as pointed. But as he would have understood, all ends. So what else is new? There are some strong poems: a eulogy, "legs"("she was a great woman/with great legs/but she found life too hard/she died 34 years ago and/I haven't seen/legs like that/since/and I have never stopped/looking"); one on fame and its burdens "I never bring my wife"("I would like to be human/if only they would let me"). You hear the weariness, Some shots come through, "he has a face women would love:utterly bland and blank/untouched by circumstance.")He tells us, "while most people converse away/I write it all down." We are better for it. ... Read more

13. Hollywood
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 248 Pages (1989-01-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0876857632
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Hank and his wife, Sarah, agree to write a screenplay, and encounter the strange world of the movie industry.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not his best--but not his worst
I've read nearly all of Bukowski's books (bought them all at once from Amazon), and this one has its moments. But overall it's just mediocre. There is some humor in it, and it's occasionally insightful. It drags at times, with a lot of drinking by nearly everyone, and the characters do unbelieveable things. Yet it provides enough entertainment to read to the end. Some of his books, I found to be so disgusting that I couldn't continue reading. I think his best work is Factotum (Paperback). Women: A Novel is probably his worst.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun Read...
OK, a couple of caveats...

First:Bukowski isn't for everyone.(In fact, it might be true that Bukowski doesn't appeal to the great majority of people.But hey, so what!)

Second:This book is best read AFTER having seen the movie "Barfly."

With that said, I found Bukowski's thinly-veiled recounting of the making of "Barfly" (via his alter-ego, Hank Chinaski and in his typical "straight, no chaser" style), a very enjoyable, fun, read.It's one of my favorite Bukowski books and certainly ranks quite high as an overall favorite book of mine.

Worth checking out!

4-0 out of 5 stars great deal great book
The book was a amazing! It was my first Bukowski read. I will purchase from amazon again. shipping was quick and inexpensive.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but don't start here:Bukowski reflects on his brief stint in the film industry....
The act of writing is often a good way for people to consider and reflect on Life, on Ideas, or anything else.Hollywood comes shortly after Bukowski was involved in the making of a film -- barfly: he wrote the script.

Hollywood comes across as a writer trying to comes to terms and reach some sort of conclusion about his experience in the movie industry.

Bukowski experiences both the good and the bad while he is involved with making the film.He meets fellow artists, gamblers, genius' to whom he feels sympathetic, while he also meets primadonnas and business-minded suits.Part of the film business he genuinely seems to like.

The reader shares with Bukowski his enjoyment and pride in seeing something he wrote come alive as actors reenact memorable scenes from his past.

Ultimately, Bukowski decides that he will not write another movie script He is unwilling to compromise his art.And he is disgusted by the business mindedness of so many of the people who have the final say in what movies are going to be made.

One quirk I enjoyed about this book is that it is the first book in which Buk has achieved some success.Bukowski is determined not to let success and money change him as an artist.Only, he wonders if that is possible.He's now driving a black BMW instead of an old Jetta; and he has a Jewish accountant.

Like any Bukowski novel, this isn't a bad read.The dialogue is a strength, and it's easy to see how Bukowski's dialog and prose would translate well into film script.

If you haven't read Bukowski, I suggest you start elsewhere.Ham on Rye: A Novel would be a good place to start. post office: A Novel and Women: A Novel I also suggest reading before Hollywood. Although an exception could be made if you are less interested in Bukowski's literature and more interested in looking inside independent film-making.However, if you haven;t read Bukowski before, it is a sure thing that much of the humor and subtle remarks will not catch on with the reader.

2-0 out of 5 stars "The hours are long and must be filled somehow until our death"
So says Chinaski (pp. 202-03), Bukowski's alter-ego protagonist in Hollywood.In all honesty, the writing of Hollywood seems to have been one of those exercises to fill up empty and long hours.There's a difference between being prolific and good, and Bukowski's Hollywood--like his earlier novel Women--falls on the prolific side.

Autobiographical like all of Bukowski's novels except for his final one (Pulp), the book is the story of the writing of the script for the 1987 film "Barfly," running from the commission to write to the release of the movie.The narrative is filled with Hollywood types--producers, directors, actors, camera men, hangers-on--who Chinaski/Bukowski encounter along the way.Some of his sketches of them are genuinely witty and entertaining.Others--not so much.His depiction of Francois Racine, the fictional counterpart of Truffault--is way overdone, an increasingly tedious caricature of the tormented Gallic existentialist.Moreover, the character just disappears halfway through the novel, as if Bukowski either got tired of him or simply forgot about him.

