Women - Charles Bukowski

sorabji.com: Last book you read: Women - Charles Bukowski

By Blindswine on Wednesday, January 6, 1999 - 04:28 pm:

    not only is it some of the funniest shit i've read in a while, it also hits pretty close to home.

    which is probably why i find it so damn funny...

    anyway, check it out.

    it should be required reading for all you heterosexual post-pubescent youngbloods out there who are starting out your strange, bewildering, treacherous relationships with the sometimes beautiful and often infuriating creatures called Women

By Motorhead on Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 11:44 am:

    Have you ever read Still Life as a Woodpecker and Hot Water Music by the bard Charley B? Also some of the most down to earth funny and goddam real stuff you can read.
    And your right it's funny 'cause it's true. C.B. is often criticized for being morose, sexist, and stoned but I think this is what makes his writing the most impressive.
    This is not for the faint of heart but straight from the heart and parts below.

By Jon on Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 02:40 pm:

    F.Y.I., Motorhead- "Woodpecker" was written by Tom Robbins, not Bukowski, but it is a good read. If you like his stuff check out "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" which is Robbins' best. Lame movie, good book (surprise!). To get back to the topic at hand, Bukowski is god. "Women" is very good but "Ham On Rye" rocks. It's an account of B's childhood and will ring bells with everyone that ever suspected they were 'different'. The first time I read it I played a modified version of "Hi Bob" (for literature freaks); every time Bukowski mentioned drinking, I drank. I ended up laughing so hard (and was so wasted.) that I wet my pants at 3a.m... not recommended for the faint at heart, or weak of kidney.

By Motorhead on Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 03:19 pm:

    Somehow I confused "Still Life" with Bukowski's "Mockingbird Wish Me Luck." They warned me this would happen years ago if I used chemical agents.
    Also try "Love is a Dog From Hell" and "Notes of a Dirty Old Man".
    Over and Out.

By Blindswine on Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 04:19 pm:

    i read "Skinny Legs and All" when i was travelling a few years ago. it was alright, but Robbins strikes me as having these interesting ideas but never really bringing them to fruition.

    bukowski, on the other hand, is the shit. the only thing i'd read of his beforehand was this illustrated mini-novel called "Bring Me Your Love!" about this guy who visits his wife in an insane asylum. it was pretty funny, but didn't make me want to go on a bukowski-binge like "Women" does.

    these literary binges are usually bad business for me. i end up walking around all whiskey-rattled with my pockets stuffed with receipts from Barnes and Nobles or Borders. my job takes a backseat while i spend all my mental energy figuring out how the hell i can amass enough money to flee the country and spend six months wandering around south america/kenya/spain/northern india/or the mediterranean regions...
    but enough of that.

    binges for '98 were
    Irvine Welsh (bad, bad buzz. tragically funny)
    Henry Miller (good buzz, but too well-adjusted for my tastes)
    Hunter Thompson (old familiar buzz. once every couple of years)
    Siva Nataraja Mythos (creative/destructive cyclical buzz. lots of kaya involved.)

    anyway... i'm rambling...

    i'll have to pick up "Ham on Rye" on the way home.

    what else is good?

By Buk worm on Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 04:56 pm:

    Something else you might try is the anthology "Run with the Hunted." It's a collection of biographical poems, short stories, and bits of novels arranged in a sort of history of Bukowski. I think it gives you an interesting look at the man.

    In my opinion, to get the full Bukowski effect, you really need to read everything. C.B. wrote alot, and tended repeat himself and contradict himself. I like the fact that in one story he'll say "I'll give her 8 inches!" and in another he'll say "you think she'll want 4 inches?"

    He lacked a lot of artistic control; he was passionate and wrote just about everything down. There is no one Bukowski book (even if some are better than others), it's pretty much the entire experience. He seems to hit every emotion sooner later, almost randomly, and just as randomly becomes sensitive and self-revealing.

    Or that's the impression I get

By Swine on Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 06:07 pm:

    "notes of a dirty old man" sounds promising.
    i'll have to study up.
    i can't wait to be the kind of old bitter bastard who sits on aisle seats on airplanes so he can pinch little sky-nazi butt.
    senior citizenship is gonna be a blast.

