Julie and Julia, will make you feel better about your life

The heat has  finally broken.

Now, we have grey, heavy, humidity but, in all that, there is,


It’s a well known fact that Canadians are obsessed with the weather.

 All Canadians. French, English, Native and after a few months, New Canadians. 

Three great unifiers from coast to coast to coast-

 talking about the weather, beer, and hockey.

I, myself,  have spent hours discussing this year’s weather compared to last year’s,

 and why my beloved  Montreal Canadiens should or should not trade a particular player.

 Beer is not my big thing , although when I need to tie one on, that is where I turn,

left over from my college days, when beer was a cheap way to get drunk,

 and to have the courage to try to get laid.

I feel a beer binge coming on!

As you all know, I have been feeling crappy and a little bit down on myself  lately.

I have been giving long thought to my future and what I should do and what  I really want.

Woe is me.

I gotta tell I’m not one of those  in the now  people.

 If I was, maybe I would be happier,


I’m not unhappy, I’m dissatisfied.

 So I figured I’d read a book about trying to get your life out of a rut.

I saw the movie and loved it.

 My ex highly recommended it and since she doesn’t usually read that kind of stuff,

she likes these political or adventure thrillers or what I refer to as guy books,

 I figured I’d give it a try.

So I read, Julie and Julia.

Well, you know what it’s fun.

 A funny well written walk through our overindulgent, over educated, over angsted world.

 It made me feel better,

 I’m not the only one who’s obsessed with  the minutia of my life and who searches desperately for meaning.

A good book. Occasionally gross, funny, modern.

Not a great work of literature but, not an insult to your intelligence.

I was watching television last night,

 and happened on a seminar given by a psychiatrist,

 he said something that really freaked me out.

 It is estimated that in the next 20 years,

 the disease that will be second only to cardio-vascular disease in the number of sufererers on the planet is—-


Talk about a kick in the ass.

So whatever helps all of us keep the black dogs at bay is good.

Romance novels,


 working your way through a cookbook,

reading about working your way through a cookbook,

 quitting your job,



short of murder or hurting those you love,

 go for it.

Beer anyone?

Duck en croute anyone?

Later girls


Finders Keepers

I just finished reading  Finders Keepers,

 a Karin Kallmaker that I have never read.

 It was published in 2006.

 I guess I’m a few behind.

Anybody, who has read this blog knows that I adore Kallmaker.

 A few of her novels are on my top lesbian romance list.

My all time favorite romance is Wild Things one of her earlier offerings.

I liked Finders Keepers, sort of.

The two main characters are likable and intelligent.

The novel deals with issues in an original fashion.

Lynda  is a beautiful woman, drop dead gorgeous and, that is the last thing she wants to hear.

Her mother, uber bitch to end all bitches,

 made her that way,

 and I don’t mean genetically.

Marissa is a big girl, with a big brain and issues with her mother as well her body.

I liked both women , I felt for them, real empathy.

I didn’t believe their love story.

I felt the shipwreck meeting was contrived.

A little too  Deus Ex Machina  for me.

Let me tell you in all the years I have been reading Kallmaker,

 it is the first time I didn’t buy the love story or the lead up to the sex.

I’m disappointed I was looking forward to a sexy, romantic read.

God knows, I could use one.

This book has merit, and deals with important issues in an intelligent and thoughtful way.

It wasn’t what I was looking for.

This book was a Lambda finalist, so obviously I’m in a minority in my opinion.

All of my favorite writers have at least one book that I appreciate less.

Even, Somerset Maugham wrote The Magician that I hated,

 and John Irving had the truly weird and boring Son of the Circus.

I will read another Kallmaker soon, Sugar,

 sounds like something I would enjoy.

I’m taking a break from romance for a while, maybe I’m jaded.

Later girls


Micheal Tolliver Lives

Enough of that, Thanks to all of you for the support, you know who you are.

OK, so, Armistead Maupin’s Micheal Tolliver Lives.

I really enjoyed it.

 Maupin has a real gift for weaving tales that have an almost unbelievable amount of coincidence.