In fact, the entire novel lacks cohesion--even more so than a typical Bukowski novel.Bukowski seems to come into his stride in the last 50 or so pages, which are genuinely solid.But the 200-page lead-up is embarrassingly bad.Admittedly, its fun to read Bukowski's savaging of Tinseltown, but one-liners do not a good novel make.

One theme in the novel--again, a characteristically Bukowskian theme--is Chinaski's/Bukowski's insistence that he only really feels alive when he's working at his "typer."He drinks so much, he tells the reader, because he can't otherwise face the tedium and "nothingness" of existence.Drink and frantic writing:two ways of filling up the hours.Fair enough.But not everything written to fill up the hours is necessarily worth reading.And the urge to fill each and every novel with nonstop drinking just wears thin after awhile. ... Read more

14. Factotum tie-in
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 208 Pages (2006-08-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006113127X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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One of Charles Bukowski's best, this beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate novel follows the wanderings of aspiring writer Henry Chinaski across World War II-era America. Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job. His day-to-day existence spirals into an endless litany of pathetic whores, sordid rooms, dreary embraces, and drunken brawls, as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next.

Charles Bukowski's posthumous legend continues to grow. Factotum is a masterfully vivid evocation of slow-paced, low-life urbanity and alcoholism, and an excellent introduction to the fictional world of Charles Bukowski.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (75)

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book
Found this book a little redundant but enjoyable. I was suprised that the ending was so abrupt and not very satisfying.

3-0 out of 5 stars Reads like Burroughs.
I gave this book three stars, because it's fun and an easy read. I was able to knock it out in two sittings. I see a lot of reviewers commenting highly on Bukowski's prose, saying it's poetic and smooth, elementary is a better description. His prose reminds me of Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.

The novel centers on Hank Chinaski, and his inability or lack of desire to stay employed. He basically is an alcoholic, womanizer who's living paycheck to paycheck. It's a fun read, a beach read, but if your looking for character depth and a plot, you won't find it here.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good, but not Post Office
I absolutely loved Post Office and also enjoyed Factotum.As great as Bukowski proved himself as a poet, his prose is even better in my opinion.

That said, Factotum seemed to be a bit of a watered-down version of Post Office.

The main character, Henry Chinaski, bounced around jobs so much that it was sometimes hard to remember where one left off and another began.Where Chinaski in Post Office had clear needs and opposition preventing him from fulfilling those needs, Chinaski in Factotum was just kind of floating through life.

Like the unforgettable scene in first book, when Chinaski argues with a superior about filling mail trays, this book also has that one incredible scene when Chinaski talks to his drinking, gambling friend who's looking for a woman.You'll know exactly what I'm talking about once you read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Grim but Streetwise Ramble Through Underside of WWII America
Bukowski followed the coming of age of Henry Chinaski covered in Ham On Rye with this rather sordid look at his young adulthood. Chinaski leaves home in LA and wanders across WWII era America drifting from meaningless job to meaningless job and flop house to flop house. There's a deadpan delivery as he relates his tale of drifting, drinking, whoring and losing job after job without seeming to care that gives the story an air of desperation and acceptance of a downward trajectory that seems inevitable to him.
Despite what sounds like a depressing story, reading factotum is like witnessing a train wreck. You can't look away even as you're shocked by what you see. Credit that to Bukowsi's sharp prose style and acerbic wit. I also enjoyed the portrayal of an already seedy downtown Los Angeles of the 40's.

4-0 out of 5 stars Typical Bukowski
This is pretty typical Bukowski. As with most of what he wrote its supposed to be loosely based on his real life experiences. If you can get beyond his annoying habit of trying to convince you of how tough he is and exagerrating if not out and out lying about the frequency of his sexual encounters and the quality of the women involved then its a good quick read for a laugh. The best stuff in this is his humorous accounts of working various disposable menial jobs. Bukowski is very funny, a fact which seems to get lost in the shuffle by the lame hipsters who comprise the bulk of the fans of his work. ... Read more

15. South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 192 Pages (2002-06-05)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0876851898
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Book description to come. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent intro to Bukowski
Charles Bukowski -- controversial literary figure though he may be -- is surely one of contemporary literature's great writers. His short story collection "South of No North" is an excellent introduction to Bukowksi and his harsh, yet darkly poetic and strangely touching, fiction style. For anyone who colors outside the lines -- or is curious about those who do -- this is virtually a must-read. Bukowski "thinks outside the box" but -- case in point -- he would have hated that expression, beat it to death with words and showered it in beer piss.


