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”

While you are waiting for part of Millie’s comment on DSPD here is a couple of links. Insomnia tools are very helpful with this problem if used consistently as they address the sleep shift question. Cold and dark are what you need for sleep. Not so easy if you live in warmer climes!

This article is by a Psycholgist who is a sleep specialist. She has lots of books on Amazon. I don’t know them and haven’t read them but they could be worth checking out. Her advice is very consistent with what most specialists say. You have to be consistent, move in increments, cut down the light you are exposed to at night and up what you are exposed to in the morning.


There is no light here this morning. It is bucketing rain and very very gloomy. It’s amazing I am awake at all!

Um….guys….I don’t know what to say. Thank you Millie for the offer to start a discussion page and thank you Paul for saying we don’t have to go anywhere. I am inordinately pleased and surprised that you all enjoyed The Cove. I am just so wary of taking attention from Louise in any way. I am trying to see it as a filler while we wait for the next book. But I don’t want to put off any new visitors who haven’t been along for the whole journey and who pop in now with the excitement of The Nature of The Beast and then get confused as to what we are talking about. Please know newcomers we are always happy to talk Three Pines!!

For example….Jane….do you need to be filled in on a Jean Guy or have you started at the beginning?

For those of us who have been here for many months we just have loads of things we are chatting about while we potter by the fireplace. I am speechless and proud that my book is one of those things. It really does belong to the Bistro.

I feel the same way, Barbara, BTW, did “Part 2” of the DSPD info show up yet?
Oh, and take a peek at my comment to your post about sleeping: pg22, 4th from bottom up!

I can’t believe how much I have learned about things I didn’t even know about. I never dreamed I would meet such wonderful and caring people when we started the reread. I just loved the books and wanted to discuss them with others who felt the same. This group means so much to me. Thanks to all of you.

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder 2
Another section of an email Anna sent me which was very helpful.

The following is a complex article from a Psychiatry journal but it shows some of the strategies including bright light therapy, avoiding evening light, gradual time shifting. I would seek a sleep specialist who understands the problem. Sleeping pills are not usually effective unless used in combination with other techniques and only for short periods as a confidence builder that sleep can be achieved.


The point is there are techniques that do work if applied appropriately and consistently. The syndrome is most often seen in adolescents and hormonal changes are again the problem. Hysterectomy can cause abrupt hormonal change similar but opposite to adolescence. Just know there are potential solutions. You may not want a complete time shift but even midnight to eight as a sleep period might work better for you.


Julie, (and Barbara?) DSPD, part 1.
Here’s some info about Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD) as promised. But it may take several posts! Lol… Like you, I love the extra daylight to MY “day”. I just want to cry some winter evenings when it’s ready dark when I wake up. But unlike you my hubby still works and most get up by 5am so that means he’s exhausted by 10pm. 🙁 And when I’m ready to think about a light lunch he’s so ready for dinner! Argh… But he’s such a dear and tells me, “sleep when you can…” It does however put a crimp on spending time with him during the weekends. Sleeping in for him is waking up at 7am! We have a year pass to Universal Studios (which includes Harry Potter World! I’ve only managed to go 2 times, and I love it!) Our two sons helped with the ‘guilt’ by saying “morning is 4 hours long minimum from the time you wake up. 🙂
When I first mentioned to Anna that I was desperately trying to get to a more ‘normal’ sleep cycle so I could ‘get out more’ and mentioned I had DSPD but I didn’t hold much hope because I was told there was no known way to reverse it, this was her first response: “For Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, there are methods that they use but I don’t know if you have tried them… consistently? There are simple sleep shift techniques, use of a light box and melatonin. Have you got a sleep specialist?”

Sleep specialist? There are a lot of those around here but usually they specialize in pulmonary aspects such as sleep apnea. So I started asking around and finally told to call our med insurance and request a specialist in DSPD! (My doctor didn’t know much about it and asked if I wanted sleeping pills. No thank you. I sleep just fine when I finally DO fall asleep. So the search has begun. I love how quick Insurance companies are to charge bundles for a bandaid but so slow providing info.

BTW, Barbara, DSPD, is very different from insomnia. That ‘problem’ doesn’t include waking up feeling rested when allowed to sleep on one’s own rhythm. And you said you were allowed to sleep at your own rhythm during summer… You may not have insomnia at all. More to follow…

Not sure part 2 is showing up yet, my screen says, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” It is long and has lots of links. Patience is a virtue…

Oh, Barbara, you are so very welcome but I’m thrilled we can do it here! And I’m pretty sure Anna will be too. As she keeps saying, her book wouldn’t have come to be without the support of this wonderful group….