He has a very southern flavour, in his humour and his sense of the tragic-comic lives of people.

I read all the Tales of The City  books many years ago,

 I loved them they were about a place and a people that I was fascinated by,

 the  San Francisco of the 1970’s.

It was the first time I read about a transsexual character, the magnificent Anna Madrigal.

Now, in Micheal Tolliver Lives, we get reacquainted with the former residents of Barbary Lane.

They are older and still living their lives on their terms.

That is one of the things I always liked about the series, these people created a family for themselves.

No closet,

 they chose to live in a city that not only tolerated difference but, thrived on it. 

It wasn’t a gay thing either, all the characters were individuals.

To paraphrase Emily Dickinson, They chose their own society.

In this installment, although Maupin claims it is not a sequel, the meaning of family is explored.

Real blood family and the kind we chose for ourselves,

 and how both shape us and make us who we are.

I cried, I laughed and I cared.

I can’t ask for much more from a book.

I’m tired and hot and not feeling very loquacious so I’ll sign off now.

Thanks girls



Truth? Memory?

Well, I finished my book on Everest. I enjoyed it, brave men and that Mallory, wow.

Personally I’m sure he made it to the summit.

 One of my weirder obsessions.

Today, was a gorgeous day in Montreal,

 and since the lovely lady I’m dating works on Sunday’s,

 I went to the Jazz Festival.

 One of my customers was performing with his Big Band.

 A breeze, a very civilized crowd, The Jazz Fest brings out the best in Montreal.

 I’m feeling much better, the moon is no longueur full and my crazy hormones seem to be,

 less crazy.

Still in a bit of a slump book wise, usually I have a pile waiting.

I have a pile but, I’m not so sure what to read.

While at the bookstore on Saturday, I started reading a book by Anthony Arthur ,

Literary Feuds: A century of celebrated quarrels from Mark Twain to Tom Wolfe.

I figured how could I go wrong at the very least I’ll learn something,

 a tidbit to be used in dazzling  conversation.

The first section I chose to read is the feud between Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy.

Lillian Hellman, was a very successful playwright in her day,

 most lesbians are familiar with her work,


 The Children’s Hour.

Today, she is not as appreciated as her mostly male contemporaries, Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller and all.

Her plays were ok, if you see The Little Foxes playing on the late show and you have nothing else to do,

 it’s worth a watch.

 But, Miller and Williams are definitely better.

The reason I started with this section, is that I have always had a thing for Hellman.

When I was a teenager I picked up one of her books, used, probably cost me a quarter.

It was a memoir, An Unfinished Woman. I liked the title, I liked that she was a tough broad

who lived for years  with a tough guy writer, Hammett.

Over the course of many years I read all her memoirs.

Pentimento, a section of which was turned into the movie, Julia,

starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave.

 I also read Scoundrel Times,  about the Hollywood communist witch hunt that was The House Un-American Activities Committee.

I admired Hellman’s grit, her live by her own rules attitude to life, the woman had courage and principles.

Or so I thought.

Mary McCarthy was a celebrated critic in her day and an altogether forgettable novelist.

Her most famous work is, The Group, I read this book, I had heard there was a lesbian character in it.

In those days I was starved for any lesbian representation, even fleeting.

In 1979, McCarthy stated on the Dick Cavett Show that Hellman was an over-rated and dishonest writer.

Hellman sued. A long legal battle ensued.

After years of litigation it turns out that most of what Hellman wrote in Scoundrel Times and large parts of Pentimento

specifically the Julia story,

 were is some cases gross exaggerations, in others all out lies.

This freaked me out a little and then,

I started to think how memory often plays tricks on all of us.

Can we really be counted on to remember accurately?

I think Hellman probably embellished as we all do, she would have been better off calling them novels,

much safer and more “truthful”.

Memory, truth and the tumbling off their pedestals of our heroes and heroines.

That’s what I have been thinking about.

Later Girls


Monday, date with an angel, I hope her cold is better.

Can’t get into anything

I don’t know what’s wrong with me I can’t get into anything.