5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Bukowski never fails me. This is another example of his genius(medness?) Any fan of the music and bands he inspires today (Hot Water Music, Senses Fail, Modest Mouse, Thursday) will enjoy anything he writes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good short stories
Bukowski's poetry and most of his novels are always right on. His short stories are a little iffy though. I'd read, or tried to push through, "The Most Beautiful Woman in Town," but it was horrible. Now, years later, I have picked up on "South of no North." These stories are unlike the other's I've read. They are all very good. Even the lackluster ones have something to offer. If you're going to take a stab at his short stories, I'd highly recommend this collection, but stay away from "The Most Beautiful Woman in Town."

5-0 out of 5 stars Nighthawks at the diner...
One of those nights...

And it's warm beer and cold women, know I just don't fit in
Cause every joint I stumbled into tonight
That's just how it's been
All these double knit strangers with
gin and vermouth and recycled stories in the naugahyde booths

With the platinum blondes and tobacco brunettes
I'll be drinkin' to forget you
I'll light another cigarette
And the band's playing something by Tammy Wynette
And the drinks are on me tonight

All my conversations now I'll just be talkin' about you baby
Boring some sailor as I try to get through
I just want him to listen now
I said that's all you have to do
He said I'm better off without you till I showed him my tattoo

And now the moon's rising, ain't got no time to lose
Time to get down to drinking
Tell the band to play the blues
Now the drink's are on me, I'll buy a couple rounds
At the last ditch attempt saloon

Warm beer, cold women, No I just don't fit in
Every joint I stumbled into tonight
That's just how it's been
All these double knit strangers with gin and vermouth
Receding hairlines in the naugahyde booths

And the platinum blonde, tobacco brunette
I'll be drinking to forget you babe
I'll light a menthal another cigarette
And the band's playing something by Johnnie Barnett
At the last ditch hotel saloon

-It's Buk.Not much more needs to be said than that.You can't really go wrong picking ANYTHING by him and just going with it.This is no exception.Truly no exception.It's absolutely perfect, from start to finish, and truly captures all that is, and was, Buk.Get this, and cherish it and you will not regret it.Swipe a bottle of scotch before you settle in with it, and you'll be even happier.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Buried Life
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) had a gift for creating evocative titles.The title of this book, "South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life" (1975) captures hauntingly the sense of loneliness, alienation, and aloneness that underlies the 27 short stories in this volume.

Bukowski began writing short stories at an early age while he supported himself doing odd jobs and through work at the Post Office.He then turned to poetry and, eventually, to writing novels at the urging of John Martin of Black Sparrow Press.Bukowski continued to write stories and columns for underground newspapers in Los Angeles.Some of the stories are included here.

As are the novels, Bukowski's stories are raw and gritty.They are filled with life in Los Angeles flophouses and cheap rooming houses.The stories feature chronic alcoholism, crude sexuality, sexual frustration, horseplaying, violence, and joblessness.They are a chronicle of the life of the down-and-outer.

Many of the stories are told in the voice of Harry Chinaski, the autobiographical character that is at the center of Bukowski's novels.But interestingly, some of the stories in this collection feature other characters and settings.The collection includes, for example a fanciful story set in the old West, "Stop Staring ... Mister", and stories with imaginative, if macabre themes, including "No way to Paradise", "Maja Thurup" and "The Devil was Hot".

The dominant impression these stories convey is one of loneliness and isolation.Whether the character is Harry Chinaski or another individual, Bukowski writes of individuals who lack social connectedness and sense of purpose.His characters are perpetual outsiders who mock a world they cannot share and simultaneously tear themselves apart.Dostoevsky's Underground Man is a distant cousin of most of the characters we meet in Bukowski's stories.Another book that I find similar in tone, set in New York City rather than the west coast is Hubert Selby's "Last Exit to Brooklyn" which shares much of the grimness, loneliness, sexual obsession, and search for love that I find in Bukowski.

Some of the works included in this collection are more vignettes than short stories.There is little in the way of development and in some cases the climax of the story is nonexistent or misfires.There are interesting settings, however, in many of these stories and as sketches many of them work well.

The stories that exemplify the theme of loneliness for me include the first one in the collection, titled "Loneliness" and the story "Remember Pearl Harbor?" which tells of Chinaski's rejection for military service in WW II.These stories are good at sketching the nature of the rootless, lonely individual.Some of the other stories in this collection that I thought good are "Bop Bop against that Curtain", "Christ on Rollerskates", "Hit Man", "Pittsburgh Phil & Co" (a fine story about gambling at the racetrack) and "Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts."

