What Are You Reading? (1 Viewer)

I just finished the memoir WORK by Bud Smith. Sooo fuckin good. A rambling, non-linear, down to earth, straightforward, honest, funny take on Bud's working & non working life in heavy construction. Someone here, Hosho i think, turned me on to the Otherppl podcast. On it i heard an interview/conversation with Bud. It was excellent. Discovering he's fr Jersey and goes in to NY i thought ok, cool. Then he did a reading in Philly, met him & discovered he as cool as i'd hoped. Good dude & great poetry too AND a Bukowski fan. Anyway, i think fans of Buk would like his work. He's prolific as well. Ended up buying that night WORK & his short story collection Double Bird. Now, it won't be as good as The Late Season but i look forward to digging into it next.
Currently reading Dispatches by Michael Herr. He was a vietnam war correspondent for Esquire in the late 60s. He co-wrote Full Metal Jacket and all Captain Willard narration scenes in Apocalypse. Here is an excerpt:

That could be the coldest one in the world, standing at the edge of a clearing watching the chopper you'd just come in on taking off again, leaving you there to think about what it was going to be for you now: if this was a bad place, the wrong place, maybe even the last place, and whether you'd made a terrible mistake this time.

He also mentions smoking a pack an hour one night waiting for the VC to do their thing. Good stuff...

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I had a great time w the family in town yesterday. I was able to convince the wife to pop in to my favorite indie book store, Book Haven, on the way home. Jackpot. Someone had gotten rid of their Bukowski collection, about 15 in all, mostly BSP editions & in good shape. I was able to finally pick up these & get that much closer to BSP complete. So, this is what i will be reading on vacation next week.

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I'm reading Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything

Seinfeld is my favourtie show of all time, so I was excited when my friend gave this to me for my birthday. Almost finished and happy to take in so many new facts about it.
For the last year, I've slacked off from reading novels and short stories. A subscription to The New Yorker was to blame for that. That's a publication that hits you with so much good writing every week, it's hard to find time for other reading.

But I found time here and there. I re-read "Jesus' Son" by Denis Johnson back in March. Sat down to just do the first chapter and ended up snorting the whole baggie going through the whole work and enjoying it even more the second time around. Then "War And Turpentine" was an interesting piece that claims to be a novel, but I might quibble with that. Stefan Hertmans turned his grandfather's diary into a narrative about his service in WWI and his life afterwards. It's pretty compelling and heartfelt but it's not something he crafted entirely from his own imagination. I wouldn't call it a novel but that didn't stop his publisher.

Best of all though was Johnson's final work, "The Largesse Of The Sea Maiden". A strong collection of 5 short stories that turned out to be his final publication. It's all here: the vivid imagery, lean prose, dark humor, and most of all the empathy he had for characters who may or may not deserve it.
Chicago Breakdown - Mike Rowe (Excellent history of Chicago Blues)
The Roominghouse Madrigals - Buk (Excellent collection of early poems)
Just polished off "Bukowski's L.A." by Matt Dukes Jordan... I will not be able to rest in peace until I eat and drink at Musso and Frank's.
In 1989, as a kid on his first job out of college, I had a business lunch at Musso and Frank's. At the time, I had no idea of its historic significance but I was told about it over that lunch by someone associated with the movie business. I could feel the history. The food was okay but the atmosphere was electric. I hope you make it there one day.
I'm re-reading some Hemingway novels again. First I read 'A Moveable Feast' again, which is my favorite, and now I'm reading 'Across The River and Into The Trees'.
This book, so far, so good. Signed by D'Ambrosio. We grew up in the sane neck of the woods & are almost the same age. Wouldnt be surprised if we knew/know some of the same people
The Nazi & The Barber, a novel by Edgar Hilsenrath.

Sometimes you only learn about people after they have died. Hilsenrath died on December 30th 2018 at the age of 92. A German Jew who lived in the US from 1951 to 1975. The Nazi & The Barber is the story of mass murderer Max Schulz. After World War II the former SS-Mann takes up the identity of Itzig Finkelstein, a Jewish friend he grew up with and who later was killed in a concentration camp, by Max Schulz himself. Itzig Finkelstein (Max Schulz) emigrates to Palestine, establishes a barbershop and becomes a well-respected citizen of the young State of Israel.

Despite the fact that Hilsenrath only wrote in German, this novel was first published in the US in 1971 by Doubleday & Company. It became a bestseller, not only in the US but also in France, Italy and England. German publishers were shying away from it; Hilsenrath's satirical undertone didn't seem to be appropriate. Only in 1977 a small German publisher decided to give it a try.

After reading a certain passage in the second half of the book I felt the need to put it down for a while. Max Schulz en passant remembered a day in a death camp when he killed about hundred children by injecting toxin right into their hearts. "Easy work." Total indifference. As if he remembered a nice day in the office. That passage is like a punch in the gut, suddenly the horror is right before your eyes.
But there are not only punches in this novel, most of all there is humor. Strange as it may seem.
Don't Skip Out On Me by Willy Vlautin. I've read most of his stuff. He's an excellent writer. Uncluttered, straightforward stories. This, so far is a great one. Willy gave a blurb on Hosho's latest classic Chinese Gucci.

Willy has written five terrific, down-to-earth books about folks scraping by and just doing their best...and he is absolutely as nice as advertised. I interviewed him for the underground paper I write for, and he was as honest and genuine as you can imagine. He also recorded some poems for the audio version of A DEEP & GORGEOUS THIRST...so it's understating to say I'm a huge fan.
Just finished McCarthy's The Road. Part of my surge to finally read well-known, recent and lost classics. Some great images/great lines. Humanity has fallen. I wonder if in reality, we'd be worse?