By Jon on Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 06:31 pm:

    Cool suggestion 'Worm- I got "Run With..." for my birthday last year and it is a great sampler- especially the later 'I'm getting old and it's freaking me out' pieces. Also, 'Swine, I agree on "Skinny Legs-" Robbins' earlier novels are much, much better. Other suggested reading (non-Bukowski but damngood.):

    1.) John Updike's "Rabbit" novels- start with the last one "Rabbit At Rest". Updike is hit or miss, but this one won a pulitzer for a reason. He traced the life of a fictional character in four novels written over thirty years. "Rabbit" is a high-school basketball hero who knocks up his girlfriend, marries her, gets comfortably well-off, gets fat, retires and dies. "Rest" is the retires and dies one. Updike's genius lies in his grasp of the character's interior monologues (so close to the voice in -your- head it's scary.)and the fact that Rabbit remains sympathatic even when he becomes a senior citizen, right-wing fucker, and general old fart. Brilliantly illuminates that Thoreau, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." line.

    2.) Any poems by Steven Jesse Burnstein. Burnstein was a poet in Seattle who overdosed in the early 90's. He was heavily influenced by Burroughs and Bukowski. Images so sharp they cut like glass and one of the few remaining arguments that poetry is a viable literary form. Kurt Cobain liked him, but you should search out his stuff anyway.

    3.) "Infinite Jest" and "Another Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" by David Foster Wallace. So what if he was the hip literary poster-boy last year? The fact of the matter is that Wallace is a good writter. "Jest" is about a family of weirdos attending/running a boy's tennis academy in the near-future and the lengths humans go to for entertainment. It's not a sci-fi novel but is occasionaly fantastic in a Marquez "magic-realism" kind of way. Don't let the size of the thing daunt you- it's a great read; in turns funny, touching and tragic. "Fun Thing" is a collection of his essays and short pieces and contains one of the best things I've ever read on director David Lynch.

By Blindswine on Thursday, January 7, 1999 - 06:54 pm:

    yeah... a friend of mine used to always talk about burnstein when i was living in seattle. as a matter of fact, we both ended up moving to the NYC area and he still tells this story about jesse burnstein trying to kill himself with a plastic fork.

    that's some pretty hardcore fucked-up shit.

    trying to kill yourself with a plastic fork.

    i'll have to buy a collection of his poetry. anybody who tries to off himself with plastic cutlery must have a hell of a lot of angst to get off his chest.

By R.C. on Friday, January 8, 1999 - 10:09 pm:

    *sigh*... I looovve men who read!

    But alas/"Skinny Legs" & "Cowgirls" were the only titles mentioned that I'd read myself. My Bukowski experience is limited to the movies; 'Barfly' & a Belgium film from ages ago called "Amour est un Chien de L'enfer, (Love is a Dog from Hell).

    I remember not being terribly impressed w/ Miller's "Tropic of Cancer"/which everyone reads in h.s.

    But ummmmm......it is SUCH a groove to sit back & see you guys exchange lit crit.

    Here in FL/the men don't read anything but beer cans & the sports pages.

    Anyway/time for my weekly dose of "Homicide".

By Jon on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 01:12 am:

    Weird, R.C.. Or, actually, par for the course. I can't find any women in AZ that read. The ones I meet talk about the latest episode of "Friends" and listen to country and look at me like I grew an extra eye when I ask them what their favorite books are.

    It figures- all the smart chicks are in FL...

    To paraphrase Pepe LePhew: *Le sigh!*

By Droopy on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 01:44 am:

    I know plenty of women who read, even in Texas, they just never read the same books as men. Talk to them about Kafka, Bukowski, or Beckett and they look at you like you just belched.

    But I suppose I'm guilty of not reading enough female authors.

    I have a cousin who is, to my surprise, a huge Henry Miller fan. She's a lesbian; I don't know if that has anything to do with anything, but it's a point to ponder. I've developed a soft spot for "Tropic of Cancer", of late. Hard to say why. I even had a bit of fun plowing through "Capricorn" a little while ago.

    "Get stewed:
    Books are a load of crap."
    -Philip Larkin

By R.C. on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 03:14 pm:

    I suspect al lot of women don't read much Bukowski becuz Bukowski didn't like women very much. And respected them even less. In the same way (IMHO) that Picasso didn't like women. Both had pretty base ideas abt the opposite sex. And both were able to transform those feelings into 'art' & make themselves famous by presenting women in a twisted, surrealistic manner.

    Bukowski cd at least blame the booze. I've always wondered what Picasso's excuse was for being such a prick.

