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:

    Awesome we are all still here a year down the track. Thank you Paul. And Louise who keeps us coming back.

  2. Millie says:

    I watched a show called Star Talk with my 96 year old neighbor hosted by astrophysicist deGrass Tyson the other day. He asked a think tank to calculate how much $ would it take to create a ‘Starship Enterprise’ (the first starship in the 1960’s short lived series Star Trek) with today’s technology. Their answer was “what is spent in only a year and a half in only the United States’ annual military budget.

    That made me angry, because the budget NASA and therefor Boeing receives is a pittance. The needs of space program produced microwave ovans, Velcro, dehydrated drinks and food ( I’m old enough to remember the TV ads for “Tang, the drink of astronauts”… There are so many examples it boggles the mind.

  3. Anna says:

    We had Tang!

  4. Millie says:

    I used to love Tang! :-)
    This is why an astrophysicist was talking about an old science FICTION show: He is of the belief that good fiction spurs the imagination of the scientists and engineers to manifest into our reality what was dreamt of by good writers. He believes we now have things like doors that open automatically when you stand in front of them, tiny cell phones which morphed into smart phones and hand held tablets and that man did indeed walk on the moon and so much more because shows like Star Trek, which was ahead of its time, existed. Furthermore, in all its iterations, that show, in which the writers drew upon great works of fiction, showed an Earth which had become united as a planet and had solved all of mankind’s basic needs of shelter, food, etc.

    He also was saddened that the most popular science fiction today is post-apocalyptic, and encouraged writers to believe and write about a better world. I immediately thought of what we love about Louise’s books. Sure, there’s a murder to be solved, but that’s not the core of what we love. The Villagers are good to each other, they set the bar higher for us to emulate. I may only have walked across the street, not a Village Green, but I described my neighbor as ‘my Ruth’! Only she has cats, not a duck, and she doesn’t drink. But she leaves food out for the neighborhood raccoon! I may not own a bookstore but I shared a book. Would I have thought of doing that without the Three Pines example of what’s it like to be a good neighbor? I doubt it…

    The same holds true for Anna’s book. Thank you both for such uplifting examples to emulate.

  5. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    We watch deGrass Tyson on Cosmos. He is awesome. Great program.
    Star Trek and Tang. Good memories.

  6. Millie says:

    Barbara, Cosmos… Incredible show. My neighbor and I can grasp the general concepts of physics but not the mathematics so we make a perfect pair. It seems he has another show! It’s on the National Geographic channel, of all places. It’s called Star Talk. She saw a write up about the show in The New York Times and invited me over to watch with her. If you have ‘on Demand’ look for it. It came on here on Monday at 11pm. But she found it’s available to watch at any time. She’s going to save them to watch together when I return. If you like him, you may like this show too. I hope you can find it. Good memories indeed.

    Oh, did I mention I’m off again to CA next week? Going to celebrate my Godmother’s 90th Birthday with as many family members as can go. A happy trip rather than yet another funeral! I’m in constant awe of my husband’s graciousness in facilitating my travel. Every once in a while I sing to him a few lines from The Sound of Music; “Sometime when I was little, I must have done something good.” He just smiles and says I’m still little. :-D

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      Star Talk comes on at 11PM here too. I’ll record it on Mon. On Demand on WOW ( our cable) doesn’t carry Star Time. I’ll try Comcast at my Sister’s tomorrow. Tyson is correct that Star Trek was a catalyst for discoveries. We saw a program on that also. Your post on the cost to build an Enterprise was on point. Even the waste in our nation could probably supply enough money.
      All of the post-apocalyptic TV shows as well as movies and books mystify me. I find the idea repulsive and disrespectful of our deceased loved ones. The Dead definitely do not RIP on those programs. I have always enjoyed vampire lore however. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a favorite program.

