Gamache Series Open Discussion

Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

Paul Hochman

Discussion on “Gamache Series Open Discussion

  1. Anna says:

    Hi everyone. Home from Whistler….sadly. We had a great time.

    I haven’t seen Louise’s interview yet. Not sure if I can watch it just at the moment. It cuts a little close to home.

    I hope everyone one the East Coast is ok as we see the blizzard reports. It is even going down as far as Washington. Take care everyone.it is cool and wet here which has eased our transition back to summer.

    Great news from Paul about the next book title. The Nature of The Beast? Another exploration of the heart of evil or something gentler? We often use the phrase to say “it’s just the way things are.”

  2. Kim B says:

    It looks like Paul beat a lot of us in our wish to spread the news. I love the title…is it Ruth’s story? Somehow, I think that would be too easy. Let the countdown begin!

  3. Anna says:

    What a plan Lizzy. Stay safe and enjoy the book!

    Interesting thought Kim, Ruth’s story?? That is one we are keen to hear.

  4. Cathryne Spencer says:

    So delighted to hear the title of the new book. I love it and I’m enjoying speculating on the meaning(s) and reading the thoughts of others. I’ve been spending some time in the Bistro with you, friends, at critical moments lately, like in the emergency room with my 90 year old mom for 6 hours last Sunday night. It made such a difference. I tried to channel Emergency Room Louise Penny, too, and positively influence the situation, so hard! Nice, nice patients and medical personnel around us, though, who were kind and attentive to my mom and me, strangers in a strange land. Mom is back home and better.
    I visited the Bistro again on another night this week, a happy night. I spent the night with my darling granddaughter and grandson so their mom and dad could have a night away. As I lay in bed with the little ones cozily asleep, one in a crib and one in a little bed, I sleepily visited the Bistro to savor my happiness with hot chocolate and a warm fire and friends who understand what happens to muscles when Grandmas dance and dance with 2 and 4 year olds!
    Best wishes to all as we navigate this winter and look forward to August and our new story fix.

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      Cathryne, Sorry to hear about your Mother. I remember the frantic helpless feeling that engulfs us in ER situations. Glad your Mother is better. Dancing with the grandchildren.. makes me smile and warms my heart. I think I miss grandchildren more than I did children. I don’t work on my genealogy any more as there is no one to give the info to. Well, a second cousin might be interested in Daddy’s line but I think not.
      Yes, the Bistro is comforting. I often go there and re-read old postings when I need to connect.
      Good thought to you and your Mother.

  5. Anna says:

    Hi Catherine. Sorry to hear your Mum wasn’t well. It is no fun spending time in Emergency Rooms. Wish you had posted then. I would have sent lots of positive thoughts! Sending them now and hoping your mum is much better. You have had a busy week with your mum on one hand and dancing with the grandchildren on the other! Glad you came to share that with us.

    It’s lovely how The Bistro has become our place or respite and recuperation. It’s never empty as we are all there in spirit even when we are battling the challenges of the real world. It has become the mental and spiritual place to nurture us through the day.

    I spend many nights by the Bistro fire even when it’s 38 deg C outside!

  6. Anna says:

    I did watch Louise’s interview. Yes I cried but it was also very uplifting.

  7. Julie says:

    Cathryne, I’m so sorry that your visit last week was one of needing succor, but so glad you found it here. And glad, also, that it’s where you came to celebrate, as well! I ‘m happy your mom is doing better, and is back home again. I’m sure that’s a welcome event! And how fun to dance the afternoon away with little ones, then rest up for tomorrow’s challenges by the Bistro fire! I’m quite sure the fire will be there to warm us no matter our challenges and triumphs!

    Anna – yes, I cried, too, but smiled through the tears. Louise has found such a wonderful way to honor Michael and what they have together, by celebrating what’s good about life. I wish had half her grace.

  8. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    The Nature of the Beast. Can’t wait to learn who the “Beast” is. LP said most of the book will take place in Three Pines. Sounds great. Glad the audio books will continue. Ralph Cosham was absolutely wonderful. I enjoyed Bury Your Dead so much and kept the recording for the maximum time allowed. Winnie trying to speak French was priceless. I sometimes think the night is a strawberry as she said in French. I felt the fear of the English Community in Quebec as I listened to the words. We learned about the disenfranchisement of the French in an earlier book and the English fear that this will come around to them in Bury your Dead.
    The Peter Robinson books are keeping me busy. Oh Sylvia, I’m now reading Cold is the Grave where Dirty Dick Burgess appears again. He first showed up in the third book, I think. The thought of him falling in the canal in Amsterdam and squishing as he walked through the hotel lobby was hilarious. Alan Banks is a good detective but more and more flawed.
    Just heard on the News….Harper Lee is publishing her second novel..55 years after To Kill A Mockingbird the newscaster announced. Go Set A Watchman is the title. The book was written before To Kill A Mockingbird but takes place 20 years later. It features a grown Scout and will come out in July.
    AUGUST is our month though.
    Good Thoughts to all.

