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On Drinking

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  216 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The definitive collection of works on a subject that inspired and haunted Charles Bukowski for his entire life: alcohol

Charles Bukowski turns to the bottle in this revelatory collection of poetry and prose that includes some of the writer’s best and most lasting work. A self-proclaimed “dirty old man,” Bukowski used alcohol as muse and as fuel, a conflicted relationship
ebook, 272 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Ecco
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  216 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Peycho Kanev
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry

for me
it was or
a manner of
with boots on
and gun
smoking and a
symphony music

drinking alone,
I mean.
that’s the only
drinking alone
being alone
fitting the parts
feeling the parts.

of course
drinking can

a cold shower
or a painting by
or an old dog
on a hot

I would have to suppose
that one thousand swallows
crossing your marble
at once
could do

that’s why I
drink: waiting for
something like

ol’ Bukowski

I hold to the edge of the table
Casey Kiser
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
'Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you of your body and your mind and throws you up against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you're allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It's like killing yourself, and then you're reborn. I guess I've lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now.' -Charles Bukowski , from the interview "Paying for Horses".
Mayar El Mahdy
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
"that's the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself another drink..."

Charles Bukowski is my favorite poet ever. It's the most shameful thing about my reading life, even more shameful than what I used to read 4 years ago, but it is what it is, we love who we love and that's all.

I think of all the four books with similar titles and theme this is the most Charles Bukowski one. Not "On Love" even though it's a good books, and not "On Cats' because he doesn't strike me as a cat person.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Truly sounds like he lived a horrible life, but I have absolutely fallen in love with the way he used words. Powerful stuff. I will read more.
Robert Waterman
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like reading Charles Bukowski a lot. But I already have a lot of his books and this is basically a "best of". It's a great starter book for the uninitiated. But I had already read more than half the book from reading so many of his past books. But all in all it's a good read.
Jean Weso
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a drinker and what a writer.
Chelsea Martinez
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading this book (a more slight, haphazard volume compared to previous volumes "On Love" and "On Writing") came at the right time for me at the end of 2019, when I was getting over a cold, to consider the role of alcohol in my life from the perspective of someone who... well, isn't a resigned/but sometimes gleeful addict like Bukowski but is also a far different person than the straight-edge high schooler who always wanted to read him in high school but was disappointed the library never had ...more
Ville Verkkapuro
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started this a bit reluctantly. Same old Bukowski.
There was a lot of familiar stuff. I've read this stuff for over half my life.
Somewhere along the line I had a great sense of comfort. Reading about drinking, about madness, about nihilism, about nothing.
I saw Bukowski in the way I always tend to see him: powerful, like a bear, in all the rawness.
How come there's so little good writers, Bukowski thinks in one of these stories.
Yeah. How come?
Maybe they have too much to lose.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I wasn't a fan of Bukowski before I read this book. I'm still not, but I wasn't before, either.
Stefan Dolan
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting insight to the life of a drunk. The writing captures the essence of drinking as well as one's philosophy behind it.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 read. Philosophy of drinking in black and white. I do not think the verb " enjoy" is the right one to describe my reading experience, but I do find this collection influential and potently " punchy". Somehow, Bukowsky was able to capture the spirit of drinking, the essence of drinking, the philosophy of drinking in its entirely. Honestly, who am I to judge him or the book about how complete and encompassing his drinking experience is, especially if this review is coming from a nearly ...more
Laura Stuart
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's something about reading Bukowski's writing that makes me feel less alone. I don't know if I can explain it.
Anyway, this compilation called On Drinking is pretty self explanatory. I've read most of the poems and story excerpts in other publications, and a lot of what is On Drinking was repetitive. Still, I found the letters and interviews to be pretty interesting.
Luke Gorham
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bukowski was the original hip hop personality, effectuating a more hyperbolic, unchecked analog of himself as artistic outlet. An amalgam of poems, short stories, novelistic excerpts, columns, and snippeted interviews gyred around the curmudgeonly author's love affair with alcohol, this collection is intentionally edited (a particular story regarding a gut-rot-induced near-death experience is recounted in multiple forms across several years here, sprinkled sporadically to capture its ...more
This is a compilation of poetry, essays and some interviews on everything Bukowski wrote on drinking. At points it become repetitive, as some of the exact same material is covered. Other moments give us his contradictions, or changes, hard to say. The timeline, or years aren't consistently mentioned.

There are moments where I laughed, but more where I cringed. He's a rough guy. And at times I wonder if this is Bukowski or just a role he is playing. The book was good, but could have been improved
Mike Hammer
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
a great collection of all the pieces about drunkeness and drinking that bukowski has written
he always is frank and interesting with a unique and slanted, and sometime mean, point of view
that is both matter of fact and an epic landscape
i am never dissappointed when reading bukowski, he keeps the pages turning and the mind rolling
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that Bukowski is overrated to be honest. Sure, he has some gems within his poems and short stories. However, most of his poems consist of him talking about drinking as a way to escape from the world. It helped me learn more about escapism, but I wasn't really that impressed.
Roxanne Cordonier
Fascinating, vulgar, funny and insightful. I didn't know Bukowski's work and found this particular collection to be very enlightening and a fairly easy ready. Enjoyed it. Didn't feel like drinking alcohol for a while after, be warned.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Like a smooth glass of wine
Matthew Stolte
Buk IS drinking. Some new material here. Doesn't disappoint.
Tovah france
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Le Manda
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic stitching of his work.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
A collection of scattered pieces central to a theme
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great storytelling. Gives good perspective of the alcoholic.
Kevin Walsh
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sort of a "best of" collection of poetry, stories and interview snippets related to (spoiler alert!) alcohol. A little repetitive at times, but lots of classic Buk. For the uninitiated, probably a decent entry point into his work and who he was.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a reason to quit drinking or to justify your own occasional drinking this would be the book to help. Every few passages you'll find yourself reading the same quote over and over also there are haunting pictures of some ghoul sprinkled throughout the book.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recopilación casi perfecta hecha por Abel. Fragmentos de entrevistas, pasajes de sus novelas, grabaciones y artículos donde Charles habla o menciona a la bebida y al beber.

Quedó un poco corto, pudiendo salir mucho más.

Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poems
The philosopher of the industrial revolution. Hank Chinaski on drinking, writing, and the working class; all in one place.
Chang Garcia
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Entertaining and amusing yet a bit sad and pathetic.
rated it liked it
Feb 07, 2020
rated it it was amazing
May 23, 2019
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Henry Charles Bukowski (born as Heinrich Karl Bukowski) was a German-born American poet, novelist and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles.It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands ...more
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