      • Julie says:

        Buffy was a favorite for me, too, Barbara! I think it’s because the show really did tackle the bigger question of good and evil, though in a thoroughly entertaining way. These new shows “The Walking Dead”, etc. are just depressing, if you ask me.

        Loving the Star Trek talk and the idea that the imagination of someone who was “just” writing fiction dreamed up so many things that have come to pass. Reminds me of my favorite TV show right now – “The Big Bang Theory” – there was one show where the guys all got together to try to invent Marty’s Hoverboard from “Back to the Future”. I think there must be rooms full of nerds everywhere doing such things, and how interesting it would be to be a part of that. I often watch that show and think what fun they have because they still play so many games and take so much fiction seriously. I think it makes them very interesting people. WAY more credit given to a little TV show, I guess, but I often think that they’re doing a good thing for young people.

        I remember Tang and Sputnik and Tel-Star very fondly. It seemed a much more hopeful time. Just a few years later, the Vietnam war seemed to be all the news talked about, and I feel like that was the beginning of a long, slow decline…

        • Barbara H. Johnson says:

          We watch Big Bang Theory every week and the nightly reruns sometimes. We are always sure to set the recorder if we will be out during the new shows. Scientists arguing about fictional Super Heroes is a welcome relief from the daily headlines.

          • Julie says:

            It is, isn’t it? Neil deGrasse Tyson was on Jon Stewart the other day to plug Star Talk (which I found on my On Demand, yay!) and they were talking about whether or not Superman would kick Batman’s butt! Maybe that’s really what they talk about, hahaha.

  7. Anna says:

    Big day has ended with massive storm and huge hail. My sister was under tornado watch in Dallas and I see there have been a number of storms and tornados in Southern Us. Hope you are all safe.
    We had a lovely time as Guests of Honour. Lots of nice people.
    I will read everything Millie and Barbara have written. Nice to see everyone chatting.

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      Our local paper covered some of the Anzac Day programs yesterday and today (Sat. and Sun.). Thanks to the internet I was able to see many more. Thankfully, as far as I know, all the observances were free of terrorism.
      The link to The Band Played Waltzing Matilda started me on a nostalgic journey. Hubby and I really liked the version by Pough (?). I can’t look up the spelling or I’ll loose this post. I just had to listen to Joan Baez’s rendition which sent me to may of her other songs. As I have mentioned, I was opposed to the Vietnam War but would not demonstrate because our flag was often desecrated by protestors. I played records of protest music every night after work so I was taken back to those days for a while.

  8. Anna says:

    Nice you could see some of the coverage Barbara. Yes, terrorism free thank goodness. There was concern, especially in Melbourne, as a plot was foiled earlier in the week. The response was for more people than ever to attend services! Of course, as it was the centenary, there was going to be more people but most places reached capacity. I don’t know if it is on YouTube but there was a great service at Currumbin in Queensland on the beach.
    The important thing about war is to remember that the act of war is a political one while fighting it is left to others.

  9. Anna says:

    I was rewa Ching some of Louise’s interviews. I was interested to see that the conclusion of the story arc for HTLGI was known to her from the writing of the Brutal Telling. I don’t think we could have preempted what happened from reading the preceding books. She is a clever lady. And still so much snow in her part of Canada!

  10. Anna says:


  11. Jan says:

    Millie and Julie, had to do some detective and backtracking work to rediscover the specific video link on Kindness that I had unsuccessfully tried to forward to you and all of the folks in the Bistro last week. To me, this one was uniquely glorious and inspiring! So hope you enjoy as well. Google: kindness/butterfly gris. It is the first selection, 4.5 minutes. My granddaughter (who is also a fan of Louise Penny, Gamache, and Three Pines) viewed it with me yesterday. Twas a simply wonderful visit! (We also had croissants for breakfast here in “Granny’s Bistro.”)

    • Julie says:

      Jan, you are right – that was inspiring! The images are so beautiful, and the dandelion metaphor so apt, but photographed so beautifully! I think a little kindness send so many little seeds of happiness out into the world…

    • Millie says:

      Times like this, it would be so wonderful to say, “Beam me to ‘Granny’s Bistro’!” Thank you Jan. Just beautiful.

