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4.68  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  58 reviews
WORK is a portrait of Bud Smith's years working construction. It's about his hilarious blue-collar family. It's about growing up in a campground in NJ, skipping college, and moving to NYC on a drunken whim. It's about making art even if that means writing a novel during 1000 consecutive lunch breaks. ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published September 18th 2017 by Civil Coping Mechanisms
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Average rating 4.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  177 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Michael Mungiello
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes books
This book is crazy good, crazy crazy crazy, crazy crazy good. Here are some lines I underlined because of how good they are, this book has lines that hit you like BOOM BOOM BOOM, WORK, BY, BUD, SMITH:

"Maybe this world is unlimited and you never know when you're going to wake up retired and suddenly running a hot dog cart of your own."

"I'm responsible for your safety, but you know what, you're responsible for my safety too. We are all Dr. Frankenstein and we are all his monster, too. Let's keep o
Bud Smith
Mar 21, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
can relate.
Peter Derk
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This held my interest on an airplane, and I could have been watching Gymkata (the movie that combines the thrill of gymnastics with the kill of karate, 4.3 IMDB score). It also mostly held my interest when I was the only person in a restaurant, seated at the bar, and the servers were having a very loud discussion about the practice of wearing a pair of underwear and then sending those underwear to perverts for $40. It should be noted that this conversation was EXTRA distracting because they were ...more
Juliet Escoria
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I usually only read books by people with a PhD in either creative writing or English literature but I’ll make an exception for this guy any day! I didn’t even see any typos or misspellings. Hard to find these days, with all the kids and their junky phones! GET A LIFE KIDS. But not you, Bud. You’ve got a life. It was full of work, and also LOVE. You stay on that phone, Budder Cup, and keep on making more GREAT WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bud Smith is my friend, but even if Bud Smith was my worst enemy I'd give this book five stars, it's that good. ...more
Ben Loory
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Art isn’t something you should protect from yourself. Just run towards it full sprint and embrace how ridiculous your ideas are, how unguarded, how close to something a child might think up, lying on their back in a field overgrown with weeds.
Robert Vaughan
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book on a Mexican beach, and in the plane back to America. It was perfect, a sort of saga like Andy Kaufman meets Jean Genet meets a Sufi master meets Sarah Silverman. Bud Smith is a friend and more. He grinds out books on the job; all the while loving life in its smallest grandeur. He's a tuba and a sunrise just out of sight. He's a Jersey guy with nothing to prove but love. ...more
Meg Tuite
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Many times I forget the good things about being on this planet. Bud Smith reminds me to take in every minute. Thank you, Bud! What a gift you are!
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Most book things now (with a few exceptions) are just built around nice, safe books written for nice and safe book club readers. These are usually the books you see on display at Barnes and Noble. These internet writers are, like, literally terrorists to me. They’re training as we speak. They’re getting ready to invade. They’re building an army. (Scott Mcclanahan)
Kelby Losack
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'll try my best to articulate why I loved this book more than most "literary" efforts. I saw a lot of myself in it, sure--the sibling fights and the blue collar, cash-strapped parents and the various construction jobs--but even more than the relatability of the content, what makes Work, um... work... is the down-to-earth delivery. The book reads like stories being told over beers by your friend who just finished a long shift and is fired up for the weekend. I read it out loud so my wife could e ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that feels like the writer is talking to you and you never want them to stop. This is also one of those books you keep close after you've read it. You flip open to a random page and read for a few minutes and feel better about life and writing and being human. Bud Smith is an interesting person with smart things to say and is emerging as a singular voice in the lit world and one you'll want to listen to. He writes like a book a day, so you'll have plenty to choose from ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book. THIS BOOK is pure and honest and without pretense and flawed (as in: human) and generous as heck and bursting with heart and beauty and brilliance. And joy. I want to make out with this book and give it to my friends and plant it under my pillow to sprout all the dreams.

"Energy gives energy if you are paying attention to it."

Thank you, Bud. For the gift of your energy. For your poetry and sweat.

For reminding us we don't need permission for anything of this bullshit.

