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, June 26, 2009

Reviews … Directions …


Reviews … let’s start with Fred Exley’s, A Fan's Notes, a fictional memoir believed to be a confession by the author. I first read the biography on Exley (Misfit, by Jonathan Yardley) because another author had high regards for the memoir. The book is also listed on several “best of lists” (including Playboy’s top 20 books every male should read) and since one of my brats renews my Playboy subscription on a yearly basis (it’s cheaper than a box of cigars), I picked up that bit of info after I’d already started on the biography. A Fan’s Notes is absolutely masterfully written but I had a very difficult time equating the confession aspect of it with the author (based on the bio). He wasn’t a pleasant man to be around, it seemed and I had a hard time ignoring the pain he apparently caused others for the brilliance of his writing.

Exley was an alcoholic with father issues (at the least), but also an extremely talented writer who knew his place (that it wasn’t in the everyday mainstream America he sought fame from). A Fan’s Notes deals with Exley’s several stays in mental hospitals as well as his alcoholic binging and perhaps most poignantly, his recognition that he “would always be a fan ... watching from the sidelines” (and not the star). The author brings us through the book alongside his growing passion with the New York Giants football team (before they were the Moonachie Giants football team) and Frank Gifford. He lives and dies with the Giants and Gifford and comes to terms with life by their successes and failures. He utters a great line I know I’ve heard before … lord knows I heard this one (but never understood its genesis before): “Listen, you, life isn't always a football game … Life is rejection and pain and loss.” Exley even covers the Chuck Bednarik hit on Gifford that put him to sleep and nearly ended his career (it certainly shortened Gifford's career).

No spoilers necessary … it’s a wonderful book (A Fan’s Notes) but I’d be interested in hearing from yous on what you thought of both that memoir and the biography of the author (Misfit). How does one reconcile one with the other?

Doubt … good drama is tough to come by unless you’re dealing with John Patrick Shanley. The boss and I finally took a look-see (because it was available for $4.99 on pay-per-view) at the movie Doubt. Any concerns about Meryl Streep losing some of her acting chops have to be dropped after this performance. Likewise, Richard Seymour Hoffman was also wonderful … as was the entire cast. Great stuff that will leave you just as baffled at the end as you are at the start. A definite must see.

Our Man in Havana … Graham Greene’s hilarious spy-thriller about a vacuum cleaning salesman living in Havana with his precocious daughter (his wife has left him). The corrupt Battista government is about to go under and the rest of the world waits in anticipation … except there are spies being recruited willy-nilly and our protagonist has reluctantly become one of them. No spoilers here. We just ordered the movie with Alec Guinness, Burl Ives and Maureen O'Hara from NetFlix but yous should definitely read the book first. Absolutely hilarious.

Muddy Waters (The Johnny Winter Sessions 1976-1981) … this is a classic blues album that begins with Mannish Boy and scorches through I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man, Who Do You Trust, I'm a King Bee, Champagne & Reefer and Baby Please Don't Go (there are a total of 19 cuts on the album). How do you not like Muddy Waters ... or Johnny Winters.

DW Drums … hey, what can I say, I love them … and my new rack tom (9 x 13) with dual stand (cymbal and tom)/the 21” Zildjian Armand Ride has arrived in Texas at Cymbal Fusion (the best music store I’ve ever dealt with and I’ve owned at least 5 drum kits over my 53 years) and all will be on their way to Casa Stella via FedEx later today. My babies are ruby glass/jazz series … forgetaboutit … gorgeous drums.

Directions to Casa Stella (for July 18th barbecue) … write me an email for the specifics at … or punch in the following address in Google/Expedia, etc. in the meantime:

34 Hornsby Street
Fords, NJ 08863

We’ve begun work here at Knucksline on the special Canarsie feature … it’ll be coming soon (figure 2 weeks or so). Canarsie is the ugly one’s hometown …

In the meantime, amici, yous have a good (and SAFE) weekend.