If you like Charles Bukowski ...

Updated: January 13, 2021

The novels and poetry of Charles Bukowski continue to have devoted, admiring fans, who can never get enough of his books. We have those books in hard copy, and there is a good representation in Overdrive: The Charles Bukowski Fiction Collection and Charles Bukowski. However, there are some other writers for readers to explore:   Nelson Algren, William Burroughs, Harry Crews, James Ellroy, John Fante, Jean Genet, Jim Harrison, Bohumil Hrabal, James Jones, Danilo Kiš, Cormac McCarthy, Norman Mailer, Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson, Jim Thompson, Andrew Vachss.

Book cover for Blood Meridian
Blood Meridian
McCarthy, Cormac
Call Number: Ed.a

Cormac McCarthy uses the border of Texas and Mexico as the setting to depict the brutal history of the West. The novel is based on real events in the 1850s, where there were bounties for the scalps of massacred Native Americans.

Book cover for The Executioner's Song
The Executioner's Song
Mailer, Norman
Call Number: Ed.b

Based on the real-life drama surrounding the execution of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, Mailer created a three-part novel that peeled back issues of violence and the death penalty.

Book cover for Florida Frenzy
Florida Frenzy
Crews, Harry
Call Number: 818 C927

A collection of essays and fiction by Harry Crews that covers a wide range of subjects from cockfighting, caring for injured animals, hard drinking and poaching gators.

Book cover for A good day to die
A good day to die
Harrison, Jim, 1937-2016
Call Number: Ed.b

Three people buy a case of dynamite to save the Grand Canyon from being wrecked by a proposed dam. A poet who loves fishing, a Vietnam veteran with addiction issues, and a woman who might love either of the men, set out from Florida to accomplish this deed.

Book cover for The grifters
The grifters
Thompson, Jim, 1906-1977.
Call Number: Ed.b

Being on the grift outweighs any warm, fuzzy feelings between mother and son con artists, who are on opposite sides of the game.

Book cover for Layer Cake
Layer Cake
Connolly, J. J.

A drug dealer, who plans to retire, gets involved in one last job that pulls him into the complex world of London’s web of organized crime.

Book cover for The Man With the Golden Arm
The Man With the Golden Arm
Algren, Nelson
Call Number: Ed.a

World War II veteran Frankie the Machine tries to overcome a heroin addiction that resulted from being given morphine for a war wound. Algren’s grim portrayal of Chicago’s walking wounded won the National Book Award in 1950.

Book cover for Mr. Kafka and Other Tales From the Time of the Cult
Mr. Kafka and Other Tales From the Time of the Cult
Hrabal, Bohumil

These raucous, surreal stories are set in 1950s Czechoslovakia, which was part of the Eastern Bloc, and the cult is a direct reference to Stalinist repression. Life is so absurd that even Kafka’s works might seem realistic. Hrabal is best known for Closely Watched Trains, which was made into a film.

Book cover for Never a Lovely So Real: The Life and Work of Nelson Algren
Never a Lovely So Real: The Life and Work of Nelson Algren
Asher, C.
Call Number: 813 A396As

This thoroughly researched biography reveals why the writer became a recluse at the height of a successful career, his early hard-luck life, and disastrous relationships, especially one with Simone de Beauvoir. Colin Asher’s access to the 886-page F.B.I.file on Algren clears up why Algren was being watched during the Red Scare.

Book cover for Pound for Pound: A Novel
Pound for Pound: A Novel
Toole, F. X.

The posthumously published novel of X. J. Toole, whose novel, Million Dollar Baby, was made into the eponymous Oscar-winning film. Set within the brutal and corrupt world of boxing, this novel is about a deeply troubled boxing trainer who takes on a young boxer.

Book cover for The Thin Red Line
The Thin Red Line
Jones, James
Call Number: Ed.b

Jones is best known for From Here to Eternity, and several other books about war, but this book is far more raw in its representation of men at the battlefront.