  12. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Good morning all. I just lost a lengthy post. Reading the front page of the paper, sent me here to the Bistro. Pictures of Baltimore burning frightens me for fear the rioting will spread. The devastation in Nepal is pathetic.
    Once I planned to move Hubby, Daddy, Sister and myself to Australia. In the end, I was the one who just couldn’t leave the US.
    Anna, you asked how long my family had been here. Several lines were in Va. prior to 1776. Some in 1600’s and some in 1700’s. My maternal GGG Grandfather arrived in New York 1821 from Germany and was in South Carolina by 1842 when he purchased land. Except for him, everyone seems to have come from England and one line from Scotland in the early 1700’s. We are a very uninteresting group.

    • Anna says:

      Hardly uninteresting Barbara. You have a long history in The US. It would have been very hard to leave I imagine. You would have missed the perfumes of the south with its beautiful flowers. Smell is such a strong sense to evoke memories and emotions. Australia is dust and eucalytus and the earth before it rains.

      Where would you have liked to have lived in Australia or did you not think that far?

  13. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    I’m going to try to catch up with comments on posts made earlier this month.
    Julie, Sometimes I don’t like how Americans act either in or out of the US. It is embarrassing to be in another country or on a cruise and observe poor behavior too.
    Your post on 4/17 re college students living in nursing homes to interact with residents is an excellent idea. I can’t believe the program doesn’t exist here. We have two colleges and the Medical College. May I make the suggestion to the proper people? I will explain it isn’t an original idea of mine.

    • Julie says:

      Barbara, I think it would be a great idea to suggest. I really wish I knew where the place was that I read of, but it was a random post on Facebook so long ago now, that I’d never be able to find it, I’m sure. So be sure to let them know it wasn’t my idea, either, but that the general consensus here in the very important Bistro is that it’s a good idea, for both the students and the seniors.

      Yes, it is horrific to watch the news these days – I cannot believe some of the things I see happening, and I certainly can’t blame people for being angry, but this cannot be the answer. I feel sometimes as though we never are going to make any progress on race. I am truly heartsick over it all, and hope and pray that we will see the light and stop all this madness.

      • Barbara H. Johnson says:

        I’ll be sure to mention the Bistro and do some research before presenting the idea. I’ll have to think about the best person to approach etc. This is exciting and gives me something positive to think about. There must be many areas to be addressed before such a plan can be implemented. But we can supply the idea at least.
        EVERYONE, think about your city too. I’ll share my findings and if anyone else has something to share please do.

        • Anna says:

          The Humanitas Retirement Home in The Netherlands gives free housing to college students if they volunteer thirty hours a month in the Nursing Home.

          The idea is an attempt to address the way we isolate, not just the elderly, but also college students and other groups in the community. We need a return to “village life” where all age groups mix and live together not in isolation. I read of another program where older members of the community were very involved in day care centers and helping with young children.

          We need to value and respect the ongoing contribution we all make to society whatever our age.

          • Anna says:

            What you need Barbara is a local model for inter generational housing, the term used, which would work. The Dutch model is rooms for students in what sounds like a Nursing Home. There is a place in the US where students and elderly live in a large house. A radial model could work which has a studio apartment for each person in spokes around a large communal living and dining area with a small onsite care staff. Lots of different approaches.

          • Julie says:

            Anna – that’s the place I read about – I guess it’s a very newsworthy concept – and it seems to be the only program like it.

  14. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Millie, I wish I could hold a sprig of honeysuckle up to the screen and you could smell it. It shouts Southern even more than Magnolias and Azaleas.
    On 4/17 your comments about labeling people reminded me of Sociology 101. We were told that stereotypes were a lazy way to think. But yes, our brains do search for a quick way to identify as you said.

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