The Bistro

The Bistro

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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.

3,639 replies on “The Bistro”

I like to write at night. I have been waking well before dawn but my ideas don’t seem to flow at that hour. Thinking back, even as a child I wrote at night, crouched in the bedroom door scribbling in a square of light from the hall.
I do admire Louise for all she achieves. It is so very inspiring as much as I am sure it is exhausting. Thank you for the words of encouragement Julie. It means a lot.

Louise is a force of nature, I think. But also, a result of a lot of planning. While she and Michael first had the news of his prognosis, I think they made solid plans about how to handle things, got the help they needed, and it’s paid off. I have to hand it to her, though – getting up at dawn to write for a few hours every day until Michael wakes up would be very, VERY hard for me. Perhaps I could do it after he went to bed, then sleep in with him in the morning… either way, though, I think that being present for Michael in his days is very important to Louise, and having the new condo makes a big difference in that, as well, as I think lots of things (and people) are a lot closer. I am still in awe, though, at how she powers through and writes to a schedule with so much else to think and worry about.

Never worry about keeping to anyone else’s schedule, though, Anna. You’ve got people needing you on both ends of the generational scale, and first things first, always… We can wait. But with great anticipation of book two!

Thanks Cathryne. I am sorry its a bit slow. I don’t know how Louise does it with everything on her plate!

Anna, I’m glad to hear you talking about your book. I’ve been wondering if you’ve had any time to work on it. I’m ready and anxious to read book 2!

I love French Onion soup and definitely will give it a go. My dad used to make it. So yummy. I made pork burgers tonight with a caramelised onion and apple relish. That worked well too.
The heater is fixed…yaaaaaay. I am cosy and sleepy but having thoughts of my books long neglected. I am seeing developments for the first time in ages. A little break doesn’t hurt but I am very keen to get book two out.
My sister has had a lot of rain in Dallas but was safe. She suspects the usual roads will be flooded. I do hope all we know are safe and well.
Lovely to see you both Cathryne and Julie. Everything ok in your worlds Barbara and Millie and anyone we haven’t seen for a while?

Had to drop back in to say that the next recipe is up in Nature of the Feast! French Onion Soup – one of my very favorite dishes! I will definitely be making this. Anna – while you’re so chilly, you should definitely give it a try.

I have been watching the news with bated breath, as I have several friends in Texas, and of course, Bonnie seems to have threatened quite a few on the east coast, as well. Barbara and Millie – I do hope you are alright. Anna, I hope your sister isn’t too near all the flooding… I often think this is “the end of times” with this weather, and coming from someone not religious, that’s saying something! hahahaha

Anna, so glad you are safely home . I can’t believe how much you got done in such a short time. I hope you can rest in your kind-of-warm house, soon-to-be-cozy-again house. I’m trying to take your advice about enjoying the anticipation up to AGR’s release on Aug. 30th. Loved hearing from Louise about the starred review in Booklist. Second starred review!

Julie, I loved reading about you designing fabric. You are brilliant to find such an exciting thing to do while you wait for your eyes to recover. I had no idea such things could be done. I really enjoyed the link to see what they look like. Amazing! “Such clever people in the Bistro,” indeed.

Hope recent storms in the southeast have missed you, Barbara and Millie. How about your sister in Texas, Anna?

That is so clever and cool Julie. Love the designs. I really admire your creativity and ability to adapt as you wait for your eyes to recover. Such clever people in the Bistro! It certainly keeps the place humming and interesting.
Not much to report here as I recover from jet lag. Mind you, life doesn’t stop because I want to stay in bed. We have had a cold spell and the heater is broken. The repairman fixed it yesterday but it is showing another error today. He thinks it is simple to fix but unfortunately can’t get here today. We have a little heater so we are not desperate but it is not the same as the whole house being cosy.
I hope all are ok and that tropical storm Bonnie didn’t cause anyone any drama!