It's now one of my TopTen favorite Novels...a list that ebbs and flows but there are a few core titles that're in stone.

The Road as a last novel would be a fine way to go out. But I read of a forthcoming novel, The Passengers. Not much known on this yet...
New Grub Street by George Gissing published 1891 always try and get through a classic? once a year usually struggle, but chomped my way through this one, set in London's Publishing land of the late 19th Century with a group of writers facing both success and failure.
Moving ,funny, heartbreaking and feels very contemporary and fresh.
In keeping with my usual "nothing or just about everything" philosophy, I'm deep into Archie Hill's A Cage of Shadows, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front (3rd read since about 1985) and Sylvia Plath's The Collected Poems. I'm also musing about a dichotomously comparative essay on Sylvia Plath and our own Henry Charles Bukowski. Sounds absolutely daft, dunnit? You'd be surprised. But probably won't be when I don't get around to actually writing it.
Recently finished:
Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler, part of my every-so-often re-reading of all 7 Marlowe novels. He certainly practiced what he preached, i.e., a consummate stylist. Some great lines/passages as usual.

Disturbing the Peace by Richard Yates, my penultimate book of the 7 Yates novels. I've read that this novel "was dismissed by critics as his weakest book" but this may be my second favorite, after Revolutionary Road. Following the breakdown of an alcoholic was riveting and sad. And the fact that it's based on Yate's actual breakdown made it more poignant/harrowing.

Next up:
Young Hearts Crying by Richard Yates. This is my last of the 7 Yates novels to be read. I almost don't want to start it for that reason...
Just finished "The Story of the Eye" by Georges Bataille...and I have absolutely no idea why this book is deemed important. After a few weeks of exploring "subversive" French literature, reading Salo by De Sade and Journey by Celine this month, I've concluded that it isn't something I'm into. Journey and Salo left me extremely bored and outside of their historical context I'm not sure what has made these books endure like they have. Story of the Eye left me disinterested and outside of its link to Bataille and his other more important philosophical writings I'm not sure what the big deal is. I was ecstatic to find a copy of Pierre Guyotat's out of print "Eden Eden Eden" which chronicles his experience being imprisoned in a literal fucking hole in the ground for something like three months after attempting to abandon the military during the Algerian war. But of course when I received it...it was in French so I guess that's that. Vive Le France!
Is there anyone who can maybe tell me what I'm missing here or what went over my head?
Hi Hooch, with very little prodding, I could agree with you. After reading Road, I was blown away by the quality of the prose. But after Peace, I was blown away by the writing (of course) and the brutal honesty and rawness.

I just also picked up the Twayne's Author series book on Yates for $4 off of ebay in nice shape (sans DJ).
Just finished this. Robert Evans was a heavy hitter in New Hollywood. Tight with Nicholson, Polanski, Beatty... Produced Rosemary's Baby, Godfather, Chinatown... Was head of production at Paramount when he was 30. Had A LOT of wives too. McQueen stole one of them (Ali MacGraw) and then McQueen tried to take custody of their kid. Lawyers got involved and Evans brought in some muscle. There was a phonebook thick dossier of background info on McQueen - when McQueen and his lawyer saw it they turned ashen and left and never bothered Evans again. Would love to know what was in that stack of papers.

He also had a great term for a lot of $$$ - he called it "fuck you money."

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Reading The Rage by Gene Kerrigan & loving it. Read one other of his, The Midnight Choir. It's great as well.
I’m trying to get through Lolita right now. I really don’t see the genius in the prose, it’s too... flowery for me. However, it is definitely an interesting concept. I’m having a thing I've had with books like Gravity’s Rainbow and Naked Lunch, where I get really bored at times reading them, but the concept and themes of the book are interesting enough to keep me going back to it until I finish it, unlike some other underwhelming books which I have put down indefinitely. It’ll probably be the same case with Lolita.

I also finally got and finished Dangling in the Tournefortia. I really liked it. It has some of the greatest Bukowski poems I have read, although it also has some of the more pointless ones (that the great ones definitely made up for).

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Finished Stoner by John Williams, over X-mas.

I can accept and agree with some of the criticisms of this touted "Greatest Novel Ever Written That You've Never Heard Of," but I was still blown away by it. At the moment, it's entered my top 10...
Well I got back from London 2 months ago where I bought 11 books. And 6 of them are Bukowski. I read the thread "the Tragic Rape.." yesterday and it cleared things up for me.

I bought:
Burning in Water
You Get So Alone
Post Office
Notes of a Dirty Old Man
What Matters Most

I already own the Essential Bukowski and Play the Piano. And I really love them.

But getting back to the tragic rape, while Burning in Water was a good read, I couldn't F,,, finish What Matters Most. I found it dull, unrelated to Bukowski and started flipping pages around looking for something that will make me feel anything other than disconnect??‍♀️
I'm not used to reading like this, I don't like missing out on pages and leaving stories unfinished but boy that Martin guy really did a number on this.. I'm just happy he didn't ruin the rest of the Bukowski books I own.

I also recently finished Now and Then by Gil Scott Heron, it's breif, and if you liked his last album 'I'm New Here' you'd enjoy it.

Now I'm trying to decide which book to read from the ones I bought in London.

Btw thanks for reminding me of Chuck Palahniuk, I wanted to get Invisible Monsters for a long time and it slipped my mind!

Saw the author on the Joe Rogan podcast. Very well written. The story of Cynthia Ann Parker (captured as a child by Comanches and fully assimilated, became the mother of the last great Comanche chief Quanah Parker, later relocated by Texas Rangers into white society against her will) is truly insane and very tragic in many ways.


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