Bukowski writes simply with short sentences in a style filled with explecatives and references to sexual and excrecatory functions.I became interested in Bukowski's writings several years ago, put them aside, and then reread some of them after viewing an excellent film on Bukowski's life: "Bukowski: Born into This".Bukowski is hardly a writer for all times and all seasons.But there is a toughness and raw humor in these books, and a sense of loss and sadness that make Bukowski's books highly evocative of certain kinds of blue and lonely feelings.The stories are metaphors of a buried life than many people see in themeselves at times in somewhat different ways than the ways presented in Bukowski's writings.That is why, I think, Bukowski continues to have a following and to be read. ... Read more

16. The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain: New Poems
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 320 Pages (2005-01-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$5.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060577029
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

The second of five new books of unpublished poems from the late, great, Charles Bukowski, America's most imitated and influential poet –– 143 never–before–seen works of gritty, amusing, and inspiring verse.

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Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Best of the poetry published posthumously to date.
Charles Bukowski, The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain (Ecco, 2004)

I've been going through Buk's posthumously-published volumes of poetry slowly over the past couple of years, and most of them are, basically, what I'd feared they'd be-- all the odds and ends left over that he never really felt were worth publishing during his lifetime. None of the posthumous books have had the fire and crackle of, say, War All the Time-- until now.

The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain shows that, near the end of his life, Bukowski returned to his roots, so much so that in some cases it's hard to tell what are the old poems here and what are the new; many of the pieces here explore rhythm and refrain more explicitly than he had in any volume since Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame thirty years before his death. The established Buk fan is going to find a great deal to like in this book, while newcomers to his work (really, is there anyone left who hasn't yet read Bukowski?) will find this an excellent introductory volume. Well worth your time. ****

5-0 out of 5 stars one of buk's best
if you're here i'm guessing you're familiar with Charles Bukowski.These posthumous collections are supposed to span a wide range of Bukowski's career.I've found them to be more poignant, and "The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain" has been my favorite so far.You'll find the ususal introspective work and and observations from a lifetime put forward with great honesty.Here they are arranged in a manner which work as a whole.A credit to John Martin who managed all this art.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best read I've had since the Sea Wolf
Deeply philsophical, intelligent, and, at moments, humorous.Bukowski is genius.I personally love the compilations of poems rather than a book.I can read for short periods, between duties, or go for hours because of the raw depth he has compiled into his life and words.

4-0 out of 5 stars Classic Bukowski
This book is a collection of Bukowski's poems and vary greatly in mood, length, and style.One thing is consistent - they are all clearly Bukowski.

The poems range from the humorous, to the sad, to the hopeless, and the hopefull to those that simply grudgingly accept the reality of our lives - whether times are good, bad or somewhere in between.

I didn't like all of the poems, but Bukowski has an unapologetic style that doesn't go begging for approval.Read them, enjoy them, or ignore them - it's probably all the same to him.Reading the poems gives you a little insight into his life, and the book is a good supplement to Bukowski's fiction.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another set of great poems
Another collection of great poetry.Bukowski's perceptions of life in this one are intense and scathing. Not an easy read at all. ... Read more

17. The Most Beautiful Woman in Town
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 240 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0872861562
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

These mad immortal stories, now surfaced from the literary underground, have addicted legions of American readers, even though the high literary establishment continues to ignore them. In Europe, however (particularly in Germany, Italy, and France where he is published by the great publishing houses), he is critically recognized as one of America's greatest living realist writers.

Charles Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany in 1920 and brought to America at the age of two. Eighteen or twenty books of prose and poetry, Bukowski, after publishing prose in Story and Portfolio, stopped writing for ten years. He arrived in the charity ward of the Los Angeles County General Hospital, hemorrhaging as a climax to a ten year drinking bout. Some say he didn't die. After leaving the hospital he got a typewriter and began writing again—this time, poetry. He later returned to prose and gained some fame with his column, Notes of a Dirty Old Man. After 14 years in the Post Office he resigned at age 50, he says, to keep from going insane. He now claims to be unemployable and eats typewriter ribbons.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
For those who do not have time and/or focus to read an entire book from cover to cover, these short stories are perfect. You can pick it up and read a few, do something else, then return and not missed a thing. The stories themselves are very well written, intriguing and creative. The way Bukowski incorporates his own dark experiences and thoughts with embellishments is what make him such a good read.Highly recommend!

4-0 out of 5 stars The dirtiest book on the shelf
OK, maybe if I exclude Sade. But every serious reader should read Bukowski. The stories are infused with perversion, revulsion, self-loathing, addiction, and thankfully, some humor. I doubt if City Lights would publish Bukowski if he sent his work into them today. I don't know about you, but all the books I have from City Lights were written prior to the 1970s for the most part...but I digress. Every book I really love is probably banned from public school libraries, or should be.

I love how with Bukowski that you are never sure exactly what to expect. Just when you think it can't press the boundary any more, it steps right over it then pisses on it. A lot of the stories seem like they were written in some drunken trance, not even using capital letters all the way through.