Oh, Brrrrr – I hate it when you can’t get warm, though I really prefer it to when you can’t cool off, hahaha. I seem to not like whatever’s on offer at any given moment. It’s a wonder I’m not an old curmudgeon, wandering around with my shawl, putting it on, taking it off… When I was at the Louisville convention, I sat at a table for lunch one day with a very distinguished looking man, probably in his 60’s. He was wearing the most gorgeous paisley shawl (just what Jane would have worn, had she been able to afford one) and I envied him so – partly because it was so cold in the large hall. Throughout the weekend, I saw him several times, each time wearing a shawl and each time a different one, and each more gorgeous than the last. The last night, I was seated with him and his wife at an off-site dinner, and I asked him where he got them. Well, of course, he sells them – often right off his back! I wish I’d asked him sooner – he had a lot of them with him, but he had already packed up for an early departure in the morning – but next time I go, I’m definitely getting one. They were such good quality and so beautiful.

I have been keeping myself busy while I can’t see detail good enough yet for needlework (I CAN put a few stitches in, but it’s not fun, as it’s so painstaking..). I’ve been designing fabric! Literally. And by literally, I mean, Jane Austen themed toiles. There are many line drawings of illustrations done in 19thC copies of the books that are available. They are in the public domain, so people may use them, and I’ve been putting together designs for toile fabrics using those designs, and a few quotes from the books… When I’m done, I will have used three different sets of illustrations for the different books, and have something like 30 different fabrics done – though many are just different colorways of the same designs… I found out that a website lets you upload designs and then will print fabric on demand. You can go and peruse other people’s designs, and buy whatever you like – as little as a fat quarter (or even a 10 ” sample), and they print it as you order it. I’ve gotten samples of my first batch, and gone back and ordered yardage of those… and continue to add to my designs. You can only buy 6 (two designs, three colors each) right now, as it’s required that I buy a proof before I can offer any for sale, but soon I’ll be ready to order a full batch of proofs, and be able to put them up for sale, if I like how they print. I only get a small percentage of any sales, but it’s kind of fun to think that people might want to buy my designs… and very fun to put them together. Here’s a link to what you can see of mine so far: http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/abucksworth
Hopefully, I’ll have lots more in about a month’s time… It’s been very fun doing this, and helping to get over my ennui at not being able to stitch.

I can’t imagine the kind of jet-setting you’ve been doing! Talk about confusing your system as to when to sleep and when to eat! Get some rest. Lots of it. Then, on to the tea and ice cream! Perhaps some scotch in a vase…

No a cuppa and then ice cream, cut out the middle man! Made it back to Australia. Wow am I tired!!

Darn! And tea and ice cream are my favorites, hahaha. I expect, by ‘tea’ you mean a meal, though! Not just a cuppa, and then on to the ice cream!

Tee hee Julie, my ski gear will finally get more than a couple of weeks use in a year. Lucky I have such things but hardly stylish. More shopping! I would love a good winter coat. They don’t get much use back home although apparently there is a cold snap for my return on Saturday with snow in the mountains. That usually means cold winds even for us several hours away.
Had a busy day choosing furniture from the rental warehouse. That took unexpected hours and was quite complicated. I fear I did not do well as I struggled to hold all the styles and colours in my head. We tuck with pretty neutral stuff so should be ok.
Finally made it to the shopping centre to get a present or two of those at home. Darn I forgot Dad! oh well there are shops at the airport. Now it is tea and ice cream…not lactose free so no sharing for you Julie.

Oh, it’s all coming together. I’m with you on the apartment. There will be enough to do without having to care for a yard! It’s good you will miss the worst of the hot weather, but two winters in a row would not be my choice! Of course, by December, you’ll have been into summer again down south and miss half the winter in DC. They can have literally, TONS of snow, so bring your outerwear! Cathryne, your description of living in Arlington sounded idyllic! And how cool that now Anna will live there, too.

