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, January 22, 2011

When characters grab hold and won’t let go ... True Grit ... Bigger Balls ...


A few years back (when we still lived in Brooklyn), I read a book about life on a small island off the New England/New Hampshire coast. It was called Snow Island (by Katherine Towler). As it turns out, I had written the author after first reading this book (after my wife had read it and loved it). It was a wonderful read. Life interrupted my next read of Ms. Towler’s works until recently (I was working 7 days a week, training for dopey powerlifting meets and writing my own books). I recently applied and was accepted to an MFA program for June 2011 and thought I’d read some of the staff’s books. Not remembering the book, I purchased Snow Island (the first in the series) on kindle. I started discussing the book with Nurse Annie and she kept saying, “This sounds so familiar. I think I read this book.” I read some more and was thoroughly hooked, then brought up the author’s webpage and Ann Marie said, “I did read that book. It’s in the basement somewhere.”

I then read the second book, Evening Ferry, and found myself so engaged with the characters (from the first book), I couldn’t put it down. I was on the train coming home when I finished Evening Ferry and immediately ordered Island Light on my kindle. Then I made the mistake of starting to read it (I had intended to wait until Monday but will probably finish it before then) ... and was re-hooked (so to speak) all over again. These are wonderful characters I’ve come to have a relationship with (and it doesn’t get better than when a reader feels that way).

Snow Island deals with a young girl’s coming of age, her first love and disappointments, a man confronted with the ghosts of a tragic incident from his past (upon returning from WWI), the relationships between husbands and wives, the start of WWII and its effects on an island life cut off from the mainland except for a ferry. The book serves as a wonderful hook into the rest of the series (which spans a few generations of the island’s inhabitants and their relatives). Readers will quickly become involved with these characters, identifying with the problems they are confronted with in a culture of isolated island life ... where problems, big and small, aren't so different from those we all have to deal with.

Evening Ferry deals with another of the characters (a girl a few years younger than Alice from Snow Island) and her family, the weight religion can bring to bear on a woman feeling lost in life, down syndrome, a potentially taboo relationship, a journal left by a mother that is both enlightening and frightening and the Vietnam war. This story will glue readers to the characters even more so than the first and lead to the next book in the series with great anticipation.

Island Light has so far parlayed all that has come before the 1990’s ... but I’m still reading it so yous will have to wait.

But don’t wait to try the first one, Snow Island. It’s terrific.

True Grit ... onto a more depressing topic. The boss and I just saw the Coen Brothers’ remake of True Grit. It was excellent, a terrific remake and Jeff Bridges once again was extraordinary (the Dude playing the Duke with true, true grit). Matt Damon surprised me in this (his casting) but was his usual good self (convincing and not overdone) ... but the actor/actress who stole the show was Hailee Steinfeld. Truly terrific ...

So, if you and your smarter, better looking half liked it so much, what’s the issue, Knucks?

Bigger Balls ... I’ll tell yous what the issue was/is: The AMC theatre in our neighborhood (Menlo Park) is now a Diner-Theater, but ... and it is a BIG but ... there’s no option to go as formerly ripped off customers used to go (without having to pay an extra $10.00 for food/beverages whether you want them or not). Now the prices are: $10.00 per ticket per person per movie PLUS $10.00 for food and beverages ($20.00, whether you want them or not/use the $10.00 or lose the $10.00). Then they sit you in very comfortable chairs but ... (ready for another cost?) your food (popcorn, etc.) comes via waiters/waitresses so unless you’re a skinflint/cheap SOB, you need to tip them. I had started to walk out soon as I heard the scam at the ticket booth, but my wife said we had coupons so we used them, $35.00 worth, leaving us $5.00 short before we added anything “extra.”

So, thank you Hollywood ... for now making going to the movies absolutely obscene. How families are supposed to attend these theatres is beyond me (i.e., a family of four gets nailed for $80.00, whether they choose to use all the value of the shakedown or not). Whether it's producers who insist on making hundreds of millions per movie or actors who insist on $20 million per picture or whatever else goes into the obscene cost eventually dumped on the consumer, it/they deserve boycotting. Thank God for Foreign Films.

I made a promise to my wife (she loves going to the movies). That was my last one. I have no problem waiting for the DVDs of American movies I'll really have to want to see ... none whatsoever.