For telling us: "Do
David Catney
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
Bud fucking Smith wrote a great fucking book.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book made me incredibly sad.
Kane Bergstrom
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I left my copy in the bathroom of a coin laundry
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this is a nonlinear nonfiction novel that uses bud smith's labor in heavy construction to telescope in on the ways that we shape our lives from stolen moment to moment. it's a working class, regional book about New Jersey and the ways that we might let all sorts of things dictate how our lives go but how it doesn't have to be that way and even if it does then we can find beauty in it anyway. beauty in magazines shoved in a toilet. beauty in a leaking gas tank. beauty in mud puddles so deep they' ...more
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Work” is my first experience with Bud Smith’s writing. I liked it. A Lot. The voice is fresh and the writing flows. The “blurb” on the back of the book is misleading, however. This book is not merely about “Bud Smith’s years working construction.” It’s about a lot of jobs he’s had and lost over a period of years from his teens to his late twenties, all “blue collar” work, a great deal unskilled, but a lot skilled - building waterfalls for snotty rich people and working as a welder in a New Jers ...more
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Funny and sincere about work, of all things. Could inspire a lazy person to work hard.
Thomas Pluck
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
a great read. singing the fight songs of our lives ...
Daniel Eastman
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Here is my review:

I think Bud would be a fun person to hang out around. However, I don’t think that I am the sort of person Bud would like to hang out around. I do think Bud’s parents and my parents would probably enjoy hanging out around each other.

I’m pretty good at picking up heavy things. Sometimes I feel like I wasted or I am wasting my prime physical years by not working some grueling manual labor job. This book sort of reinforced that. I often think about changing course and learning a tr
Scott Benoit
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Astute and funny. Had me recalling strange memories about my time on the tools, where the choice of what to put in a sandwich involved whether I would be eating it outside in Alberta winter or whether I would be able to take my gloves off and chew easier. Outside eating requires softer cheese (Swiss), and moist bread (white), in order to not hate the work of chewing through a frozen brick. Icy lettuce no thanks. Working with the guy who pulled the trailer meant I could snake his small fetid micr ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the book that shifted my entire perspective of literature. It showed me that the stories we tell ourselves and tell our friends are equally impactful on the page, that a heavy-machine operator or construction worker can also be a philosopher admired by the masses. Bud Smith writes for you and me, he writes for your mail man and he writes for your doctor. A writer for the people with anecdotes and lessons that will stick around long after you finish the book. A must read for any aspiring ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bud Smith is the master of the kind of storytelling in a genre that ought to be called Here's a Pretty Good Story about Being Alive But I'm Not Going to Take Any of It Too Seriously. He's very easy to read and he's pretty smart and savvy, too, but he's not precious about it. We have one go at all of this, and here's how it was for me, and if you don't like it, who cares. Work is an honest, likeable memoir about working with your hands and the kind of people you work with while welding at a power ...more
Rachel Andersson
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Literally brilliant. Like, luminescent. Existential in the best realest sort of way. I read it last month and already want to read it again.
Amar Pai
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Short and sweet
Noah Roth
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Humbled this battery boy, I tell ya hwhat. And increased his aversions to Jersey.
Bob Raymonda
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bud Smith wrote about working heavy construction and his brother's teeth getting fixed and how his mom beat Legend of Zelda before his dad and how his dad fell down the stairs in the winter because he didn’t want to salt the steps and have to rebuild them in the spring. He wrote about making art in an unpretentious way and reading Kurt Vonnegut novels and building waterfalls and his wife, Rae, and so many other things. I devoured it in a day and I am so happy to have stumbled upon this wonderful ...more
Chelsea Voulgares
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read for writers, artists, and really just anyone trying to live a productive life. Through a series of stories and anecdotes, Bud Smith details his life growing up in New Jersey, and how he integrates his creative work with his day job in heavy construction. This memoir is funny, entertaining, touching, and important. I loved it.
Dave Newman
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was great, as true as every paycheck and as dismal as every firing. Not since I discovered Ginger Andrews' poems years ago have I enjoyed a book about working this much. I leave for my job at 5 in the morning, always fucking exhausted, and tomorrow I'm going to honk my horn 21 times to thank Bud Smith for writing this. ...more
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Bud Smith is the author of Teenager (Tyrant Book), Double Bird (Maudlin House), WORK (CCM), Dust Bunny City (Disorder Press), among others. He works heavy construction, and lives in Jersey City, NJ.

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