What is lacking is that the style isn't exactly poetic. Yet, that fits the subject matter.

AND, there is a great song about Bukowski by Modest Mouse.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great collection
The very first story in this collection solidified this work and the author as more than the average writer for me.The lead story for which this book is named is the best story in the whole collection.It shows the power of Bukowski like no other story can.While so much of the rest of this book is filled with his self-righteous condemnation of the world that hasn't seen the "truth" as he has, the lead story stands out as a really beautiful and outstanding story.This book is worth the price of purchase for that story alone.

Of course the rest of the book is filled with the wonderful Bukowski filth and flare for the seedier sides of life which makes for a great read as well.Life In A Texas Whorehouse and Six Inches are just fun stories that are great reads that make you feel like you need a shower after reading.

The problem I have is with stories like The Gut-Wringing Machine which is another story where you get to see how delusional everyone else is that hasn't seen the light like Bukowski has.I have no problem with this or any other author exposing normal folks delusions about there own mediocre existence, but I generally like to have the writers exposing these delusions or our society to be a little more introspective themselves.

This is a great collection of stories that will entertain and make the reader cringe at the same time.This entire work has the blunt charm and brazen language that makes this author wonderful to read.Other than Ham On Rye this is his most powerful work.

5-0 out of 5 stars AESOPS FABLES
Choose your own moral to the story. This is a guy worth listening to. No burnt out college hacks here.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding...and Dark...
Wow...one can only state this simple exclamation upon putting down this paperback edition of a modern American Classic. Bukowski writes with his usual fervor that the enthusiast has grown accustomed to. This is a collection of short, choppy stories, sometimes lacking much in the way of a coherent plot, but vivid and resounding nonetheless. These stories will leave an image in your head long after you've put this book down and will lead to compulsive reading of other Bukowksi classics such as "Women" and "Post Office." If you're a beginning Bukowski reader, I would suggest starting out with one of his novels before moving into his short stories to better get an understanding of his viewpoint and writing style. Still, this book should be in everyone's collection. ... Read more

18. Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 240 Pages (2002-06-05)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 087685191X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Book description to come. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars A fine collection
I really don't know if it makes a difference what Bukowski collection you get. His voice is the same in most of the ones I own with regard to the same subjects; women, the futility of life, the beauty of that futility and the everpresent salve of alcoholism's proud embrace with a little religion and literary crit thrown in. He can even be positive and uplifting on these subjects. After I read too much Lowell, Ashbery or Bishop, reading Bukowski feels like breathing again. I grab a beer, grab my manhood and feel the buzz of perfect self-loathing and laughter.

I like to consider Bukowski a classic American voice. He is left out of the highbrow anthologies and I don't know if that's a good or bad thing but it's the way it is.

So you can buy this collection, buy another one or whatever. They're all pretty good.

5-0 out of 5 stars America's greatest poet
Bukowski was a brilliantly vulgar poet and is remembered as "The Poet Laureate of Skid Row."

This book is a compilation of Bukowski's first 4 chapbooks (small books of poetry) covering his work from 1955 to 1973. His earliest poems appear in "The Roominghouse Madrigals," a collection of his less-than-stellar work from 1946 to 1955.

"Burning in water..." contains some of his first really good poems, and some at the end can even be considered among his great poems. It's a good introduction to his work and should be the first of his works you read. I know from experience that you won't understand his other books of poetry too well if you don't read this one first.

This book was also instrumental in formulating my own style of poetry. A must read for all readers and poets alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great break from all those 'romantic' and 'beautiful' poets
Bukowski is vulgar, unsettling and insightful in his poetry. His poetry is a refreshing break from overly romantic poetry from the likes of Frost or Whitman. My girlfriend 'doesn't get poetry' but even she loved this book once I forced her to listen to a few. It is a great introduction to poetry to those who think poetry is only about frilly flowers and love; likewise 'poetry people' will find it refreshing and worthy of reading through.

4-0 out of 5 stars Early Work by the Poet of Skid Row
From 1944 -- 1955, Charles Bukowski (1920 -- 1994) lived the life of a wastrel, wandering from city to city, holding menial jobs, while spending most of his time drinking or fighting.Bukowski began writing poetry in earnest in about 1955, as he continued his life of drink, horseplaying, and sex, while gradually finding a voice for himself as a writer.In a poem called "we the artists", included in "Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame", Bukowski recalls these early years:"I keep thinking of myself young, then, the way I was,/ and I can hardly believe it but I don't mind it./ I hope the artists are still pround of me/but they never come back/again."

"Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame" (1974) is in part a compilation of several earlier Bukowski collections published as chapbooks in the years before Bukowski formed his relationship with John Martin and Black Sparrow Press. The poetry is unrhymed, in short free verse lines.It is largely but not entirely autobiographical as Bukowski explores his themes of death and suicide, drinking, womanizing, gambling, and finding meaning and redemption in life through art and poetry.Bukowski's early work tends to be more metaphorical and abstract than his later poetry.

The first part of the book, "It Captures my Heart in Its Hands" includes selections from a chapbook of that name published in 1963 with poetry written between 1955 and 1963.In addition to poems detailing Bukowski's experiences with women and the track, such as "to the whore who took my poems" and "a 340 dollar horse and a hundred dollar whore", it includes several poems about other people, including "for marilyn m." and "the life of borodin" as well as a meditative poem, "the singular self."

"Crucifix in a Deathhand" the second section of the book, likewise draws upon an early chapbook which included poems written between 1963 and 1965.In addition to the title poem, some of the writing in this collection shows Bukowski's compassion for the working poor, including the poem "the workers".The poem "a nice day" shows Bukowski trying to give meaning to the mundane, and the awful, events of daily life.

The third chapter of early poetry, "At Terror Street and Agony Way", (1065 -- 1968)includes, in addition to autobiographical poems, poems graphically describing the lives of outcasts and losers, including, "true story", "x-pug", and "he even looked like a nice guy".

The final collection in the book, "Burning in Water Drowning in Flame" Dates from 1972-1973.Bukowski, already attaining some recognition, had received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to write these poems.The poems "charles" and "my friend andre" are among those in which Bukowski offers portraits of other people.Some of the poems in this collection I enjoyed include "the sound of human lives" in which Bukowski observes " I don't know why people think effort and energy/have anything to do with/creation", "burned", which tells a story of rejection in a way unique to Bukowski, the philosophical "pull a string, a puppet moves" and "dreamlessly" which laments the lovelessness common to many people.

This is an excellent collection for those wishing to explore the early poetry of Charles Bukowski.

Robin Friedman

5-0 out of 5 stars Old Man Poet
This is one of the best collections of poetry that I have ever read. I've recently discovered Bukowski after having one of my poems compared to his work. I did some research and a lot of people told me to start with this book. I am so glad that I did because it was a great introduction to Bukowski's work (and he does have a lot of work!) I am looking forward to reading my way through more of Bukowski's work in the near future.

These poems are full of humor, introspection, and managing to find inspiration in the smallest of things and occurances. Even though it may seem like some of the sentences are disjointed or out of place, every sentence is meant to be there and that is clearly visible when you reach the end of any poem in this collection. All of these poems seem to emanate with a jaded wisdom that one can't help but feel as if a lesson has been learned after reading each one.

My favorite poems in this collection that I recommend are "to the whore who took my poems", "for marilyn m.", and "i met a genius". ... Read more

19. The Continual Condition: Poems
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 144 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006177121X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the literary pantheon, Charles Bukowski remains a counterculture luminary. A hard-drinking wild man of literature and a stubborn outsider to the poetry world, he has struck a chord with generations of readers, writing raw, tough poetry about booze, work, and women in an authentic voice that is, like the work of the Beats, iconoclastic and even dangerous.

Edited by his longtime publisher, John Martin, of Black Sparrow Press, and now in paperback, The Continual Condition includes more of this legend’s never-before-collected poems.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bukowski--it says it all
You'll love this hardcover. I also recommend CB's friend's poetry--look for books by A.D. Winans.

4-0 out of 5 stars Chucks condition
picked up The Continual Condition on a trip I took to San Francisco a few months back.The purpose of the trip was to see a girl I knew in San Fran, visit my dad in L.A., then another girl in San Diego.The trip lasted for about a ten day period of time and was basically a drunken blur of sex and drugs down the California coast.I picked up the Bukowski book at a book store on my second day near the hotel I was staying at in San Fran.I had read a few of Bukowski's works prior and enjoyed them so when I saw this copy, I knew I had to have it.I don't regret it one bit, I read it several times that week and enjoyed it more each time.

The book is a collection of mainly unpublished works that have finally been published after his death.These types of collections worry me sometimes, if the author never submitted them I feel like there was usually a reason for it never being sent for publication.While some of the pieces are deeply intricate and thought provoking like "this flag not fondly waving" and "never". Others seem just to be random meanderings of a drunk that suggest an intricate concept yet fall short. (news item)

While some of the published pieces are from his earlier days one can really only guess at when he wrote the rest of the pieces published in the Continual Condition.Judging from the title I am guessing his publisher chose works that spanned from his early works to his writing at the time of his death.I am guessing this was done at there is a good chance at this being the last one published with his name.I do not say this to suggest that this book is the epitome of Bukowski.I do believe that it is a great collection of works that exemplify the themes that Bukowski liked to write about.

