Tag: Aesthetics

Charles Bukowski – Septuagenarian Stew | Review

Title: Septuagenarian Stew

Author: Charles Bukowski

Type: Fiction/Poetry

Page Count/Review Word Count: 384

Rating: 4*/5

 

Charles Bukowski - Septuagenarian Stew

Charles Bukowski – Septuagenarian Stew

 

This book is a collection of Charles Bukowski’s collected stories and poems, and I’m assuming from both the title and the contents of the collection that it brings together the work that he wrote in his seventies. Because of that, much of the work is ruminative, looking back on his earlier life and at the way that the world has changed since he was a youngster.

Most authors struggle to pull off collecting both poetry and prose together in a single volume because the inherent differences between the two can make it start to feel disjointed. That doesn’t happen here, though – both the poems and the stories are like little snapshots into the author’s mind, and they slowly build up and come together to give you an overall picture of the author’s life.

Bukowski was always good at writing about his own life, and he’s potentially at his best right here. Like a fine wine, he seemed to get better with age, which could well be because he came to writing a little later in his life than most. He also has a flair for using simple language that the reader can easily relate to – his poetry and his stories are easy to read because of their simplicity, and I’ve always been an admirer of that. Less is more.

 

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski

 

As for whether I’d recommend this book ahead of any of his others…well, that’s hard to say, because each of his collections are unique. Really, you ought to collect as many of Bukowski’s books as possible, because they’re all great reads. Even though they can look intimidating if you judge them upon their thickness, they’re actually pretty quick books that you can whizz through in a couple of days, and this one is no different.

In fact, one of the best things about this book is its aesthetics. It’s printed on good quality paper and feels like a proper artifact. It’s a great little addition to your collection whether this is your first time reading him or whether you’ve been a long-term fan, and I’d definitely recommend it. It might not be his best perhaps, but it’s definitely up there. All of his books are good.

 

Charles Bukowski Quote

Charles Bukowski Quote

 

Click here to buy Septuagenarian Stew.

 


David Mitchell – Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse | Review

Title: Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse

Author: David Mitchell

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 326

Rating: 4*/5

 

David Mitchell - Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse

David Mitchell – Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse

 

I suppose the first thing to point out here is that this is by David Mitchell the comedian – and not the novelist who wrote Cloud Atlas. I’d actually recommend reading both of them, but for very different reasons.

This book isn’t necessarily a typical book as such, because it’s basically just a collection of different columns that Mitchell wrote for newspapers. Despite that, it does sort of follow a narrative structure – at least, as much as this sort of book can. He’s done a good job of bringing them together in to some sort of order, however arbitrary, and it works well.

The problem is that as soon as you’ve read the first fifty pages, you pretty much know what to expect for the rest of it. It’s different to other books, which are able to repeatedly hook you in with an intense story line. Here, the best you’ll get is a laugh every few pages and the lingering sense that you’ve learned something.

 

David Mitchell

David Mitchell

 

The interesting thing about David Mitchell is that he’s a sort of hero for the cynical, which is probably why I liked this so much. It’s not for everyone, but it’s great stuff if you’re a fan of his or if you tend to lean more to the left when it comes to politics.

My main gripe with this book is the presentation. It felt too text-heavy, and the different columns weren’t particularly well-separated. That only really affects the book’s aesthetics, but I’ve always thought that aesthetics are important. For the average reader, it might be enough to put them off – especially because the newspaper column style starts to get repetitive.

Overall though, I thought this book was lots of fun – and when I wasn’t laughing, I was nodding my head in agreement.

 

David Mitchell

David Mitchell

 

Click here to buy Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse.

 


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