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Charles Bukowski

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  565 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Charles Bukowski chronicled the seedy underside of the city in which he spent most of his life—Los Angeles. His heroes were the panhandlers and hustlers, the drunks and the hookers, his beat the racetracks and strip joints, and his inspiration a series of dead-end jobs in warehouses, offices, and factories. It was in the evenings that he would put on a classical record, op ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Virgin Books (first published June 23rd 2005)
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Chris Topher What would you suggest? Would you rather it all be erased and we pretend stuff like this never happens? What brand of rose colored glasses should we…moreWhat would you suggest? Would you rather it all be erased and we pretend stuff like this never happens? What brand of rose colored glasses should we wear when we read your approved list of authors?

I think that, in your rush to reject the harsh world Bukowski wrote about, you have completely missed the moral of his stories--and yes, there is a moral in his stories, as lacking in morals as his characters are.

To me, Bukowski works because, while his writing shows what it is like to live at the bottom, among the dregs of society where everything and everyone are as bad as they can get, he shows that you can go on for another day.

To say stuff like this shouldn't be published is to both ignore the fact that yes, people do indeed live like this and, as Bukowski shows, you can survive another day whether you want to or not.

You should read some of his poetry. Try "The Shoelace" if you want a clearer idea of what Bukowski was writing about. Also, "Democracy" "Putrefaction" and "Something's Knocking at the Door" show another side that doesn't come across in his "Chinaski" character.
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Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this book in HMV, by far the best thing I've got from that shop.

I hadn't read anything by Bukowski before, the only thing I knew was from the Modest Mouse song.

Barry Miles has written about a person he cared for and for me that made a big difference for me.

Bukowski lead an amazing life, fighting and drinking and living for his art. At times he had no money, no food, no warm room to live in but he would still obsessively write on any scrap of paper he could find.

So big thanks to Barry Miles
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of us who can relate to a tortured soul, Charles Bukowski's life story will strike a nerve. He was blessed with incredible observational writing skills, but his characters were always this side of social ineptness, and self destructive much like he was. His capacity for drink was legendary, he was moody and dark but his writing and expression was brilliant.
There's no question that the Howard Sounes biography is the best book on Bukowski so far. That said, this book has its pleasures. Unlike Sounes, who engaged in real research, Miles' book is pretty much synthesized out of the autobiographical elements in Bukowski's vast oeuvre. This may not be great scholarship, but the fact that so much of its content comes directly or indirectly from Buk's own words actually leaves the reader with a better sense of what to expect from Buk's writings. If you alr ...more
Jul 07, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i enjoyed this book.i think that it would be of interest to not only anyone obviously into bukowski, but also anyone who wants to write,as his prolific-ness and dedication to writing is truelly is his ability to write amongst all the chaos of his life.the only frustrating thing for me was that the author kept saying that 'bukowski was drinking more than ever'.this phrase was overused and ruined any relativity for me.but gripping,actually.
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A comprehensive biography on Charles Bukowski. This text follows the standard chronological approach for most biographies. Because of the very biographical nature of Bukowski's works, I'd say any Buk fan would be familiar with the vast majority of events related at the beginning of the book. Abused child, outcast teenager and troubled young man. We know the script.
However, the book picks up somewhere half-way thru as Barry Miles tries to go beyond what is common knowledge and question some aspe
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not normally a huge fan of biographies, but I couldn't resist picking up this one. All in all, it was pretty good. I did find it quite a bit different than Cherkovski's, even though the same facts are at the base. I think Miles had an image of Bukowski that he wanted to show and did so. Of course, so did Cherkovski. Most biographers probably do. You probably get a more complete picture by reading different ones and finding the "truth" somewhere in between.
Lollipopwater Norton
Great read on Bukowski, "the laureate of American low-life". A biography that scrapes away all the myth and legend of the man, and sheds light on his fears and struggles and loves.

I enjoyed that Barry Miles also included bits on the history of Los Angeles, a city that often plays a character in Bukowski's poems and stories.
Cory Fosco
Some cool new insights, but nothing overwhelmingly different than any other biography of Bukowski. I learned more about his relationship with his first wife, and got a glimpse of what she looked like, which no other book really has.
A not-astounding biography of Charles Bukowski that covered all the bases and told me everything I needed to know, and then some.
christopher leibow
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Best Buk bio I have ever read. No fan worshiping and anectdotes I have never heard. Miles slides back the curtains of bravado and gently has us look at the knot of a man Buk was.
Apr 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great supplement to Bukowski: Born Into This documentary. Bukowski is a favorite of mine and this was a well written bio of him.
Oct 05, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bailed at a little over 100 pages. How somebody can make an outsized personality like Bukowski seem boring is beyond me.
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My best friend got this as a birthday gift for me because he knows how much I like Bukowski (thanks to him introducing me to him). Great read, recommended.
Victoria Moore
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how long I've been reading Charles Bukowski but after running across a clip I saved from the 9/2-8/11 issue of the "L.A. Weekly" called "Buke It Out" about his book "More Notes of a Dirty Old Man" I felt compelled to read "Charles Bukowski" by Barry Miles along with that book. Divided into 11 chapters, spanning from his horrendous childhood rife with paternal abuse to his death of cancer on March 9, 1994 at 73, I discovered that I wasn't just reading this book I was living parts of ...more
May 10, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
What a frustrating biography. Barry Miles was relentless in his pursuit of the truth and spent most of his time picking out the half-truths in Bukowski's writings. While I applaud his dedication in research, he let his own voice speak too much, not content to just narrate. That voice seemed dour and humorless. Of course I learned a lot about Charles Bukowski, but found myself wanting to chuck (haha) the book across the room half a dozen times.
David Williams
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, Comprehensive & Detailed, the Biographer was able to remain objective about a man and poet that engenders such emotion and passion amongst his fans and detractors. At times, sad, interesting and compulsive, the amount of drinking described was to the detriment of description and detail of individual poems. I would have liked more detail on his poems, not just books and anthologies.
May 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
A biography of writer Charles Bukowski. His life, like his writing, was a vast waste of tedium punctuated occasionally by something interesting. I was especially struck that, for a poet as populist as he was, he hated to do public readings of his work.
Jan 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fairly comprehensive biography of Bukowski. It sews together his poems and stories into a patchwork of his life. Little to no bullshit.
Manar Ouartssi
i loved this book , it is a very well-written biography about the prolific underground writer charles bukowski
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diving in . . . Bottoms Up !

What a story! What a life!
Great book, I enjoyed the poetry enormously.
Pierpaolo Bonante
Dietro le quinte. Curioso.
Taryn Renay
I didn't care for the author's style. Hard to follow at times. Lots of typos.
Brian Richards
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A reread ... great book
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a teenager- and it romanticized even the hunger and the cockroaches. I loved Bukowski's spirit, and his trueness to his self. Miles's biography paints the author to life.
Daniel Føntaine
rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2017
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Jan 14, 2015
Burak Biçer
rated it it was amazing
Aug 28, 2014
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Mar 20, 2014
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Dec 22, 2017
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Author of several books and biographies, most pertaining to musicians and the sixties.

Miles has written biographies of Paul McCartney, The Beatles, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Frank Zappa, Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg, in addition to books on John Lennon, The Beatles and The Clash.

He is occasionally inaccurately credited as "Miles Mabbett" due to his co-authoring a book with Andy Mabb
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