    But puleeze -- don't get me started on chick lit vs. testosterone tales. I read tons of Mickey Spillane when I was a kid. Then later, Chester
    Himes, Hemingway, Kafak, Raymond Chandler.
    So it depends on the woman.

    There's also the fact that so much of the Western Canon of what is regarded as great literature excludes women to a large degree.
    So how many guys will pick up works by Alice Walker or Toni Morrison or Eudora Welty/unless it's on a reading list for a college class?

By Droopy on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 03:42 pm:

    she said:
    -charles bukowski

    what are you doing with all those paper
    napkins in your car?
    we don't have napkins like
    how come your car radio is
    always tuned to some
    rock and roll
    do you drive around with
    young thing?

    dripping tangerine
    on the floor.
    whenever you go into
    the kitchen
    this towel gets
    wet and dirty.
    why is that?

    when you let my
    bathwater run
    you never
    clean the
    tub first.

    why don't you
    put your toothbrush
    in the rack?

    you should always
    dry your

    sometimes I think
    you hate
    my cat.

    Martha says
    you were
    sitting with her
    and you
    had your pants off.

    you shouldn't wear
    $100 shoes in
    the garden

    and you don't keep
    of what you
    plant out there


    you must always
    set the cat's bowl back
    the same place

    bake fish
    in a frying

    I never saw
    harder on the
    brakes of their
    than you.

    let's go
    to a

    listen what's
    wrong with you?
    you act

By R.C. on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 04:34 pm:

    I took one of my iron pills. I swallowed it and closed my eyes. I wanted a song that would touch me, touch my life and theirs. A Portuguese song, but not a Portuguese song. A new world song. A song branded with the new world. I thought of the girl who had to sleep with her master and mistress. Her father, the master. Her daughter's father. The father of her daughter's daughter. How many generations? Days that were pages of hysteria. She went out and got her daughter, womb swollen with the child of her own father. How many generations had to bow to his genital fantasies? They were fishermen and planters. And you with the coffee-bean face, what were you? You were sacrificed. They knew you only by the signs of your sex. They touched you as if you were magic. They ate your genitals. And you, Grandma, the first mulatto daughter, when did you begin to feel yourself in your nostrils? And Mama, when did you smell your body with your hands?

    "Was your mother a mulatto?" Mutt asked once.
    "I'm darker than her."
    "Did that question make you mad?"
    "You look mad."
    'I'm not. It's a long story. Too long for now."
    "Will you tell me sometime?"

    I never really told him. I gave him only pieces. A few more pieces than I'd given Tadpole, but still pieces.

    "Your pussy's a little gold piece, ain't it, Urs? My little gold piece."

    -- by... who?
    my mother? her mother?
    Alice Walker?
    Maya Angelou?
    or fifty other women writers most folks have never read?

By R.C. on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 04:41 pm:

By Droop on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 05:02 pm:


By Agatha on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 06:32 pm:

    droopy- SCRAbbLE mIssEs YoU. (sO dO I)

By Agatha on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 06:57 pm:



By Dave on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 09:22 pm:

    Richard Brautigan
    Donald Barthelme
    Harlan Ellison
    Malcolm Lowry
    Samuel R. Delaney

    all kick Bukowski's ass for so many different reasons. I know, they're not really even comparable but that's my whole point.

    This is the second time I've criticized Mr Swine's preferred reading preferences. I hope he realizes that I'm not criticizing him. There's no accounting for personal taste when it comes to the arts.

By Dave on Saturday, January 9, 1999 - 09:25 pm:

    Uhhhh. . .preferred reading preferences. It's so hard to concentrate around here.

By Jon on Sunday, January 10, 1999 - 02:55 am:


    Was anyone saying Bukowski was -better- than anyone? I thought we were just noting that he's really fucking good. I agree with some of your selections in that they're good as well. But you seem to be compairing apples and oranges. Saying that (for instance) Brautigan's delicate halucinatory whimsy, or Delaney's complex, sexual-politicking science fiction is -better- than Bukowski's lean sparse tales of alcoholism is like saying you like Pine-Sol more than Oreos. They're totally different beasts. And baby it's all good...

By Dave on Sunday, January 10, 1999 - 11:19 am:

    yup. But simple green whups pine-sol's ass and milanos are way better than oreos. . .especially when dunked in milk.

    I wasn't impressed by Bukowski. Some stuff just doesn't live up to it's hype.


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