I’m very jealous of the advance copies, but like Anna, know that it’s best to just savor what’s coming… Off to have a massage! (I would say you could all envy me now, except that it’s for a chronic pain the neck – not my hubby! – so it’s a necessary thing)

Hello Cathryne! How wonderful to read your post and the descriptions of life in Arlington, which, cross all limbs and digits, is where we will be. How cool that we shall have lived in the same place! Like sharing our histories. I shall miss the worst of summer as I return to winter tomorrow and then back here for a second winter in December. Lucky I love winter.
We are in the throes of doing loads of paperwork. I had to fill in the forms in black ink and sign in blue ink and follow the instructions exactly. I was so paranoid. If I have made mistakes then hubby will have to deal with it. He of course is of to apply for a social security number later and cheques from the bank to pay for the apartment. I am going to avoid both of those jobs for now.
An advance copy!!! Lucky things. However, I do enjoy the excitement and relishing the wait as I know too well the feeling of having finished a book and then hanging out for the next one. If I read it now that would be more months to wait. Although, if I could find a way to get to a similar conference next year……
I too wonder how you are Barbara? What is the weather like? Are the flowers out and the birds singing? It was cool here yesterday morning but the as soon as the sun lifted a bit the hit built rapidly. Is it like that in Georgia?
I am intrigued by the book you read Cathryne. I shall go and look it up!
Love to all as I fill in forms and confront the tasks ahead.

Anna, I’ve been thinking about you house hunting and wishing you success. I’m so glad that you’ve found a place. It sounds wonderful, and a view! I lived in Arlington, Virginia with my family for a year when I was a junior in high school. Loved the houses, the snow days off in the winter, and so much to do. Shakespeare in the park, sitting on the grass. Concerts outside by the Potomic River, sitting on the grass again. Sledding down neighborhood streets. Many trips to the National Art Gallery. Annnnnd, The Library of Congress! I got to turn in a request for a book I had not been able to find anywhere, sit at an old, worn-to-a-soft-patina desk and wait for my book to be delivered to me! What a thrill! No checking it out, use it there only. When my dad and I left we, like everyone else, had to have bags/briefcase checked by a guard. So exciting.
I must say, though, I cringed for you when you said it was steamy because summer means opening the door to walk out of your cool building and meeting hot, humid air that feels almost solid. Still, I think and hope that you will love it. I vote for the stipend, clothes allowance, and, not least, a medal!

So happy to hear about eyes doing well, I hope that is continuing. Julie, how is your needlework going?

Barbara, I was pleased to see your post. I’ve been sending you good wishes and hugs. Hope you are getting some morning walks in, a great time to watch and talk with the birds. I saw a bluebird the other morning, always feels like a gift!

Wonderful reviews for “A Great Reckoning,” such fine news! I was very jealous reading comments to Louise’s Facebook post today, many people saying they had gotten an early copy at the conference. I wanted to reach into the computer and borrow one!

I just read a book called, “The Last Painting of Sarah de Vos” and I just loved it. A way to pass the time as we wait for August and AGR. Her attention to detail, use of art to further the plot and understand the characters reminded me of Louise Penny. Also her inclusion of moral/ethical questions faced by the various characters. The book requires undivided attention and a reread resulted in further pleasure and understanding, like Louise’s books.

My best thoughts are always here for all of you. Even when I don’t post I’m often in the Bistro petting Rosa or Henri or reading in the peace.

Dear Barbara and Julie. Thank you for the kind thoughts and wishes. We are going to apply for the very first property we saw after seeing several more today. The sun was out…it was quite steamy after the recent rain…and we saw lots of interesting things and nice areas. But going with our gut it was apartment over house in the end, a very special apartment with a lovely view. Now it is paperwork and money to exchange and see if we are accepted. Fingers crossed everyone while I look at rental furniture!

What fun! New clothes! And for parties! I’d have think I’d died and gone to heaven… of course, having a stipend would have helped a lot, wouldn’t it? I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you find the perfect place today!

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