Bukowski is insouciant in his writings about death, women, drinking, god, and his attachment to inevitable pain and loneliness.The timing of this book and it's almost overwhelming theme of death and Bukowskis view suggest that his publisher wanted to make it known about Bukowskis feeling towards death.
The abruptness of his poetry makes way for his "no care" attitude about what people think of his writing.His frank honesty throughout this book at times became endearing to me.The Continual Condition is a terrific embodiment of who Bukowski felt like he was seen or at least the type of person he thought he was.It gives the reader a glimpse into the writers that he liked and those he didn't.It also tells you how he felt towards critics, readers, and the writing industry as a whole.This book is great for those new to Bukowski, if you like what you see here you are automatically drawn to read more of his works.

2-0 out of 5 stars "another dirty trick in a dirty trick world"
Fifteen years after Bukowski's death it looks like the barrel of poems he left behind to be posthumously published has finally reached bottom. At a meager 127 pages (previous collections averaged better than 300 pages with the one before this weighing in at a hefty 550 pages) one surmises that the material has either run out or the publisher has decided to milk the remainder for all it is worth by trickling it out in smaller doses. Either way, I suspect this is the last book of Bukowski's poems I will buy.

Not only is there not much good new stuff here, but despite the dust jacket's claim of "never-before-collected" (sic) at least 15% of the pages are devoted to poems which were published almost verbatim in previous volumes. "a hot sweaty day in August" appeared as "a sweaty day in August" in War All the Time (1984) and "Mountain of Horror", "The Strange Morning", and "Full Circle" appeared as "Mountain", "The Strange Morning Outside the Bar", and "Full Circle" in Bone Palace Ballet (1997).

The final lines of that last poem sum up this collection nicely:
another dirty trick in a dirty trick

Do yourself a favor and get your Bukowski fix by finding the classic old Black Sparrow editions of his work, including the two mentioned above. There's more there, both in quantity and quality, and the books themselves have more integrity as objects than the more recent Harper Collins/ecco offerings.

3-0 out of 5 stars Too many reprinted poems!
It's a great although thinner collection of poems than we're used to. Usually, collections of Bukowski poems comes in much thicker volumes for the same price as this new collection costs.

I'm a big Bukowski fan but I can only give it three stars because at least 14 of the 63 poems are reprints from previous collections. A couple of the 14 poems have been altered slightly, but the rest are complete reprints. That's over 22% of the poems!

Some of the reprinted poems are from the "Bone Palace Ballet" collection. The poem called "My art form", was called, "My style" in "Bone Palace Ballet. The other are, "Full circle" and "The strange morning". "Mountain of horror" is almost the same as "Mountain", "Rejected" same as "My worst rejection slip", "Tragedy" is almost the same as "Reunion" in "Bone Palace Ballet".

From "Sifting Through The Garbage...": "Listening to the radio at 1:35 am"

From "The Flash Of Lightning...": "The last winter", "Moving towards age 73" same as "Poem for the young and tough" in "The Flash..."

From "War All The Time": "A hot sweaty day in August", "The continual condition" is the same as "The condition", "The last race" is the same as Part III in "Horsemeat"

From "What Matters Most...": "Thanks for the luck" same as "Thanks for that"

From "Play The Piano...": "To kiss her long dark hair" same as "To weep" in "Play The Piano..."

Although the collection is great, I would still recommend buying another Bukowski poem collection instead if you have'nt read all the previous ones already. You'll get a better bargain that way, because most of the other collections are up to 400 pages long and the price is about the same as for this one - or cheaper!

Hardcover,127 pages,not including title page,contents,etc.The paper stock is a cream-white,and the type face is very easy to read-even in a "poetry format".The cover consists of a number of drawings which look (and may be) by Charles Bukowski. I base this conclusion on a couple of hardcover editions of one of his books I own,from years ago,where Bukowski did a self-portrait in pen on one of the blank pages,which seem identical in style and feel.This book is actually between 3 and 4 "stars" because of the availability of some of the poems and the slim number ofpages in the book itself.

This (slim) collection of poetry is yet more unpublished work by Bukowski,collected by his long time publisher,John Martin.A number of these poems were originally published as broadsides by some VERY small publishers years ago.Having been a long-time reader of Bukowski,the feel of these unpublished poems is from his earlier (there are no publishing dates) and some say best stages,when his writing was even less self-aware than it became later on.

