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4.69  ·  Rating details ·  93 Ratings  ·  36 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.
Paperback, 216 pages
Published September 18th 2017 by Civil Coping Mechanisms
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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
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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
Mike Ingram
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I haven't been on Goodreads in like three years (at least), partly because I'm lazy and partly because I do a weekly podcast where I talk about books and that's kind of enough book-talk for one life, you know? But now here comes Bud Smith writing a book that's real good, so I have to come on Goodreads and tell all you people that it's real good, so hopefully some of you will buy it and read it and make your lives better.
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.
Bud Smith
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
can relate.
Kane Bergstrom
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I left my copy in the bathroom of a coin laundry
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
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
Thomas Pluck
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
a great read. singing the fight songs of our lives ...
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Funny and sincere about work, of all things. Could inspire a lazy person to work hard.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Christopher DeWan
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bud Smith and his writing are powerful, energetic, and unique: these are stories like you've never read before, and they're amazing. I'm glad this book and this writer exist—and you should be, too. He's one of the realest, rawest people writing today.
Aaron Dietz
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bud was due to write a book that people should study or put up there with Steinbeck or place in a space capsule to be sent to aliens, and this is it.

Whereas Bud Smith's books usually feel honest, this one absolutely 100% is.
Zac Smith
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
hey. hey you. listen: read this book.

bud smith has a voice. it's a very unique, dopamine-releasing voice. it's laconic, wise, and clear. he's funny. he's touching. this book has all the emotions in it. the greatest hits.

his life is interesting. sure, of course. he works heavy construction. he lives in a shitty apartment. he grew up in a campground. he's not your average alt-lit MFA whatever whoever bullshitter. great, yeah, sure. but that's not the point of this. this isn't just some list of cur
Jon Lindsey
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bud’s the hardest working man in literature. Seriously. The guy works full-time at an oil refinery or a nuclear power plant or something, and in off-hours writes books. Book-after-book. Bizarre, big-hearted books that pulse and glow like he writes with radioactive pens.

His newest, WORK, is a memoir that feels especially timely given our current cultural obsession with striking that illusive work–life balance. The book’s three main threads weave together in non-linear jumps between Bud’s life wor
Keegan Lester
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book wherein Bud made art to sustain himself as opposed to chasing fame, which is how art should be done. It's the kind of book that I think everyone in High School should read. It challenges the idea of normative intelligence and masculinity and it's really fing sweet too. Bud Smith is a gem, a cloud, a freakin' man, and also a guy that has his shit together. If you are tired of upper-middle-class MFA students writing stories about the working-class, then this is for you. The simplest ...more
Dylan Angell
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the wrong hands the scenes in Work could have read as a bad Springsteen b-side (there is such a thing) but Bud Smith is too strong of a writer to fall into cliche.
Essentially Bud Smith/our narrator is concerned with keeping his truck running, finding love, spending time with his family, working/keeping money in the bank and all the while finding time to write.
He doesn't glorify the fact that he's a clandestine writer writing on lunch breaks or acts as if he is suffering under manual labor--
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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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