Litkicks Message Board Archive
Where To Begin?
Ham On Rye, Women, Post Office, Notes of A Dirty Old Man, Mockingbird Wish Me Luck, Play The Piano Drunk, Burning In Water Drowning In Flame, War All The Time... then there's the letters/diary stuff: Screams From The Balcony & The Captain Is Out To Lunch (highly recommend this one). These books are great places to start. Great novels, short stories & poetry.
Run With The Hunted is indeed a decent primer on Bukowski, but speaking for myself, I would skip directly to the meat.
True, Pulp is an interestingly bad novel (dedicated to bad writing, as noted), but the last chapter will blow your mind. The book deals with the great "mystery" of death, and was finished on his deathbed... Hollywood is my least favorite of his books. Didn't like it much at all.
There are also some great video rentals out there -- Taylor Hackford's "Bukowski" being the best. Done right around the time of "Women" as Bukowski's star is on the rise. He's with Linda King on his way to City Lights for the big read and the crazy after party.
The new documentary is not as good, somewhat pat and predictable. Too much star fucking for my taste, too much of the easily seen drinking, brawling, "fuck machine" Bukowski.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that's all there is (drinking/fighting, fucking...). He never says do as I do, exactly the opposite - his is simply on his own path. Also, many make the mistake of aligning him with the beats. Not his game. He is/was his own person/poet (I've talked with Linda B. about this one alot). In the end, a great romantic in his own way. He did write a great short story about meeting "Kerouac's man" Cassady tho... check that one out.
Good luck, and have a good time.