Millie, Thank you for your offer to set up a Yahoo Group. People like me have no “tech savvy” and must rely on others. It’s great Paul said we could use this site. It did play an important role in Anna writing her book. Things just get better and better.

The Bistro is for all topics! Let’s keep the discussions here.

“The Real Places of Three Pines” will have their own pages for discussion.

Paul, you are a sweetheart! How generous, warm and accepting of you to allow the Bistro to accept discussion of the book of one of its own dearly loved members. Thank you ever so much.

Oh Barbara, I was thinking the same thing: so many topics to be discussed! Yet the Bistro is technically for Louise’s books. And next week we start the adventure of discovering the places that inspired her. I’m not sure if that will be here or if separate ‘sections’ will be created as for her different books.

I don’t know how to create a page like this one, but I do know how to create a Yahoo Group page. I even was asked to be group moderator for a very large home sewing machine embroidery group. Then, as the members got to know each other and started to get way off topic I created a new group for the members to go to and off topic their hearts out…
It’s not hard, and one can follow threads of thoughts, search by member or topic for their comments… opt to get notifications of new comments by email as they posted, or get a daily summary of posts, or just visit the site. It’s actually pretty cool!

If Anna and others here are interested, and Paul is OK with it too, I’d be happy to set it up.

Anna, I just finished The Cove. Egads! What a story. My eyes were glued to the screen. I’m going to start the reread Monday, if I can wait. Like Nancy said… are you sure this is your first book. You must continue to write. The story keeps pulling the reader back. Just to think you did this on your own. No professional editor sorting things out or making suggestions. My heart is still racing. Wow! So many topics to be discussed.

Okay, I’m finished. This should go straight to the top of the bestseller list. Congratulations Anna!! Wish I could give you a hug.

I wish I could give you a hug Nancy! I am so glad you enjoyed the book!! Your comments make me cry. And I am so glad you slowed down and didn’t have a heart attack. I don’t think virtual CPR works!!

Ok, I get it now, it is very different writing and sharing the writing. Thanks to you all I have discovered the joy of sharing. I was so prepared for the criticisms I forgot to prepare for the joy that is truly shared when someone enjoys what you have done.

Thank you all.

Anna, I’m reading The Cove and have come to the Bistro to let my heart rate settle down. I think that only once have I skipped to the end of a book but if this one were paper I surely would be tempted (before I have a heart attack). My golly, are you SURE this is your first book?? No, I am not exaggerating , it has really gotten hold of me. I know I won’t be able to sleep until I get to the end. Wow. See you all later.

I would love to know what Louise said about the painting, I had never heard of it. Here is a link to a blog article someone wrote about the artist and the series which the painting is from. The works were all portraits of inmates of an asylum. There were originally ten paintings but only five are known to still exist.


My daughter is doing Romanticism at the moment so a topical period in our household.

If you look at the paintings, I thought the eyes of the Envious woman were the only ones truly directed at something. The others seemed a little vague. Whatever that woman envies, she has it always in her gaze!

If we are lucky, maybe that talk will become available on YouTube – I’d love to hear it also. I do remember her mentioning how often her dear Michael would discuss art with her. She must so miss that part of him…

I would love to see that, too! The painting is absolutely Ruth, but I don’t see envy in it, either. I guess the artist did, but whatever he saw is none of my business I figure, hahaha.

The painting that Louise Penny chose to talk about from The Musee de Beaux Arts is stunning, breathtaking, and, yes, of course she picked that painting. I had been thinking casually about the interesting assignment given to the writers, wondering if it was a hard decision as to what to choose. When I saw the painting in the newsletter, all I could think was, “Of course.” Did Louise Penny know this piece of art already? I didn’t and yet it seemed so familiar from her books. I knew that Clara had painted it! What a gift.

Julie and Millie…Thanks for the laughs about Sleeping in. My in-laws were people who went to bed by 8 and sometimes earlier. Of course, they were up at 4AM. They had grown up on farms and even farmed after they were married. By the time we met, they had lived off the farm for 14-15 yrs. I had grown up getting up in time for school and going to bed 10-11PM or later. I was allowed to sleep as I wished during the Summer. As an adult, emotional problems contributed to what became chronic insomnia. My In-laws have always considered me lazy and worthless. I have never understood how the hour a person arises sets their worth. I have even had fellow Church members act as if not rising early was a sin. Fortunately those sleepless nights have been gone for some years. If they return, I’ll read as before. Sleep well.

Barbara, how “nice” of your fellow church goers! Did they forget the part “judge not, so ye not be judged”? Or how about taking the plank out of one’s own eye before trying to remove the speck from another’s? Makes me wonder what ‘sins’ they’re feeling guilty about. Sheesh!

Julie, see, you’re not the only one! Links and more info later. Must get ready for my Chiro visit.