 I haven’t read a book all week!

 I know you’re thinking she’s insane, a week big deal.

I read everyday, I own a bookstore, reading is my life, in many ways.

 I have been preoccupied.

 Sometimes that coincides with the full moon,

 sometimes, although I am loath to admit it, with the high hormone part of the month.

Right now, I don’t know if it’s either one. I feel petulant and childish, it’s not a great feeling.

But, enough about me I did start a book last night because I couldn’t sleep.

It’s a non-fiction book from 1946, Kingdom of Adventure: Everest.

For a long time I have had a fascination with the exploration of the Himalayas, especially, Everest.

It’s odd because I don’t have an ounce of athlete or explorer in me.

 I’ve read over the years quite a few books on the subject.

One of the first was, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.

 The particularly interesting part of Into Thin Air was the commercialisation of Everest,

 it’s not about athleticism so much, as how much money you have. That is a dangerous, lethal combination.

 If you are  interested in a good “story” check it out.

 Recently, I read Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer of all people.

 This is a novelisation of George Leigh Mallory’s life.

The man many believe was the first to make it to the Summit Of Everest,

the story is fascinating and the “proof” is compelling.

 I didn’t think Archer had it in him.

 A beautiful, touching story about a type  of man that no longueur exists. Fantastic.

Bonus , an oh so romantic, love story.

Well, I think I’ll go brood. No wonder I can’t get/keep a girlfriend, I’m a beast (not in a good way).

later girls


Milenium finished

Well, I finished it.

 Long sucker.

 I have to say I admire how he managed to tie up the loose ends.

 The bad guys got theirs.

 This book had some dynamite strong female characters.

Lisebeth, but, also Erika, Anika and Monica

(sounds like a bunch of ABBA singers “Does your mother know that you’re out”).

 I’m glad I read it, it was OK.

I’ve read better, I’ve read worse.

If someone tells me how amazing it was, I can argue that it was not that great.

Like I did when people told me how amazing Pillars of the Earth was—( GAG)

If you have some time, quite a bit. Read it.

I’ll catch you all later


Almost finished Milenium

I am reading the third installment in the millennium series,

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.

 Normally, I would never buy this type of book in hardcover but,

I got it for my mom’s birthday and at over 50% off. I enjoyed the first two novels.

 Do I think it’s high art? Of course not, it is entertaining.

 One thing I don’t like about Scandinavian mysteries,

they are very dark and have little humour, Ian Rankin it isn’t.

I will finish it and I am glad I read them but, honestly, I’m going to keep reading the Brits, Scots and Yanks.

The characters in millenium are good, non-conventional, complex, some of them are barely likeable.

Not really run of the mill but, not as well drawn as Carol O’connell’s Mallory for instance,

 the anti-hero to end all anti-heroes

 There is a trend in recent crime fiction, the villains all seem to be pedophiles.

 While I agree that pedophiles are the scum of the earth, do I really want to read novel after novel about them?

 Enough, already.

 This summer I am reading nothing about sickos.

 Jane Austen, Armistead Maupin and a few others who make me think and make me happy

and dream of romance and love.


Monday, I am going on a date!

It’s been a while I won’t tell you how long, I’m embarrassed and besides why would you girls care?

The woman I am going out with is adorable,smart,funny and likes me—- go figure!

The other day I finally woke up. I said to her, we should date and she said, basically, what took you so long?

I had a problem because she is younger, until a friend of mine said

 “it’s always the older person who has a problem with that”.

I’m sick of letting my life glide by, so I’m going for it.

When I finish the Larson I’ll give a fuller appreciation.

Until then

Later girls

Wish me luck


What I’m reading on a rainy day

Since reading Stone Butch Blues, I haven’t been able to read anything substantial.

 Can’t do big or deep.

 I have however been reading Laura Lippman, a mystery writer I like a lot.

 Her character, Tess Monaghan, is colorful and smart ass ( love the smart ass girls of fiction).

I read a few several years ago and got a few out of the library last week.

