Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Choosing a Book for Book Club? Try Post Office? Grunt and Too Real.

Charles Bukowski - Post OfficeImage by lungstruck via Flickr
Book clubs thrive and age. So how to chose a book when it is your turn? Perhaps, a novel by a poet? When the poet, Charles Bukowski, wrote his first novel, Post Office, he was writing of Henry Chinaski, as drunk, throwing up, having sex, manually sorting mail at the Post Office... Hmm. Too real?

A struggling young university student told me Bukowski was among the great 'real life' poets. This student with his love of music, writes songs and posts them on facebook, has a life that at times, was and is 'too real'. His family had a life similar to Bukowski's character, Henry Chinaski. The student had his received Christmas presents and then the presents were gone--pawned or stolen the next day. Is Post Office a book for a book club of older women?

Is this a book for even a Post Office employee? I gave a copy of Post Office as a parting gift to my mailman. His route was being redrawn and he was re-assigned. I didn't receive a thank you note. Perhaps, the novel was too real for him. Yes, maybe, one doesn't want to be reminded of the years at the Post Office when all mail was manually sorted as Henry Chinaski did for over 10 years.

The Post Office is moving the opposite way -- eventually all mail will arrive at local post offices mechanically presorted. Not even a morning sit-down time to sort mail for the mailman's individual route. Mailmen will be walking all day. Hmm. Still manual work.

My nephew might call this type of work, grunt work. He said he was a grunt when he was in basic training running for hours for days with full combat gear with hair-line cracks in his ankles.

Is the novel, Post Office, of interest to a book club? Time magazine called Bukowski, the "laureate of American lowlife." We are all grunts in some way. We often run with full combat gear and consider ourselves still in basic training. Now I am wondering about my hair-line cracks--did they ever heal?

Help me decide my book club selection by selecting Agree or Disagree if I should select the novel, Post Office, in the area below these links. 

Link to the NY Library Friends Bookshelf to see comments about Post Office and other books that influenced people the most and where you can donate and add your book choice and how it influenced you

Link to wikipedia on Charles Bukowski.

Link to a little race track poetry by Charles Bukowski.

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bertiebass said...

Many readers are looking for pure escapism in a book, and perhaps this 'lowlife' is too real and uncomfortable for most.

crayzys said...

To find poems by Charles Bukowski goto: http://www.poemhunter.com/charles-bukowski/poems/