Sunday, March 8, 2009

Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook by Charles Bukowski

One of the great things about Bukowski's essays and short stories is that you can read one or two and move on. It can take time to read a whole book, for me at least.

This collection is Uncollected Short Stories and Essays, 1944-1990. Some of the stories feel vaguely familiar, like I've read them before. I think I just recall the stories from Buk interviews and documentaries.

There are lots of stories to choose from but my favorites are his Notes from a Dirty Old Man, Just Passing Time, and I Meet the Master. I Meet The Master is about Chinaski meeting Bante...or Bukowski meeting Fante. A good piece of work about finally meeting your idol that includes some standout lines:

"It was obvious: what happened to people, good people, bad people, even terrible people, hardly seemed fair."

"It's when you hide things that you choke on them."

I ended up with a book that was underlined and dog-earred. Bukowski really sums up himself with "Genius could be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way."

Not a wasted word in sight.
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