Hello from Southsea, England.

Hello, I'm Hana. I'm 28 (today, actually) and from England - I've been a reader of Buk for about 10 years - However, I am hungry for more.. Looking for a little guidance on some books that have been written about him and his life.. I'm currently reading the Linda King book "Loving and Hating Charles Bukowski" and am finding it so so.. Who should be my "go-to" person for quality Buk stuff? I've read Sounes but have read on here that he might not be as reliable as I wanted to think.
 

mjp

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Sounes is as good as it gets as far as that kind of wide-ranging biography is concerned. You could try Neeli Cherkovski's Hank, but Bukowski didn't like it, so that should tell you something about that one. Still, I think most people interested in Bukowski biographies have read it.

Calling Linda King's book so-so is generous, but if you want to read a good, well written book about Bukowski by one of his ex-girlfriends, check out Pamela Wood's Charles Bukowski's Scarlet.

Then there are a dozen dusty, lifeless academic-type books that you'll want to throw out a window after 10 pages, but that kind of thing appeals to some people...
 
She comes across terribly but I love reading the letters he wrote her.. I've not seen anything like that before so feels "new" to me, I guess.. What were your criticisms of it?I read that Scarlet was "vetted" by John Martin which put me off.. Thank you for the Neeli recommendation - have ordered it.

Also, I've been trying to remember..what collection is the story about the 6 inch man in? Thanks in advance.
 

roni

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Re: Neeli Cherkovski's HANK:
It's well written, but the problem is, it isn't reliable as a biographical source.

He often uses parts from Bukowski's work (literature), and things that Buk (or others) had told just him, and takes them for fact.
So, one has to be careful. Still it's a good read, since Neeli had been a friend of Bukowski since the mid-1960s and knew him well as a person.

All in all, that makes Neeli's book a highly-valuable anecdote-book.
Not a realiable biography.

That's were Sounes came in, in the late 1990s.
He was the first to actually search through primary sources to find proof or disproof of many wide-spread myths.

His' is still the standard biography, but scholarly research hasn't stopped since then, so it's outdated now in several parts.

The most up-to-date (printed) biography at the moment, is the one by David Calonne.
It has a different approach than Sounes' and thus isn't meant to fully replace it as a standard-bio. But it sets the record straight in many parts.

Also, David has a widespread knowledge of cultural topics (literature, philosophy, social-issues, etc), which allows him to connect Bukowski into bigger context.

While the VERY MOST reliable biographical source of all is not printed, but to be found right here on the site:
The TIMELINE.

This one changes every time, a new discovery concerning the facts appears anywhere. By which I mean, that our very own mjp keeps that damn thing up-to-date on a more or less daily basis.

You're welcome.
 

mjp

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Yes, the timeline!

Summing up a life on a single website page isn't possible of course, but it's useful to see all the different things that were happening at a certain time. It connects a lot of dots. For me, anyway.
 
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