Tag Archives: Charles Bukowski

The Most Beautiful Woman in Town (Charles Bukowski) – Review

The most beautiful woman in town & other storiesThe Most Beautiful Woman in Town & other Stories by Charles Bukowski
Age: Adult
Genre: Short Stories, Dirty Realism
Publisher: City Lights, 1967 -1983
ISBN 0872861562
240 pages

Find this book at your local library 

I read Bukowski’s The Post Office three years ago, and I really enjoyed the honest and gritty writing style. 3 years later…and this collection of short stories really didn’t go over well with me. The stories were pretty formulaic: a man drinks, has sex, gambles, drinks some more, is constantly being put down by “the man”, and has more sex.

Some of the stories were gems and had the potential for some depth. Some of his lines were like poetry; the most beautiful woman in town was like “fluid moving fire.”  That was the first story in the collection, and incidentally my favorite one of the bunch.

For the most part, I felt that the shock factor of the stories wore off halfway through, and the rest of the stories just seemed to ramble and become repetitive.      All of these stories were written over a span of time in various newspapers, serials and magazines. You could really tell, because there was no common thread and some of the stories just felt like Bukowski didn’t have any heart in it. Most of the stories are set in Los Angeles, although even those set in other cities followed the same format.  At best this book should be read in small sections over a large span of time, rather than all at once.

Post Office – Review

Post OfficePost Office
by Charles Bukowski
Ecco, 1971
ISBN 0876850867
208 pages

Charles Bukowski’s cult following with the disillusioned youth of the nation is quite clearly explained once you pick up any of his written work, be it poetry, short stories, or his novels. I read Post Office, and then started reading a few of his short stories and could immediately understand the attraction. From other reviews I’ve read of his works, it seems that Bukowski has a hit a key that beat writers could not match. Although he’s never cited among the beat writers, Bukowski’s writing did remind me Kereuac’s On The Road.

In Post Office, Bukowski’s writing is a realistic portrayal of one Hank Chinaski, a frustrated, stubborn alcoholic working for the post-office. Hank Chinaski seems to be Bukowski’s alter ego, as Hank makes an appearance in a number of Bukowski novels. The novel spans eleven years, broken into five sections, of Hank’s life working for the post office, his numerous liasions with women, and his innate ability to always question authority, always push the buttons. This novel is a true I-hate-my-job story, especially since the first line of the novel says “It began as a mistake.” Somehow Chinaski stayed with the postal service for eleven years, leaving the job just as poor and beat-down as he was when he first took on the job. Although he seems rough on the edges, Chinaski is a decent guy, just trying to enjoy his life. Teens will read this book because of its portrayal of real life as something ugly and hard, since the narrator is constantly misunderstood by those in authority around him. This might also explain why every novel by Bukowski is labeled as “missing” in most library catalogs.

FINAL GRADE: A-

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Giveaways and a break

If you haven’t yet, please check out these awesome blogs for some great giveaways!

Jen over at Devourer of Books is having a giveaway for Queen of the Road.

You can try to win a copy of the much anticipated title The Gargoyle over at Readerville for entry details.

And you should also stop by Natasha’s blog over at Maw Books to check out a very worthwhile giveaway, giving away 2 books each to 4 winners in attempt to raise awareness about genocide in Darfur. The giveaway consists of a mini-quiz about the title: Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond by Don Cheadle. Please go check it out!

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Well, I’ve managed to read 12 books in July, 1 shy of hitting my goal for the July Book Blowout challenge. I may still read another book, but I think its time to give my eyes a little break. Although, I did make the mistake of stopping by Leigh’s Favorite Books, a used bookstore in Sunnyvale. I spent about an hour and a half in the store walking up and down every aisle, picking up books, putting some back, remembering titles and authors, forgetting certain titles and authors that I always look for. I picked up:

1. Post Office by Charles Bukowski

2. The Most Beautiful Woman in Town and other Stories by Charles Bukowski

3. The Lady in the Tower by Jean Plaidy (I first heard about this author from Devourer of Books, but unfortunately, my library system doesn’t have any of her books!)

4. Swann’s Way by Proust (so that I can try to be an English major again)

5. Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (I adored Abundance, a novel of Marie Antoinette, and have been wanting to read this title for a long time, but something keeps getting in the way…like due dates from the library)

I also, by the good graces of the selectors for my library system, get to pick and choose from a pile of ARCs that are sent to the library for librarians to read and decide to order or not. From this pile I picked up

1. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

2. Geekspeak, How Life + Math = Happiness by Graham Tattersall

Although, I feel like taking a book-break tonight and watching Rocky II with my mom while finishing up this baby blanket I am knitting for a friend of my sister.