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.

Discussion on “The Bistro”

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!

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.

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.

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??

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

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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

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

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!

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.”

Thought I posted this already but now I can’t find it.

Louise announced the title of the new Gamache — THE NATURE OF THE BEAST.

While some retailers sill have it listed as “Untitled Gamache #11” it is available for pre-order now.


That is very exciting Paul. I don’t remember seeing the title before. Thank you for letting us know. Now we can speculate on the meaning. Happy New Year Paul!

Popping in again! Blizzard Juno is beginning to hit. I’m hunkering down with a good book. Paul beat me to the grand announcement!! Stay safe, and warm everyone. I’ve been drowning at work and with family matters. What year already!

The interview was touching. I cried but thought what an amazing woman. I am so glad they found each other.

Exactly. Thanks for saying it. Must have been soooo difficult to be interviewed like this. Lots of hugs to Louise.

I have just watched Louise’s interview for the Alzheimer Society. Heartbreaking, but also very uplifting! She is a one in a million!

We have all heard I am sure:

“If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all”

It is a very different thing talking about what we do or don’t like about something, than making awful unnecessary comments. Let’s hope the poster was thoughtless and having a bad day and will come to their senses. Or perhaps they were a troll looking to provoke an opinion.

I worry about such horrible things happening if and when my book finally gets seen. My skin isn’t very thick but mainly because it’s a silly thing to say. If you don’t like the books no one is tying you down forcing you to read them. I’ve read lots of books I don’t like. It’s very easy to put them aside and move on.

Wonder what Ruth would say to that poster, if she deigned to respond at all.

Where is my vase?

Saw a posting by a reader on LP’s facebook. She thought the last book was sub-standard when compared to the others and thought LP should stop writing if she could do no better. I realize people post unbelievable opinions and ideas, but really. Manners, please. We all know TLWH wasn’t my favorite but the idea of no more Gamache is too dreadful to contemplate. Sorry, but I just had to sound off. Writers must develope thick skin, of course, but I just don’t like anyone saying such a mean thing to LP. I wonder what the Critic has written/accomplished. I need a strong cup of tea. A little early for Bourbon and Branch.

Oh! I can’t believe someone would say something TO Louise like that! How bizarre. Of course, there are some hateful things I’ve seen on facebook pages, but that page has always been such a place of uplifting emotion. I expect there will be a general outcry against the poster, but nothing will be able to unring that bell, and we know that Louise reads the comments…

Sharon – so happy to have you join us in the Bistro. As others have mentioned, we’re kind of quiet now, waiting, waiting, waiting for the next book. If you follow Louise on Facebook, you know pretty much precisely where she is in the writing/polishing of the next book, which is due out in August, I think. It’s kind of exciting to follow the process.

Several of our residents here in the Bistro are writers taking perhaps their first steps toward their destinies! We know, for instance, that Anna has finished at least a first draft of her novel and is now re-writing/editing, which is very exciting.

Pretty soon, I’m thinking of doing another pass-through – maybe one book per month where I will re-read and go back and read the discussion we had here of that book, as well. I learned so much from the other readers, and can’t wait to delve into the depths again, as there is so much more to the books than seems evident at first glance. I’ve re-read everything once, and when I do a third pass through, I know I’ll find much more.

I read other mysteries, and love them, and of course, other types of books, and love some of them, but Louise Penny stands head and shoulders above the others for me. There is something about her characters, and her finely crafted stories that keeps me spellbound! I hope to be able to read new books for years to come!

I know this will seem an unfair comparison, but the only other author I feel this way about is Jane Austen. She was able to write only 6 complete books in her short lifetime, and died at the very pinnacle of her powers as a writer. I re-read her books, too, each year, and feel as though I know the characters very well. I also love being drawn into the world they live in, which is quite different from our own, though her characters are universal, and immediately recognizable as they are finely drawn from life.

So – here we are, the motley crew in the Bistro, waiting, somewhat patiently, for our order. In the meantime, we share tidbits from our lives and have another vase of scotch!

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