(2.5 Stars) Post Office wasn't all that I hoped it would be. In this autobiographical first novel, all of Bukowski's signature elements are here - the(2.5 Stars) Post Office wasn't all that I hoped it would be. In this autobiographical first novel, all of Bukowski's signature elements are here - the straight talk, the voice of the underclass, the anti-authoritarian, etc... But, overall it barely holds together (there's no plot whatsoever). The parts about his relationships with Joyce and Betty - characters supposedly based on the love of his life and his first wife - were intriguing and kept me interested. However, the rest of Post Office is hit or miss as it meandered on about workplace drama, drinking and lots of machismo. Despite my slight disappointment, the novel is still essential reading for anyone curious about Bukowski. ...more
I'm the type of guy that reads Not That Kind of Girl. If you like Lena Dunham's HBO series, Girls, you'll like this book. This collection of personalI'm the type of guy that reads Not That Kind of Girl. If you like Lena Dunham's HBO series, Girls, you'll like this book. This collection of personal essays made me wish I had documented everything in my life from senior year in high school to age thirty (after that things get weird/depressing). My essay collection could've been titled, I Am That Type of Guy. But, since I'm not famous and nobody wants to see me naked (emotionally or otherwise), I'll just recommend Not That Kind of Girl. ...more
(4.5 Stars) I have never been to Paris. But, the Paris that Ernest Hemingway writes about in his memoir, A Moveable Feast, is the Paris I've always im(4.5 Stars) I have never been to Paris. But, the Paris that Ernest Hemingway writes about in his memoir, A Moveable Feast, is the Paris I've always imagined. Hemingway vividly chronicles his time in Paris during the early to mid 1920s, when many of his contemporaries wrote and created art there. In this subtle memoir Hemingway writes about his friendships with Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others. He also writes lovingly about his first wife, Hadley Richardson, their infant son (nicknamed) Bumby, and their cat, F. Puss. His tone is unassuming throughout; yet, by the end of the book I began to notice a more passive aggressive Hemingway.
In retrospect, I'm not sure I had an opinion about Ernest Hemingway prior to this book. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how simple yet effective his writing was. Maybe it's all the nostalgia, but A Moveable Feast has the longing of a great love affair and the intrigue of a lover who will never love you back. It's highly quotable and it filled my head with romantic notions of Paris, writing, and French cafes. Aside from the starving artist part (been there, done that), I think most writers have dreamt of their own version of a moveable feast, I certainly have. ...more
"Not a word of Dark Sparkler is poetic in the foolish and flowery sense." ~ Diane di Prima I loved this book. It's original, provocative, witty and su"Not a word of Dark Sparkler is poetic in the foolish and flowery sense." ~ Diane di Prima I loved this book. It's original, provocative, witty and surprisingly humorous. This is the kind of book I wish I had written. The kind of idea/theme I wish I had thought of. But, as it turned out, Amber Tamblyn nailed it. Dark Sparkler is the third and latest collection of poetry by Tamblyn (it also includes original art work by David Lynch, Sage Vaughn, Marilyn Manson and others). The book explores a dark side of Hollywood glitz via the deaths of numerous young actresses - some famous, some not so famous. Tamblyn, a well-known actress and underrated poet, handles this subject matter with keen insight and distinctive flare. She documents her own struggles and intertwines them with those of the deceased. Based on everything I know about the objectification of women in Hollywood, this book feels fiercely authentic and curiously enlightening. These dark minded poems have universal appeal that even non-poetry readers could appreciate. ...more
(3.5 Stars) The Vegetarian is an intriguing and unsettling novel about mental illness, dreams, and of course, vegetarianism. Originally published in S(3.5 Stars) The Vegetarian is an intriguing and unsettling novel about mental illness, dreams, and of course, vegetarianism. Originally published in South Korea in 2007, The Vegetarian was adapted to the big screen in 2009 and screened at Sundance in 2010. As for the novel, it started off very strong, but faded at the end. Things get weird and slightly gory during the second half of the book. The plot seemed to bog down and my mind began to wander. Nevertheless, The Vegetarian is worthwhile because it's completely original. Now, I'm anxious to see the film adaptation. ...more
I loved this book. In her first full-length graphic memoir, Julia Wertz makes magic out of the mundane. In completely self-deprecating manner, Wertz gI loved this book. In her first full-length graphic memoir, Julia Wertz makes magic out of the mundane. In completely self-deprecating manner, Wertz gives the reader a glimpse into her life as an artist, daughter, sister and friend. She shows us what it is to be human (and perhaps subhuman) in uncompromising cities like San Francisco and New York. Drinking at the Movies is laugh out loud funny and highly recommended. ...more
John Updike said that his writing career began in 1954 when the New Yorker accepted one of his poems. However, most of us think of Updike as a novelisJohn Updike said that his writing career began in 1954 when the New Yorker accepted one of his poems. However, most of us think of Updike as a novelist. After all, he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction twice- Rabbit is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1991). He also won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award for fiction. I didn't expect much from Endpoint: And Other Poems. However, I was curious how the iconic writer summarized his final days via this posthumous volume of poetry. The "Endpoint" poems were written during the last years of his life, they are sensitive and poignant. One of those poems is titled "Oblong Ghost 11/6/08." This poem stands out because it struck me as terribly sad and terribly true. It is a reminder that the world outside stops for no one.
Oblong Ghost 11/6/08
A wakeup call? It seems that death has found the portals it will enter by: my lungs, pathetic oblong ghosts, one paler than the other on the doctor’s viewing screen. Looking up “pneumonia,” I learn it can, like an erratic dog, turn mean and snap life short for someone under two or “very old (over 75).” Meanwhile, our President Obama waits downstairs to be unwrapped and I, a child transposed toward Christmas Day in Shillington— air soft and bright, a touch of snow outside— pause here, one hand upon the bannister, and breathe the scent of fresh-cut evergreens.
The "Other" poems in this collection are a mix bag; but, still effective and introspective. I liked this book much more than I thought I would. Endpoint: And Other Poems opened me up to another side of Updike. This book motivated me to explore more of his fiction, essays and criticism. Updike was more than just a great novelist. It is ironic (or maybe by design) that his career began and ended with poetry. ...more
(4.5 Stars) How it Ended is Jay McInerney's outstanding collection of twenty-six short stories that span from 1982 to 2008. Prior to this expansive sh(4.5 Stars) How it Ended is Jay McInerney's outstanding collection of twenty-six short stories that span from 1982 to 2008. Prior to this expansive short story collection I had never read McInerney, despite the success of Bright Lights, Big City, Story of My Life, and The Good Life. After finishing How it Ended I seriously regret not reading him sooner. These stories were exactly what I hoped they would be - smart, witty, and bittersweet. In a 2009 New York Times article, "Generation of Benders, Some Tabs Paid in Full," journalist Janet Maslin wrote that McInerney had, " A party-guy reputation borne out by the elements (drugs, infidelity, name dropping and social climbing) that loom large in his fiction. And an etiquette that dictates that when a woman is about to snort cocaine, a gentleman helps by holding back her hair." That more or less sums up this collection best. ...more
In January 2010 critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo released their list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923. Joan Didion'In January 2010 critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo released their list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923. Joan Didion's Play It as It Lays was on that list. By all accounts, Didion is a literary legend. However, I was underwhelmed by her critically acclaimed memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking (it won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2005), and I just couldn't digest Play It as It Lays. Stylistically, it is an unflinching and cool novel about a woman's descent into nothingness. Yet, I never felt an emotional connection with the protagonist and the other characters were forgettable. I wonder if I would like the film adaptation starring Tuesday Weld and Anthony Perkins any better?