Anna, decided to go to the beginning of the ‘Bistro’ because the number of comments was ‘higher’ than what I was seeing at the last page and saw newcomers comments AND saw I missed your share of the book “Write Away” by Elizabeth George. Read the first pages in their ‘look inside’ and just cried with relief when she starts by saying its characters that make for really good books. Not having the ‘plot’ all figured out, has always made me feel I didn’t have what it took to continue attempting… But I remember telling you all I really loved those characters in my head… And isn’t that what we so love about Louise’s books? The characters?

And Julie, you saying you needed to divest yourself of all your tumbling thoughts before giving The Cove your full attention really resonated with me too. I hope I don’t sound whinny, but it’s been such a hard few years for me and I just can’t write in found moments. I must enter their world completely and feel their emotions fully before I can even begin to write. And I have my own grieving to process before I can give it another go. I did find recently a computer file where I had finished the first draft of chapter 1… Four days later, my dad passed away. I had completely forgotten I had written that. And I couldn’t stop crying because my main female character’s dad passes away in the story in my head. It’s just too close right now. But as Robin Williams used to say about the invention of golf, “there’s a little red flag to give ya (ME) f***ing hope”! I need a duck! Or a vase!
Right now, I better settle for a tissue, and a Tylenol. I love / hate the ‘torture table’!

Thank you both… Thank you all. Thank you Anna for suggesting I return to the Bistro. It WAS time. 🙂

Anna! I have taken quite some time to get started on The Cove – and I’m only now just on Chapter 7. For one, I’m a slow reader, and for another, I need to divest myself of all my tumbling thoughts to get into a new read, and I didn’t want to give The Cove just a part of my attention! But now I’m worried that you’ll think I’ve not said anything because I didn’t like it. Nothing could be further from the truth! Yes, I will even tell you if there’s things I don’t like, but so far, I am enthralled, and now completely riveted. I’m still a slow reader, so it will be a week or so before I can totally tell you how I like it, but be prepared – I LOVE it so far, and I think you should be looking for an agent and to get it properly published! Especially since there are more to come if I’m understanding you correctly.

I read far too quickly Julie. I am glad you take your time and savour all. I eat too quickly as well. I have to deliberately slow down and appreciate everything more. Thank you.

Julie, thank you, thank you for saying for you one morning was the crack of noon! I too have major trouble falling asleep. But once I do, I sleep a good eight hours. I was always trying to hide the fact ‘I sleep in’. It’s surprising how the eyebrows go up when I tried to explain I’m not sleeping in, I just don’t normally fall asleep before four to six in the morning so no, I can’t meet you at 8am unless I stay up all night!
I thought it was due to the stress of so much going on physically & emotionally. But have you ever heard of ‘Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder’?

My sleep cycle has shifted. I was told there was no known way to shift it back. Not true! Let me know if you want a bit more info and a link Anna sent me. I feel there’s hope now for me to rejoin activities and groups I simply couldn’t do anymore.

Society can be so linked to its narrow version of ‘normal’ but so perfectly willing to accept any deviation if one can slap the term ‘disorder’ to what is the new ‘normal’ for the body. Argh! But I don’t consider it a defining label. More like ammunition to lower raised eyebrows. …lol

Ah, Millie – I never knew it had a name! What I HAVE known since I found out what circadian rhythms are is that mine are different. I’ve been this way since I was a child. I used to hide under the covers with a flashlight to read (and got in trouble a lot for it). And I agree – society has always just assumed I’m lazy, and sleep in a lot. But if I were completely left to my natural cycle, I’d go to sleep about 3 and wake at noon. I’ve tried all my life to change it and there seems to be no changing me. The change of clocks twice a year really does me in, too! I’ve long wished that they would change one spring to daylight savings and then just leave it there! I’m very happy to have the extra light during my time awake…

You’re right – people look at you askance if you really don’t want to be places in the morning… I have trained a few friends to not expect answers to emails until the afternoon, and certainly, my days are much shorter than other people’s. It’s a wonder I get anything accomplished at all some days, haha. The interesting thing is that, my lovely husband, who was getting up at 6 a.m. and going to bed at 10 p.m. when I met him, has almost completely come around to my side. He will often sleep at least until 10 or 11, and can stay awake until about 1 now… So we have more time together. I call that love, hahaha.

I’d be very interested in reading about a way to shift my sleep cycle – as I do feel like I am missing a lot by not being awake when everyone else is. It’s funny – until you “fessed up”, I was truly trying to make it seem like waking up at noon was a rarity for me, hahaha. You’re right about the raised eyebrows and the sense that once you put “disorder” on it, you can then be accepted… it’s sad that everyone feels they have the right to comment on such silly things, isn’t it?

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