post office: A Novel (1971) is the first Charles Bukowski novel I've read, mostly because my father (a career post office worker) himself recommended it. Actually, I had been planning on reading a Bukowski novel and have women: A Novel sitting on my shelf. I guess I had negative connotations of his work as being inaccessible or of value to outsiders only-I have heard that his books and Chuck Palahnuik's novels are the most shoplifted books. His style is pretty simple and direct, but I have to admit I was impressed at the humor and life bursting through the novel. In fact, there is much to admire. For example, there was less about the drinking, fighting, and womanizing that I thought would have been in the book given that most of my impressions are from the film Barfly. His novel seems to have drawn inspiration from those writers who have suffered poverty that had come before: Henry Miller, the beats, and perhaps Charles Wileford-whose novel Pick Up has many similarities. His observations about people, life, and petty bureaucracies like the post office are accurate and well drawn in many cases. His message of embracing life in the face of petty tyrants and the excruciating daily toil of work do not go unnoticed. So I will be reading Women and more in the future.