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).

Friday, July 9, 2010

The big heart of Texas ... Shakedown (the book) ... Salander ... No Mean City ... Kindle Man ... Hahvahd Math ...


A frustrated DOC hasn’t had his usual dose of picking on me and the President yet this weekend. Today he wrote me:

Hey Chaz,
No Friday Knucksline today?
Were you perhaps overserved last night with the Texas visitors?


The Texas Visitors ... they aren’t kidding when the talk about southern hospitality ... Michelle (The Godmother) Isler, her husband Tom and their son Nolan took us to dinner at the Grotta Azzurra last night (and bought me a big bottle of Chivas Regal) ... how do you repay people that generous? Well, we’ll have to keep trying via mail until they return and we can take them out. A wonderful time for us ... and it’s great when a writer can meet one of the 19 or so fans he has out there. That’s 19 NOT counting my Mom (who still refuses to read beyond chapter 8 of Johnny Porno). Oy vey ...

Shakedown Review ... one of the two very nice guys over at Men Reading Books have finished the Stella collection and he couldn’t be more generous with his review than if I slipped him a few free tickets to the World Cup (which I would’ve, if I still had a scalper in my pocket like the old fantasy connected days when my brats used to see Wrestling matches (including one Wrestlemania), baseball and football and operas and theatre on the arm). For the record, TK is rooting for the Netherlands because I almost knew who Johan Cruyff was when exchanging emails with East Coast Don Kirkendall (who’s written books about the sport and injuries and knows the history of the game like I know craps ... and that’s pretty good). On my first honeymoon, my brats' mom and I stayed with some of her family from Holland. We also visited Paris and Germany (a great trip). Terry’s great uncle, Uncle William, told me all about Cruyff (this was 1977) when the soccer super star was still playing and the radio was constantly playing a song about him.

But speaking of Wrestlemania ... it was #5 in Atlantic City and I took my daughter. We were at ringside behind a couple of fantasy wiseguys. I can't repeat what they said when Run DMC stepped in the ring for their Wrestlemania Rap (but it was funny at the time--you had to be there).

While in Little Italy last night we showed The Texas crew where I used to live on Grand Street (between Baxter & Mulberry) and described some of the scenes from Shakedown that were pretty for real -- it takes place in Little Italy. It was also where they filmed some of Donnie Brasco and the condo was in a few of the opening scenes ...

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ... okay, so yous are tired of this Stieg Larsson phenomena, but honestly, it keeps getting better. I’m HUGELY against paying movie ticket prices (because at least 60% of the time I’m sorely disappointed), but last weekend the Principessa Ann Marie and I drove to Summit, NJ (a beautiful town) to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the Swedish--original version) and we were very happy we went. Noomi Rapace (Salander) and Michael Nyquist (Blomkvist) were perfectly cast (and so was the rest of the cast) in this as close as it could get to the book-to-film production of the first of the Larsson Millennium Trilogy. The Swedes were smart with this baby and shot all three movies back to back to back ... number two (The Girl Who Played With Fire) is being released July 9th and we at Casa Stella can’t wait.

No Mean City ... Super Scottish author Russel McLean sent us a book about the mean streets of the Glasgow of yesteryear ... first published in 1935 and having sold more than 500,000 copies, No Mean City is part social commentary, part novel about a family (the Stark’s) brutalized by the economic and social realities of life in a slum. After having to deal with an abusively drunk father, the eldest Stark, Johnnie, fast makes his way to becoming the Razor King of his neighborhood (where his fighting prowess and ability to use two slashing razors earns him his nickname). The book follows Johnnie’s brutal life as a gangster, his younger brother Peter’s devastating flirtation with socialism and a friend of the family who’s become a dancer. Life in the slums of Glasgow slums is what Thomas Hobbes well termed (for the rest of us in the form of the state of nature): “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" and No Mean City does a convincing job of proving that out. I suspect life in any slum isn’t much different than that depicted in this dark tale of a Glasgow slum, but it is a compelling read about the random inequities of life reminding us all (you too DOC) that “there but for the grace of God ...”

Kindle … well, amici, I’ve gone and done it … bought a kindle and for all the same reasons everyone else has … storage space (our house is overflowing) … ease (it was a huge pain in the ass reading the 5 pound Larsson book (The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) on a crowded subway … and last but definitely not least, affordability. My amazon bill was running close to $140 a month (the 12-step program my wife put me on was NOT working) … so, we bought a kindle with the following stipulation. To wit, NO BOOK BUYING FOR AT LEAST 1 MONTH (I’m to use amazon’s free book selection to offset the cost of this thing—which was not the advertised $189 after getting a few accessories and the warranty—it was more like $303) …

Now, to be fair, I already bought 1 book after reading 2 freebees (a Dickens and a Kipling) … For $3.99 I bought Stendhal’s The Red and the Black), which I’m about finished with and thoroughly enjoying.

I suspect we’ll probably put the first four Stella books up there sooner or latter ... if we ever find the time to format the things.

Spygate … somehow this ratio, 10:4 was perceived as an “equal exchange” … we give the Russians 10 of their spies and we get back 4 of ours.

Now I understand President Fredo’s trust in BP … the kid forget to take a FOCKING MATH CLASS while at Hahvahd!

Fredo = A DOC Nyland trademark declared by Temporary Knucksline. Yeah, it’s that funny and let's face it, way too damn accurate.

Midnight at the Oasis ...