The subject matter is typical (read "my soul is gone",or "you've seen it on the barstool next to you", asexamples) Bukowski-bars,drinking,women,horse tracks,lonely late-nights or just plain loneliness,etc.However,the writing style is a bit more immediate,a bit more visceral in feeling.The words of each poem seem to fit together tightly,with little that is expendable.These are simple,straight forward thoughts and pictures that Bukowski was a master at putting together.There are a few poems from later in his life,which are obvious from the subject matter (having money,a house,etc),but they are sprinkled throughout sparingly.

For readers of Bukowski who like his earlier work,this is something to look out for.For those who like his later stages of writing,this will give some (small) insight into how it all began.An expensive book for the number of poems,but the style,the subjects,and Bukowski's outlook on life as he sees,lives,(and writes about) it,is,perhaps,worth it.I wonder if this is perhaps the last book we'll see of Bukowski's work-this is slim pickings for the money being charged.Hopefully its not strictly a money-making-bottom-of-the-barrel release.But with several titles in this edition already published and available,the feeling of Bukowski's name = $ begins to creep in.

... Read more

20. Run With the Hunted: Charles Bukowski Reader, A
by Charles Bukowski
Paperback: 512 Pages (1994-06-15)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$9.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060924586
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The best of Bukowski's novels, stories, and poems, this collection reads like an autobiography, relating the extraordinary story of his life and offering a sometimes harrowing, invariably exhilarating reading experience. A must for this counterculture idol's legion of fans. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of Bukowski on Disk
This two CD set is the most enjoyable for me, I can hear the great poetry without the crowd noise.
I have listened to all commercial Bukowski offerings except the entire "Bukowski at Bellevue"(DVD), even the Radio Pacifica poetry recording from the early 60's (A very different but great listening experience).

The poetry on these two disks are many of his best and the conversation in between gives me a good feeling in that he finally had found some peace in life.

You can hear and feel his love for his wife Linda and also the sadness of someone who has been through bad times.

Highly recommended along with the Poetry readings (from 1962?)recorded on a Radio Pacifica station.


5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent place to start or revisit Burkowski
While watching the movie "Barfly", I found myself taken with the unusual dialog.I decided to investigate, and then discovered Charles Burkowski.This reader also includes a lot of poetry.It is a very well put together book, spacing short chapters with the poetry throughout.Ordinarily I am not all that interested in poetry, but Burkowski is such an interesting writer that I found all of it captivating.You won't be disappointed; there is something there for everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars "I have found something that is going to help me, for a long long time to come."
I can think of several reasons to recommend this collection, and at least two to recommend staying away from it.Call it a five star review with warning labels.

John Martin, Bukowski's longtime editor, assembled this collection so that the subject matter is in chronological order, no matter what age Bukowski was when he wrote it.Since so much of his work is either memoir or thinly disguised stories from his life, the resulting effect, with its mixture of memoir, poetry, and fiction, is a masterful, almost avant guarde, autobiography.The selections are short, but are far more attention grabbing than a conventional biography.

I thought the arrangement of the material notable too.First memoir, then two or three poems, then fiction, and so on and so on.If the poetry had been collected in its own section, I would have skipped over most of it.Instead, I could concentrate long enough on a couple selections to find I enjoyed it far more than I would have guessed.

It's difficult for me to differentiate between Charles Bukowski's life, and his work.It almost seems as though his life was his life's work, as strange as that may sound.His writing is taken directly from his experiences; in clear, simple prose, he unsparingly describes himself and the world around him, and then, with startling clarity, springs his insights on the reader.An example would be the title of this review, which is Bukowski's thoughts after discovering alcohol.After reading it, my thoughts were, "Yes, yes, this is how it is."

The danger in Charles Bukowski's works is assuming that his experiences led to his insights, which eventually led to his success.Or better yet, that his methods might work for anyone.I made that assumption for many years before I found out different.This is why I would not recommend this or any other Bukowski work unreservedly.Though I do not believe Bukowski himself would have advocated his lifestyle to anyone, by it's very nature it could be attractive to some who may not be aware of the titanic amount of effort it must have took for him to both live and write - it's that powerful.It is also brutal.That is the other reason I hesitate before recommending.It is sure to offend.

Finally, I wonder what Bukowski would think of the reviews of his work posted on this site (including mine).I have to believe he would laugh.

Recommended, with caveats.

5-0 out of 5 stars a book you can be proud to own
i gave this book as a gift once.to like a book enough to give it as a gift.. now that's something. if you appreciate being told the way it really is, you'll love bukowski.

4-0 out of 5 stars a piece of history
The recording quality may not be absolutely perfect but the item captures Bukowski as he was, and adds significantly to the image one gets about his personality and his views from reading his, frequently repetitive books. ... Read more

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