 Tess is a former reporter turned private eye.

 Her life is a bit of a mess and she lives in Baltimore.

Baltimore a north american city,

 possibly more corrupt than my home town of Montreal

 ( municipal politics wise- recently Maclean’s magazine compared Montreal’s corrupt politics to Palermo, Sicily- beat that Toronto ).

Charm City, the nickname of Baltimore, has us beat on violence and murder.

 A violent, murderous city going through some tough economic times.

The Lippman I’m currently reading is called Charm City ( It’s one of her older ones) and centers around Baltimore’s bid to get an NBA franchise.

 It’s quite good and makes me feel right at home.

 If you like mysteries with strong, flawed female characters, check her out.

Next, I’m going to read the last installment in the Millennium series. I’m looking forward to it.

The response is far from unanimous some people seem to think it’s not so great. Gonna read it anyway and then it’s on to Miss Austen.

Later girls

Have a good one


Stone Butch Blues

I read  Stone Butch Blues.

 It is magnificent.

 Not a false note.

You pick it up, you can’t put it down.

I had high expectations. This book exceeded them.

I intend to buy several copies to give as gifts, it’s that good.

This book should be required reading .

 It deserves to be on the same bookshelf as :

The Diary Of Anne Frank,

 If This Is A Man by Primo Levi,

 and To Kill A Mockingbird.

The same courage,

 indomnitable spirit,

 senseless cruelty and,

 power of the human spirit. 

Jess, the main character, suffers so much and is treated so unfairly by life’s bullies and yet,

 she never loses her humanity.

 She is  treated with hatred and violence or at best, disgust,

 and all she wants is what we all want,

 to be accepted.

The prose is tight, Feinberg is a talented writer.

This book is not depressing nor is it upbeat it is — hard and True.

To quote Leslie Feinberg’s afterword from 2003:

Never underestimate the power of fiction to tell the truth.

It is about a specific time and place and a marginalised segment of society and yet, it is universal.

1950’s Buffalo, New York becomes, anywhere and everywhere.

Great Literature does that.

I’m grateful I read this book.

 I’m grateful I was born, when I was born,

 and that brave women like Leslie Feinberg came before me.

If you have not read Stone Butch Blues.

You Must.

Later girls


The power of fiction to illuminate

Yesterday, I picked up Stone Butch Blues.

 I have only read the first chapter.

 I think I’m going to like it.

From memory, I would say I have never read any work of fiction that deals with transgender topics.

 I wonder why?

Can’t say I have read much about bisexuality either.

Maybe one of the reasons I have sidestepped Stone Butch Blues all these years,

 is because I hate to read about suffering and abuse.

I’m a bit of a wimp that way.

I have always had trouble dealing with novels whose main theme is abuse.

 I  know it exists, I hate that it exists.

Child abuse, incest, all are topics that disgust me.

I realise that most people feel that way, maybe it’s my inner ostrich coming through.

A friend of mine asked me  to read Bastard Out Of Carolina, she told me it was very important to her

 and that she kept coming back to it.

So, I read it.

I hated it and loved it, at the same time.

The voice was so true and it was so painful to read.

When I finished it, I felt physically sick, like I might vomit.

I’m glad I read it and I will never read it again, no need, it is imprinted on my brain.

I would encourage people to read it, it is strong and powerful.

I know, Stone  Butch Blues,  is not about that kind of abuse.

 It is about ignorance and abuse of power.

I also think, based on what I have read about it, that it is about being who you are.

Not an easy task in a world that doesn’t accept you.

I’ll let you all know what I think of it.

Fiction has the power to illuminate.

I’m hoping that Stone Butch Blues, will help me to understand transgender issues. 

Not to accept, I accept, who am I not to accept?

Understanding is something else.

Bisexuality also leaves me a little perplexed.

I get fluidity,

I get being attracted to both sexes,

I get evolution in one’s life and being different people at different times.

Maybe, I get bisexuality and don’t realise it.

I must try and find a novel that deals in a truthful manner with bisexuality.

Any suggestions?

Later girls