What Are You Reading?

Is this where I'm supposed "+1" your comment? Im not sure how this works, PhillyDave...

I will say this, though: 1933 wasn't a bad book. That being said, it was not Fante's best. But, if any of the books deserved the stickpin's scorn--and you have "to get stuck with that pin, babe, don't forget I told you"--1933 would be the one.


Founding member
Is this where I'm supposed "+1" your comment? Im not sure how this works...
Well, whatever you do, don't spend the five or ten seconds it would take to figure it out. Clearly you don't have that kind of time to waste in your busy schedule.
I laughed out loud reading this comment. Seriously. Audible laughter. No offense. "like," or "+1," or any other option, I was endorsing a comment I liked without having to advertise for something else. Sorry, Google...?

By the way, a busy schedule? I do have a busy schedule. My 12 week old baby keeps me more than busy.

Wait; was that snark?
I like Ask The Dust and Wait Until Spring, but never feel like picking them up to read again or even leaf through.
Dreams From Bunker Hill I've read a few times, and for me is the best Fante by far.

Currently reading Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock. Great book of short stories by a guy who started
writing at 50, after 30 years of blue-collar work.

Oh yeah, also reading Hung Like a Hebrew National from Douglas Goodwin, poems from
the 80's that are really raw and entertaining.


And in the end...
I recently finished Ask the Dust and was expecting to be blown away but wasn't...]
[... He definitely had times in the book where he was really on a roll describing a scene or expressing his emotions...]
Danny, I think you would enjoy reading Wait Until Spring Bandini, it's a really powerful book in as you say, describing scenes and expressing emotions. Much more so than Ask the Dust, I think.
A sort of coming of age for Arturo, It's about real love and family life, so it's tooth and claw and blood and spit.
But, throughout it all there is a genuine tenderness.
For me it has one of the best passages I have ever read in a novel; Arturo's mum shouts to him outside to go to the shop, he pretends not to hear her, as he knows he will have to ask for credit. Maria (his mum) knows he is only pretending not to hear, she goes to the shop again, with dread and you can feel her humiliation and desperation and determination:emo::). All of the writing throughout the novel is beautiful and vivid like that, so please give it a shot.


I just started "The Luminaries" this weekend and it looks promising. Two chapters in and the author (Eleanor Catton) is doing what I think the best writers SHOULD be able to do: take a setting or a subject I couldn't care less about (life in a 19th century New Zealand mining town) and tell a compelling story about it. It's essentially a murder/detective story with several finely drawn characters and Catton takes her time in establishing them and their respective roles. It's 829 pages and the first 50 have absolutely flown by.
I'm gonna read all of the Fante. I was going to read them in order but I couldn't resist "Ask the Dust."

I just read Joan Jobe Smiths, "Epic Glottis." I feel myself wanting to say many unkind things but I don't like being mean. But, I have to say that I think that the title is ridiculous and really weird. It sounds a lot like an anatomy part as in epiglottis. She says Buk laughed when he heard the title so I guess that is worth it's weight in gold. Now I have to say that I am totally jealous of Joan that she got to hang out with, and talk to Buk. She had him over to her house for a party one night which is a lot more than I can say. I love the quote where Buk yelled, "I'm a beer can in a garden." I plan on yelling that the next time I get drunk to my invisible and disinterested neighbors.

The several criticisms I have are that 1) there were way to many big words in this book. Oh my God. There were more big words in this book than just about any book I've ever read. I didn't bother getting my dictionary because I knew I would never see these words again. I have no idea why she would use this many big words. I figured several days later after I finished the book that it is because she is a poetess and poetesses use fancy words some time. She has been a poet for 20 years and I guess when you have been using words for that long you find and explore more words. 2) There were a lot of klunky sentences. I had to re-read many, many sentences. The sentences had no rhythm which is weird because Joan is a Go-Go dancer. I bet you $1,000 she is a really good dancer and that she understands rhythm which is why I find it so strange that so many of her sentences were klunky. 3) Know your audience. I might be missing something here but I don't think Bukowski readers are a bunch of high brow intellectuals. Buk's stuff was written in such a simple straight forward manner. Joan's stuff is full of big words and even some latin.

I don't know why I typing all of this. I'm not trying to hurt Joan's feelings. I bet Joan is tough as nails. I guess I was annoyed by all of the big words. I had vocabulary quizzes in High School every other week on Friday's. They jammed so many words into our heads. So I'm not a doofus when it comes to vocabulary. Maybe if Joan Jobe Smith writes another book someday she can remember her audience of common folk and save her 64 dollar words for her poetess, word smith friends. Or maybe I should just drop dead.

