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).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Book Review … 2 Series Reviews … TK’s NFL Preview (Part I) … Amazon vs. Hatchette …


Fallen, by Mike Hancock … SNHU MFA grads keep turning them out and this week I was fortunate enough to forget my kindle at work the night before I had a back spasm and had to take 2 days off to recover. Fortunate as regards what I had to read in the interim. I had been reading William Styron’s, Lie Down in Darkness, a very fine read overloaded with some of the wordiest passages I’ve yet to come across. I’m no fan of sentences that go on for 3 paragraphs, a page and sometimes two pages (okay, so I’m exaggerating a little, stay with me on this) … the story behind Styron’s book is a good one and I’ll review it next week, but once I picked up Fallen, I had simultaneous tales being told; one based on historical sources, the other a current piece of fiction.

The background to Fallen includes the Marias Massacre (from Wiki): a massacre of a friendly band of Piegan Blackfeet Indians on January 23, 1870 by the United States Army in Montana Territory during the Indian Wars. About 200 Indians were killed, mostly women and children, and elderly men. In Fallen, a Native American father and son, along with some of their tribe, survive the massacre and their story is told alongside (chapter by chapter) the current day coming of age of a boy dealing with an abusive father (and all the offshoots of that relationship as regards his mother and grandfather). I prefer historical fiction when it’s done well and this one sure is.

No spoilers here, but you’ll be surprised along the way. I sure was.

And wouldn’t it be nice if at least some of the knuckleheads in the Tea Party acknowledged the fact that “taking back their country” would actually involve giving it back to those who were here first … but that’d be like asking for the same knuckleheads to abandon their belief that America is an actual democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people ... rather than the oligarchy it has actually become (and that’s me being very kind to the founding fathers).

Anyway, Fallen is recommended reading. Get it here:

Masters of Sex ... I channel surfed on this Showtime series and was pretty stunned by the subject matter. No, I haven’t become a puritanical fire and brimstone, born again, psycho (those people are very scary). I simply didn’t like the title and kind of avoided it while watching The Killing and a few others. It was a season 2 episode I surfed into and I was intrigued with a 1956 discussion of homosexuality. “Wow,” I said. “This is good.”

And so we started watching from season 1/episode and we both came to this conclusion: “Wow, this is great.”

We’re all caught up now … and it’s interesting to see how the progression of the show and its characters move in time. Of course now that we’re caught up, we’ll have to deal with keeping our eyes open after the season ends, because we don’t like the week-to-week stuff. We prefer marathon sessions on days when we need to sit back and watch.

Bottom line: We think it’s an important show for any number of reasons: women’s rights, feminism, exposing the absurd attempts to “cure” homosexuality, and so on …

Generation War … one from Germany about friends and soldiers in (and out) of the German Wehrmacht during World War II … it’s difficult to ever feel sympathy toward soldiers in the German army, but this one tries … maybe too hard. I think it’s worth watching all 4 episodes just to decide for oneself. It was a huge hit in Germany and not so much in Poland (due to the anti-Semitism Polish partisans were portrayed as having). The NY Times had an interesting review (read it here:). I was glad I watched it and I’m still not sure how I felt about it, but the Principessa did not partake.

Temporary Knucksline’s NFL Preview …

Come on, admit it, this is what yous were all waiting for … to see what Knucks is picking and make a fortune going the other way!

Okay, so let’s start with the AFC Beast, where Robert Kraft continues his stranglehold on a conference in dire need of another contender for the ultimate pretender crown.

The New England Choketriots should have little problem repeating as Division Chumpions, but let’s face it, there isn’t much in the way of true competition. This year they have Gronk back and they’ve beefed up their defense (again) … but going 10-6 or 11-5 or 12-4 has proved more than fruitless the last several years. In fact, you’d have to go back to their cheating ways to find any success at all. They’ll probably win the division sometime in December again, but the Moonachie Dog Killers may well give them a surprise a time or two. Finish: 11-5 and then 1 and done … again.

The Moonachie Green Dog Killers … you hire Michael Vick, you’re a dog killer, end of story. They have a solid defense again … and this year Gino Smith will have some weapons to work with, but bringing Vick into the mix will ultimately prove another Woody Johnson disaster (remember Mr. Tebow?) … Yets fans aren’t very patient. And lord knows, they’re hungry for a winner again. Rex Ryan may save his job yet again, but unless they remain healthy and sane (i.e., let Gino continue to mature and develop), they’ll be another also ran. Finish: 9-7 and maybe 1 or 2 before they’re home watching on the couch.

My Beloved New York State Buffalo Bills … we have a defense … we always have a defense … even when we lose superstars like Jaris Byrd and Kiko Alonzo (one because we’re cheap, the other because he blew out his knee), but our offense should be considerably better this year. Everything depends on whether or not we allow E.J. Manuel to play and not keep sitting him every time he gets a hang nail. I think our usual 6-8 is a lock, but we may surprise and win 7 or 8 this season. We shall see. Finish: 7-9 … improvement before they move to London?

The Miami Dolphinations … there’s no way they recover from last year’s fiasco with allegations of abuse within their offensive line. Reggie Bush is still a bust, I don’t care what anybody says. They’ll take one giant step backward, even with a fine young QB in Tannehill, but they’ll be fortunate to win 7 games this season. Finish: 7-9 and then it's so long coach Philbin.

Next week one of the other AFC Divisions … I’ll let yous know.


As the publishing world goes to war (see Hachette vs. Amazon), authors should be remembering one thing. We’re the workers … and any battle between corporations isn’t exactly going to be in our best interests. In fact, we’re the last people in any equation that involves profit. As an author with books on both sides of the fight; one upcoming with Hachette and several with amazon, I have no interest in anything that increases corporate positions of power over workers (Citizens United did enough of that all on its own). To that end, right now Amazon does far more for the vast majority of authors out there, both traditionally published and those uploading whatever they write. They may well become the monster they are feared, and at that point they may well shit all over authors the way the big guys have in the past, but until we live in a society where workers are paid their actual worth versus manipulated markets (there’s no such thing as a free market), I’ll take what I can get from those who do the most for me while I’m alive (figure another dozen years at best).

And then who the hell will root for my London Bills?