  9. Anna says:

    You beat me Barbara. I was going to let you know about Harper Lee. Something to keep us interested while we wait.

    Has anyone read “Elizabeth is Missing”? I can’t because the main character has dementia and I find that a bit hard but my daughter read it and enjoyed. She found it a little sad in parts and funny in others. She was asking me about the ending but I can’t help unless I read the book.

  10. Nancy Miller says:

    Are you all reading Louise’s daily blog? I LOVE it and it does help until we get the next book. Today she’s having trouble with the dryer. Be sure to take in the “helpful” comments from readers. Obviously her readers have a wonderful sense of humor. Makes my day.

    Oh yes. I don’t know if I mentioned it before or not but I like Steven F. Havill books…especially his Posadas County series (think western setting, small police department and interesting characters). I’m going to start a re-read since I just found out that he has #20 coming out in April. Hope you will check it out. (The first one is called Heartshot and may be hard to find in libraries but easy to find on Amazon or other such places.)

  11. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Nancy, I just requested Heartshot from the library. There were 2 copies available locally and 8 statewide. I just might have another LONG series to read…19 already.
    I read LP’s postings everyday too. I once had a “possessed” washer. Found it sitting in the middle of the little laundry room. Funny now not so much then.
    Anna, Saw a review on Elizabeth Is Missing, but won’t be reading it. Too close for me I fear. My mother-in-law now knows no one and doesn’t really talk. Recently, another member of our Church group was admitted to a nursing home with dementia.
    Speculation on Harper Lee’s mental condition is in newspaper and on internet. Some feel she is not making statements attributed to her. They fear some form of manipulation. I hope not.
    I wonder if anyone else is as fond of newspaper comics as I am. 9 Chickweed Lane, Pajama Diaries, The Dinette Set, Frazz and Overboard are favs although I read other too. Some are not in the local paper but I read them 0n G0C0mics.com. We weren’t allowed comic books or movie magazines as children. I read a friend’s . One of the movie magazines was Silver Screen. It’s odd that newspapers and all the magazines our parents read were fine for us to read as were any books from the library but no comic books. Did anyone else read comic books/movie mags?
    My, I seem to be off and running today. The doldrums have hopefully gone for now.

    • Nancy Miller says:

      Interesting about the comics. I don’t know the ones you mention but I do like Shoe and a few older ones. I tend to collect miscellaneous cartoons that strike my fancy and once started a scrapbook with them. I love the Peanuts ones, especially Snoopy. His WWII flying ones are great (I got a pilot’s license many years ago which is why the Loon in Shoe is also a favorite). I also worked for a children’s book publisher…no longer in business…and was the one who sent out those letters no one likes to receive. Sooo I loved Snoopy’s series on writing and have saved many of them. Charles Shultz had such an amazing sense of humor. I’m very disappointed in our paper’s comics. Guess I should figure out how to get the good ones on line but haven’t done that yet. Good comics help to lighten the day.

  12. Julie says:

    Barbara, it was nice to see such a nice, long note today! I have added Pajama Diaries to my daily comics that I get – I get about 30 delivered to my inbox every day – our local newspaper kept dropping comics we like for newer ones that I suspect didn’t cost as much, so I started getting the ones I like online, then they dropped a few other things and started charging extra for the TV guide, and finally, we just gave up the paper altogether. I can get my crossword puzzles, and all the comics, Dear Abbey, etc., and of course, news abounds online. It’s too bad – we kept up our subscription for at least two years after they no longer really had anything we wanted, but the inevitable drops in quality finally told us that we didn’t need to be there for the last gasp. Too bad, but there it is.

    I also just downloaded Heartshot to my Kindle, Nancy. Anyone else with a Kindle or the app, it’s just 99 cents – a really easy way to dip your toe in the waters to try out an author new to you.

    Mostly what I’ve been reading lately are what are called Fan Fiction books based on Jane Austen’s writing. Having left only 6 full novels for us to love, but myriads of stories and characters we wonder about, it seems natural to keep telling their stories… some are just awful, but many are really very inventive and ingenious. Keeps me on my toes – I often have to go back to Austen to see if she really did write anything that would suggest such a thing. I’m here to tell you that she NEVER wrote anything about zombies or sea monsters, hahaha.

    I’m thinking of starting a new re-read of Louise’s books, in readiness for the August release. I probably need a little more than the two weeks we took last time, as I’m a slow reader – I only read before bed, and sometimes don’t get much more than a few pages in before I drop off. I’m going to give myself a month for each, and then go back and re-read our comments, too. I have just one more big book that I’m working on now, and then I’ll start.

