Publisher: Ecco – Harper Collins ISBN: 1-57423 001-8 Over 400 pages, the influential prose writer and poet Charles Bukowski describes his favourite things in one of his last books – Betting on the Muse. During his prolific career Bukowski made a name for himself as both a writer of prose and poetry, and the pieces collected here, numbering more than one hundred contain a number of his bare bone short stories, and seemingly improvised poetry. The subject matter ranges from things happening in sports halls, and dangerous situations in night’s enfold, as well as looking at what it means to be a writer. The Girls we followed home reminisces about the girls that he used to know, whilst being surrounded by their older selves, whilst A Real Break, Defining the Magic, Writing, and As the Poems go consider life as a writer. The short stories in the collection are also worthwhile additions to Bukowski’s legend. Pieces such as The Unaccommodating Universe looks at the life to be found in a bar, whilst Ransom looks at the kidnappers who cannot bear to bring harm to the rich man’s son they have. Bukowski wrote many novels, but to have a taste of idiosyncratic writing style and story telling, Betting on the Muse is a very good place to make a start.