Once again....I don't why I wrote all of this but I felt like I had to get this off my chest.
I´ve just started reading, "Call Me Burroughs - A Life", by Barry Miles. It's a brick of a book, 716 pages inc. about 50 photos on 14 glossy pages, many of them rare. It seems well written and fairly detailed too.

Amazon got a lot of preview pages.

I'm currently reading this actually. And yes, it is massive but a pretty quick.

I have really enjoyed it. It is also incredibly helpful in connecting the fictional characters and situations in WSB's books to the real life individuals and occurrences that inspired them.
I've just finished reading Soccer in Sun and Shadow by the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano (who also wrote Open Veins of Latin America) which was really good. I expected it to be quite a heavyweight tome but, despite the cynicism, the humour shone through and it was a nice, easy going read. Probably a one for fans of 'the beautiful game' though. I've just started on There's No Home by Alexander Baron. It's set in Sicily during WWII and it's about the interaction between a group British soldiers and the locals during a break between the fighting. I think I've mentioned him on here before but he also wrote The Lowlife and From the City, From the Plough which are both excellent. He could write but he also has a great deal of empathy for his characters.


“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Recently finished And So It Goes Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields. It's a well written, informative biography. It's mostly interesting because Kurt was such and interesting guy.

Currently I'm about to finish The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh. That is very good.
I just polished off Dangling in the Tournefortia, Charles Bukowski Selected Letters Vol. 3, Bukowski and the Beats. All of them were very good.
I'm reading 'Full of Life' by Fante. I must admit, this is the first Fante book that I've not really enjoyed. I'm about halfway in but it just seems a bit flat and directionless. Someone did say to me before I read it that it was "Anything but" (in reference to the title.)

I also keep looking at my copy of James Kelman's short story collection 'A Lean Third' from Tangerine Press, but I'm scared I'll get jam or coffee on it and so I just keep looking at it from a distance.
Get yourself a clear firm clean piece of plastic and place that over the pages as you read them. Do not eat toast with jam while you read the book. I don't know what that book is but it sounds like you want to read it.
Several folks from this site told me to read all of the John Fante's stuff. Sky Gazer strongly recommended "Wait Until Spring Bandini" and she and all the others were right. It is a fantastic story. I liked it more than "Ask the Dust." Buk always talks about 'the line.' There were a whole bunch of strong lines in this book.


“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Im reading All Quiet on the Western Front and really digging it. The last time i read it was probably 25 years ago or so. I must thank the person who suggested i re-read it. ;)
Just finished "The Roominghouse Madrigals" and it was really good. It 's early Buk 1946 - 1966 and you can tell. You know the way he talks about gambling with the word. Well he does that in these early poems for sure. Some of the poems are wacked out. You can tell he's drunk because the poems barely make sense. This is really good stuff though. Chinaski isn't close to being invented so he is in a very different place compared to all of the Chinaski type stuff.

I wrote down the pages of some of my favorites. 63, 134, 142, 169, 182, 183, 184, 185, 204, 210, 228, 236, 252, 254, and 256.
I'm sorry I'm too tired to write down all of the names of the poems.


I'm reading 'Full of Life' by Fante. I must admit, this is the first Fante book that I've not really enjoyed.

Well no wonder it made him a dumptruck of money! I have it but have not read it yet...now I'm not looking forward to it.

Further proof that great books choose their readers...and terrible ones settle for everyone!
Just got done "The Phoenix Lights." My sister sent it to me for my birthday. She knows I'm a UFO buff. I wonder if UFO's are flown by intelligent people from other planets. Probably not. It's mostly swamp gas and weather balloons. Sometimes its weird clouds and military flares. It was a good book. In the beginning and for many pages its endless exact descriptions of every little thing that happened to the author during the sightings but then luckily the subject matter expands outward into a wider discussion of UFO's in general.
Just polished off "Bukowski's L.A." by Matt Dukes Jordan. It is a pretty strange book but it delivers on having all of the places that Buk hung out. Matt certainly did his homework. He covers everything and also has updates as to if a place is still standing or not. I need to hit the lottery so I can come up with enough money to fly out to LA and stay a week and go check out all of these places. I will not be able to rest in peace until I eat and drink at Musso and Frank's.

I also just read "Scarlet" by Pamela "Cupcakes" Wood. This is a very well written book. She does a very thorough job of describing everything that went down back in the day with Buk and her. We also learn of the sad fate of Georgia who is the black haired lady in that famous picture of her and Buk in the kitchen. Cupcakes O'Brien turned out to be a pretty good writer.

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
this was good - strange endings to the stories.

did bukowski ever mention knowing of/reading him?



“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
@d gray Buk ever mention him? Not that I'm aware of. I've only ever seen him refered to as Hubert Selby Jr. He was a huge influence on Lou Reed, that I know. I love the 2 of his I read, Last Exit To Brooklyn and Requim for a Dream.
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