Top Ten Books to Save If...

Say your house was destroyed by flowing lava, abducted by aliens, burned to the ground, was overtaken by the army and then blown up... basically just imagine your bookcase, filled with all of the books you've ever loved in your entire life, was destroyed. Eegads. What a horrible thought.

Annnyway, with that being this week's theme from The Broke and the Bookish, I've decided to participate.

A lot of these books I've already mentioned or talked about on A Broken Binding... and now you get to hear about some of them again! Wahoo.

1. My Alice in Wonderland books. They are old, and awesome, and they have the original Alice drawings in them. I've loved them since I was a little girl... so obviously they are coming with me.
2. If I had to choose only ONE Brautigan book, I would choose In Watermelon Sugar because it is amazing. Truly it is most likely one of my favorite books of all time.
3. I just remember reading this book and becoming obsessed with Stephen King, which I've talked about before, when you say "I love Stephen King" a lot of literary nerds will roll their eyes at you. But whatevs, I do like him, the man can tell a tale.
4. Yes, this would be cheating. But, I would take my Norton Anthologies. Because if I can't grab EVERY book in my collection, I'd like to grab a little snippet of every book I have in my collection.
5. Just because, I mean, it's awesome. And a classic, and it has all my notes in it, and I fell in love with it.
6. Well c'mon, you know you'd have to grab your FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME if this happened, so thus Mr. Gatsby is coming with me.
7. It's a beauty of a book. Really, truly, fantastic.
8. You've all seen my battle with Steinbeck on here, but it's boiled down to the point that I like him. And I would totally take one of his books with me. Specifically Of Mice and Men because it ruined my life in a good way. It's so depressing but wonderful.
9. I connected immensely with this book. I need to reread it... but I would have to bring it with because of how it made me feel in the past.
10. I would take this book because of one story in it, "Until Gwen" that completely changed my life. And I don't even know why. But I cry when I read it because it has so much beauty and love packed into one tiny short story. Love love love.

Anyway, these are the books I would grab. They all have some sort of special meaning to me, have affected me at some point in my life. They are all beautiful and wonderful in their own ways, and I know they would all provide me with some sort of solace if my entire book collection was destroyed.

What books would you take with you?

On to reading!


Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame Pt 4

Section Four:

Burning in Water Drowning in Flame (Poems 1972-1973)

the way
murdered in the alley of the land
frost-bitten against flagpoles
pawned by females
educated in the dark for the dark
vomiting into plugged toilets
in rented rooms full of roaches and mice
no wonder we seldom sing
day noon or night
the useless wars
the useless years
the useless loves
and they ask us,
why do you drink so much?
well, I suppose if the days were made
to be wasted
the years and the loves were made
to be wasted
we can't cry, and it helps to laugh -
it's like letting out
dreams, ideals,
don't ask us to sing,
laughing and singing to us,
you see, it is a terrible joke
Christ should have laughed on the cross,
it would have petrified his killers
now there are more killers than ever
and I write poems for them.

Now obviously these are just a few of the poems from the book, but they were some of the ones that really stood out to me (some that I wanted to put in were far too long to sit here and type out, and could be found nowhere on the internets to copy and paste). So please. If you liked any of the ones you’ve read over the last few days, do yourself a favor and buy some Bukowski.

 On to reading!


Drowning in Water, Burning in Flame Pt 3

Section Three:

At Terror Street and Agony Way (Poems 1965 -1968)

OK, before I even write about a poem let’s just talk about how awesome the title At Terror Street and Agony Way is. I absolutely love it.

i met a genius

I met a genius on the train
about 6 years old,
he sat beside me
and as the train
ran down along the coast
we came to the ocean
and then he looked at me
and said,
it’s not pretty.

it was the first time I’d

I have to say that there are a lot of great poems from this section. But this one is short, and concise, and I like it a lot.

On to Reading!


Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame Pt 2

Per my last post of Bukowski's Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame"

Crucifix in a Deathhand (Poems 1963-1965)

don’t come around but if you do…

yeah sure, I'll be in unless I'm out
don't knock if the lights are out
or you hear voices or then
I might be reading Proust
if someone slips Proust under my door
or one of his bones for my stew,
and I can't loan money or
the phone
or what's left of my car
thought you can have yesterday's newspaper
an old shirt or a bologna sandwich
or sleep on the couch
if you don't scream at night
and you can talk about yourself
that's only normal;
hard times are upon us all
only I am not trying to raise a family
to send through Harvard
or buy hunting land,
I am not aiming high
I am only trying to keep myself alive
just a little longer,
so if you sometimes knock
and I don't answer
and there isn't a woman in here
maybe I have broken my jaw
and am looking for wire
or I am chasing the butterflies in
my wallpaper,
I mean if I don't answer
I don't answer, and the reason is
that I am not yet ready to kill you
or love you, or even accept you,
it means I don't want to talk
I am busy, I am mad, I am glad
or maybe I'm stringing up a rope;
so even if the lights are on
and you hear sound
like breathing or praying or singing
a radio or the roll of dice
or typing -
go away, it is not the day
the night, the hour;
it is not the ignorance of impoliteness,
I wish to hurt nothing, not even a bug
but sometimes I gather evidence of a kind
that takes some sorting,
and your blue eyes, be they blue
and your hair, if you have some
or your mind - they cannot enter
until the rope is cut or knotted
or until I have shaven into
new mirrors, until the world is
stopped or opened

From a nice day:

“good morning, nice day isn’t it?
a fat woman says
I am unable to answer
and down the sidewalk I go
unable to tell her
of the knife inside me
I do notice though the sun is shining
that the flowers are pulled up on
their strings
and I on mine”

On to reading!


Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame Pt 1

Right before Christmas my Book Nerd Friend, Book Nerd Friend’s Girlfriend, Fiance and I were all out and about looking at a used book store downtown that we had recently heard of. I was walking around the aisles, taking in that familiar dusty smell of other people’s old books, carrying around a stack of Tom Robbins, when I noticed a tiny little wooden bookshelf by the front counter. What was on this wooden bookshelf you may ask? Well, let me enlighten you my friends, it was: Charles Bukowski. Not the dirty drunk old man himself, but some of his books and a few poem collections. So, with puppy dog eyes and pouty lips I asked Fiance to get me some for Christmas and, under the pretense that I would act surprised when I opened them, I left that day with two Bukowski books and three Tom Robbins. Talk about a haul.

Anyway, this review is about Bukowski’s collection of poems entitled Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. It is a collection of selected poems from 1955-1973.

I think the best way to “review” this book is to post one of my favorite poems from each of the four sections, or a few portions of my favorite poems. So, the first section:

It Catches My Heart in Its Hands (Poems 1955-1963)

The Tragedy of the Leaves

I awakened to dryness and the ferns were dead,
the potted plants yellow as corn;
my woman was gone
and the empty bottles like bled corpses
surrounded me with their uselessness;
the sun was still good, though,
and my landlady's note cracked in fine and
undemanding yellowness; what was needed now
was a good comedian, ancient style, a jester
with jokes upon absurd pain; pain is absurd
because it exists, nothing more;
I shaved carefully with an old razor
the man who had once been young and
said to have genius; but
that's the tragedy of the leaves,
the dead ferns, the dead plants;
and I walked into a dark hall
where the landlady stood
execrating and final,
sending me to hell,
waving her fat, sweaty arms
and screaming
screaming for rent
because the world has failed us

I think it’s kind of pointless to really review poetry… because I think that poetry is what you make of it.

This poem has a lot of what I love about Bukowski. It has women, and a sense of poverty, and death. It has alcohol and sadness.

 On to reading!