Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bookgasm on Johnny Porno ... A View from the Bridge ... $100 a day ... Book club? ... KO and Dowd ... DOC says ...


Bookgasm Reviews Johnny Porno ...

Stark House Press has branched out from reissues to put out a brand-new book by Charlie Stella. JOHNNY PORNO is a total throwback to the crime beat of the 1970s, using the idea of the mob’s involvement with the distribution of one of the most notorious porn movies ever made: DEEP THROAT. At the time, it was the center of a major court ruling and embraced as chic by Hollywood.

Stella explains in his introduction the impetus of the novel came to him after watching the documentary INSIDE DEEP THROAT, which delves into all the ins and outs of the film’s production and cultural influence. For his plot, he borrows the fact of how the mob took control of the film and its prints. The main character is John Albano, renamed by one of his contacts as Johnny Porno, since it’s his job to drive all around Long Island, picking up money and counting heads at the showings of the flick.

John knows full well this is a soul-sucking job, but he continues on, since his predecessor tried to cheat his bosses out of some money and wound up dead. John has a son he wants to see as much as possible, which is kind of hard since he owes money to his ex-wife, Nancy, and his hours are not what you would call stable.

Plenty of other characters play important roles in the various subplots. The best comparison that can be made is to the works of George V. Higgins. It helps that Stella seems to be a fan of THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, since both the film and book play into part of the story. Stella not only focuses on John’s life as a pick-up man for the mob, but also a group of detectives trying to bust anyone showing DEEP THROAT, and that 1970s staple of a detective on the take. Then there are the men in Nancy’s life. Her first husband comes back with a great scheme for some easy money, while her current man seems way too good for her.

Stella has fun with DEEP THROAT throughout the book, including the idea to sell fake autographed panties or pointing out that star Linda Lovelace was not what you would call a looker. The author also has a sort of off-the-page cameo from the director of the film, and even brings up the other big porno of the time, starring that Ivory Snow girl.

I’d rather not get any further into plot specifics, but the book is so well-crafted and well-paced that it’s going to make more than a few best-of lists when the time comes. Stella never goes for the cheap outs, letting these characters develop over the course of his story. Not only is it a throwback to the 1970s generation, but one that blows away most set in the present day. —Bruce Grossman (Bookgasm)

A View from the Bridge ... Arthur Miller remains my favorite American dramatist and this particular play I saw a few years back when Anthony Paglia starred in it on Broadway (I think the cost of two tickets back then was less than our monthly mortgage today, but today’s prices rivals it for sure). Miller’s tough and gritty drama about a man who can’t let go of his niece and a niece reluctant to do the same to her uncle, Italian immigrants, the Brooklyn waterfront, the immigration department, the things between husbands and wives and ultimately, snitching, remains one of my favorite Miller pieces (Death of a Salesman retains the title). I read A View twice in the last few weeks and I’m still bowled over by the power in this play. Highly recommended should you ever have the chance to see it without having to give blood (or your first born) to do so.

What you do, read it first, see it second and read it again afterward. It’ll be at least twice as powerful.

$100 a day ... no, not what the American Dream has become; the American Dream remains Mega Lotto (what all our hard work leave us with--pipe dreams). This $100 a day, according to Michael Moore, is the penalty insurance companies will have to pay if they refuse pre-existing conditions. In other words, your cancer care, say, might cost $500,000.00 for a year, but as far as insurance companies are concerned, if they ignore it, it’ll cost them exactly $36,500.00, except in leap year. Then it skyrockets to $36,600.00 Was this really the best the Democratic Party could do for America?

The Manhattan Chapter of the Greater Northeast Regional Book Club Association ... I’m a member and it’s an excellent book club. Last week we discussed The Siege of Krishnapure (reviewed here) ... 3 of the 400 members, that is. Two of us actually read the entire book. The third didn’t make it to the end. This sounds like something DOC would like for sure; a book club where you don’t have to read the books to meet over a few beers.

Keitho’s new low ...
attacking Laura Bush because of her explanation about a tragic car crash she had when a teenager. Unbelievable. I’m sure to Keith and his faithful, Mrs. Bush, being a Republican, was not only guilty of whatever would make her criminally negligent of vehicular homicide, she probably was trying to kill someone that night. And this is why I turn off MSNBC the same way I refuse to listen to FOX.

I remember when Tim Russert passed and Keitho shed some major league fugazy tears. I wonder if he did the same for the "Lion of the Senate" (a.k.a., the drunk responsible for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne {July 26, 1940 – July 18, 1969} who also saw it fit to call his lawyer before the police and/or EMS). Keitho loves to dig deep into Republican scandal, but must have selective memory regarding how the Kennedy clan came to power. What a dick.

Some of yous are right, me and DOC should do the focking news.

As for the arrogance of Goldman Sachs/Wall Sreet, Maureen Dowd said it all here ... Like we said in the previous post regarding Government Sachs ... RICO ... tailor made for corrupt organizations.


And the DOC says ...

Oh, Chaz,

So “Bookgasm” likes your book. That’s great. I’m pretty sure I have told you before, when you write your own book reviews make up a prestigious name. That review would carry a lot more weight if it was from “Prince Edward’s Literary Circle” or “Ashton by the Sea, University of the Arts”.

For someone who doesn’t watch Keith Olberman you certainly seem to have a lot of first hand information. Wasn’t he the guy who came up with the “Teabagger” insult for Tea Party members. Well, I guess if I wanted to know about teabagging, Keith would be the guy I would ask. And you tell me he attacked Laura Bush? (Because I actually don’t watch Keith. I don’t just say I don’t watch him.) Laura is like Mary Poppins without the singing and dancing. Then again, you probably have more readers than Keith has viewers.

Now, in the same blog you have quoted Keith Olberman and Maureen Dowd. Why don’t you put on a fetching little sundress and go frolicking about the park.

The Manhattan Chapter of the Greater Northeast Regional Book Club Association ...

Geez, Chaz, does it have a Committee of Redundancy Committee?

So .5% of the members actually read the assigned book. Could it be that you have a lot of members who like to talk about the “Book Club” that they belong to, but can’t stand all that freaking reading? I’ve heard rumors that some book clubs read books like “The Da Vinci Code”. You know, books that people have actually heard of. Why must you pick books that were obscure 37 years ago? Any time I try to buy some book you have recommended I find myself in a dusty, old, black and white, bookstore with bells on the door and Rod Serling is smoking a cigarette and holding the only copy of the very book you suggested.

Contractual Political Commentary Obligation:

So Fredo says there is a certain point when people have made enough money.
What would that point be? A million?
What do you do when you hit that point?
Maybe Bill Gates should work January 1st from 9am till lunch and then take a 364 day coffee break.

Fredo made $5.5 million last year.

By rights he should take the next 4 years off. That might put Jimmy Carter back in the winner’s circle.

Huzzah they shouted and chortled with glee.

Have a great weekend, Bluto