    • Nancy Miller says:

      Julie, I’m so glad you and Barbara are going to be reading Heartshot. If you were nearby you would be welcome to borrow the others from me. I have them all so I can re-read whenever I feel like it. Anybody near Montreal??

      • Barbara H. Johnson says:

        Heartshot just came. I’m looking forward to reading it.
        A little far from Montreal–Georgia– to borrow books.LOL

  13. Anna says:

    Good idea about the reread Julie. Here are the questions I had in mind when I went back to book one again.

    Now that you “know” Gamache and the other characters so much better, in what ways are they different for you in the first book on rereading?

    Are there any clues in the first book to the ongoing story arc that you didn’t pick up on the first time?

    What attracts you to the book as you start on the first page?

    Barbara..I couldn’t read about dementia either. It really is too close to home. Maybe comics are the way to go. I rarely read a paper any more but like there, the comics kept changing from good ones to ones that didn’t interest me. The Japanese write “comic books” for all ages. Manga are more graphic novels. My daughter enjoys some of them but they are not comics as we might imagine. Some are very dark and adult!

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      The questions you suggested give a good opportunity for discussion. I know I won’t do a complete re-read. I’ll probably read parts of all the books.

  14. Anna says:

    In strange synchronicity re comics, they had an item on our news talking about comics disappearing from the newspapers. And yet there is still demand online as Barbara and Julie mentioned. A famous Australian comic which is 75 years old, not the original artist obviously, is Ginger Meggs which is growing in distribution as it is now available in America. The artist producing it is now based in NY. Cute comic by the way. You might like it Barbara.

    Julie, fan fic is big with kids my daughters age. Some of her friends contribute stories to web sites. I read the Vampire version of Pride and Prejudice, or was it zombie. I remember it was funny! Wonder what Jane Austen would think??

    • Julie says:

      Anna, I often wonder what Jane would make of this whole Janeite thing! I was at a meeting yesterday, which, if she could see it, she’d have been mystified, I’m sure. A whole bunch of us crowded into a room much too small to hear a lecture on political elections in Jane Austen’s time, specifically, the 1783 election run-0ff between William Pitt the Younger and Charles James Fox. Then we got up, took all the chairs out of the room again, and had a stand-up tea party, hahahaha.

      As for the fan fic, I sometimes think she would understand that any publicity is good publicity, hahaha.

      • Anna says:

        That sounds very cool Julie and I think it would all appeal to Jane Austen. She would applaud any imaginative undertaking especially when carried off with strength and intelligence. From my reading of her work, strong smart women are to be praised. I wonder what she would be today…in addition to an author? I think she would love the opportunities life presents to women today and she would use that freedom to keep shaking those stereotypes!

        • Julie says:

          I think that’s right, Anna – she would appreciate so many people finding their creative selves by continuing the stories she “started”. But I also can’t help thinking that for those who have really made a career of it – that they are unnecessarily constricting themselves to just 6 stories…. and really, at least 80% of all the fan fic is based on Pride and Prejudice!

          That’s interesting to think what else she might have been, in addition to a writer. Of course, almost everything “known” about her apart from the bare bones facts of where and when she was born and lived, is conjecture, because so much of her personal life has been interpreted through the eyes of a very Victorian gentleman – her nephew, who wanted to make her appear to be demure and sweet. Even the “portrait” of her was done based on a sketch by her sister,

          http://janeaustensworld.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/jane-austen-by-cassandra-austen.jpg

          and it was “sweetened up by a Victorian artist”. When I think of her, I think of the other
          drawing done by her sister, in which she is staring off into the distance and we can’t see her face. I find it much the more evocative image.

          http://www.elegantwoman.org/images/JaneAustenCassandraWatercolour.jpg

      • Barbara H. Johnson says:

        Sounds like your meeting was great fun. Most of the book clubs and book discussions here are anything but fun and informative. I have been debating suggesting a book club at one of the local branch libraries. I think it might involve more work than I want to do at this time.

  15. Anna says:

    Definitely staring off into space Julie! Thinking, imagining, planning….an active mind at work.

    Isn’t it interesting that Pride and Prejudice is the main pivot for fan fiction. It was always my favourite although I didn’t really get it or enjoy it the first time I read it for school. The second time I was able to appreciate the humour and intelligence.

    I thought about a bookclub too Barbara after the fun I have had here but the workload is not attractive and I remember a bookclub a friend started….it wasn’t that much fun. The books were often ones I didn’t have a desire to read. While I agree it is good to stretch our envelope, life is too busy right now for doing anything remotely drudge like. I have enough of that! It is a different prospect delving into books we really enjoy and that we are passionate about.

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