Sustaining Protein—Wanted

I’m officially in a book funk.

I mean I’m reading,

I always read,

it’s what I do,

it’s just that,

 I’m not being absorbed by anything.

I have been reading Somerset Maugham’s,

 Creatures of Circumstance,

I got it out of the library.

A series of fabulous short stories,

just right for a bus ride to work,

smart, engaging but, short,

they are short stories, after all.

I need something meaty.

Not broccoli which I hate but,


it’s good for me!

Broccoli reading is,

 a book I know I should read,

one that would expand my horizons,

teach me something,

or that I could brag I got through,

 War and Peace, Ulysses, Moby Dick,

Philip Roth, which I loathed but read,


 several pounds of broccoli.

I don’t want to read cotton candy either,

sweet, filling but,

bad for your teeth.

Janet Evanovich, Sophie Kinsella,

that kind of stuff,

it takes you for a ride,

 in a  familiar and enjoyable locale,

that’s the sugar,


ultimately you want something different,

more sustaining,

a Butch cannot live on sugar alone,

you need to maintain,

 your bones, muscles, grey matter.

I am longing for meat,

John Irving, Sarah Waters,

different cuts but,


Complex and delicious,


Books that take you in,

make you laugh,

make you cry,

make you think,

leave you satisfied and filled.

The World According to Garp,


All The King’s Men,

Small Island.

Not too big not too small,

just right.

I suppose the protein could be,

 beans, lentils, eggs,

even tofu.

Aquamarine, Biting the Apple, Coffee Will Make you Black,

books I read and loved this year,

all lean vegetable protein,

all wonderful.

I don’t know if this is making any sense to any of you.

Perhaps someone could suggest something.

But, ultimately reading,

like life is a solitary journey.

Later girls


Reading Maugham

It’s a beautiful day.

The Canadiens slaughtered the New Jersey Devils 5-0.

I’ve had a decent week at the bookstore.

I still have a hacking cough,

but, all other symptoms seem to have disappeared.

I have put My Cousin Rachel aside,

it’s the kind of book you need to immerse yourself into,

all about atmosphere,

 and I can’t seem to keep my concentration going.

So I have turned to my pal,

 Somerset Maugham.

He almost never disappoints me.

He writes mostly about the complexity and often,

 treachery of love.

His stories set in the far east and the south pacific,

 that portray mostly low level British civil servants,

working, living or hiding in the colonies,

are well worth the read.

Since they are short stories,

 no great time commitment is required.

Check out The Book Bag or The Colonel’s Wife,

 you won’t regret it.

Small disclaimer,

these stories were written mostly in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s,

some of the attitudes towards women and natives are questionable,

especially by today’s standards,


Autre temps, autre moeurs.

I don’t have much to say.


Later girls


A challenge for the new year

Hey everyone,

 I was in the mood for a change.

So, I changed the look of the blog.

This is how I sometimes feel.

So many books, so little time.

Ah, the never ending quest for bookishness.

This is a time of year,

where I start to think about the new one,


 that is.

As far as the blog is concerned I am going to be joining in

I love this picture of Colette.

Such style, such flair.

Btw, if  you haven’t read any Colette you should, she’s  great.

She also happens to be my mom’s favourite writer.

How cool is that!!

Back to the GLBT Challenge,

I got the idea to participate from Cass at

I don’t think I can manage a book every month.

So my goal is six, for the year.

This is the list:

The Price Of Salt by Patricia Highsmith-Because I have always wanted to read it.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin-Because in spite of having read tons of James Baldwin, I have never read this novel, a glaring oversight.

Maurice by E.M Forster-Never read any Forster

Normal by Amy Bloom-Just because I really like the title.

The Gilda Stories by Jewel Gomez- Never read any Jewel Gomez

The sixth is to be determined.

Any suggestions?

I like the idea of a little bit of structured as well,

 as whimsy reading.

I will read The Mere Future by Sarah Schulman,

 for the 1 st of December as promised,

 and then I will join this challenge for the new year.

I haven’t decided about any other challenges,

 but, this,

 I am commited to and excited about.

Well, that’s about it.

Later girls


Thanks for reading

Well, it’s a grey day and I have no hockey news,

you all try not to be too disappointed.

This post is my 100 th.

A major milestone in my blogging life,

Does this mean syndication and a life of reruns will now be mine?

OK, forget the weird television humour.

First off,

 thank yous are in order.

My friend Mikey, who encouraged me to start this blog,

by saying he knew that some people would definitely be interested,

in my views and opinions.

He helped me set up,

 and with the logistics,

 as well as moral support.

Mikey, is one of the good guys. 

The biggest thank you,

 goes to,

 all of you who read this blog.

Some comment,

 some don’t.

Some of you have been with me,

 practically from the beginning,

some recently.

Some are good friends,

 who comment in person or via email,

some are total strangers at the other end of the world,

some are somewhere in between.

It’s all good.

I hope that in some odd way or other,

this blog makes you smile or makes you think,

 or in some small way informs you.

I know that there is much debate out there,

 as to what a book blog should be.

Many readers,


 think a book blog should be about books,

and only books.

My favourites,

 are the ones,

 where I get a feeling for the person behind the keyboard.

If I want to read a “stranger’s” view,

 I’ll read The New York Times book review,

and I do.

I find the reading of book blogs more intimate,

 and I trust some bloggers much more than traditional reviews.

I would imagine that over the past few months,

you have gotten an idea of what I am like.

As a bookseller,

 I get to recommend based on a person’s tastes and interests,

I love that.

When someone comes back,

 and tells me how much they enjoyed a book I recommended,

it always brings a smile to my face.

I say to myself,

 job well done.

With the blog,

 it’s more personal,

 because these are the books I choose,

that I care about.

Oddly, the posts I feel most passion about,

 are rarely the ones I get feedback on.

I get feedback on the funny ones,

 Elements Of Butch Style etc,

or book reviews.

I wonder if that means,

 that readers would prefer I stick to those,

 and not talk about,

 feelings and family and nostalgia and book love?

I don’t know,

What do you girls think?

I have enjoyed this journey so far and intend to keep going.

Hopefully you will stay with me and tell me if I slip.

Thank You.

Later girls


Linda Fairstein and Book Club reminder.

Good morning, all.

Today is my day off,

 and as usual I have a million things to do.

After completing 900,000 of them,

 I will be starting Linda Fairstein’s Hell Gate.

As I mentioned in an earlier post,

Linda Fairstein has been a favourite for years.

I don’t remember how or when I discovered her.

 Her main character is Alex Cooper,

Alex is an assistant DA,

for the New York district attorney’s office.

One of the largest if not the largest in the U.S.

She prosecutes sex crimes and murder with a sexual element.

Alex is a fabulous character,

she comes from a rich family, has a first class education,

loves Ballet and the law.

Given her education , experience and money,

she could practice with any firm,

but, chooses to prosecute bad people and help victims.

You gotta love that.

My favourite secondary character is Mike Chapman,

 homicide detective extraordinaire.

Mike is a history freak and a complex, caring man.

Both characters share some of my interests,

 and  both are Jeopardy freaks .

The reason I like the Alex Cooper books so much,

 is that Fairstein herself,

 was a sex crimes prosecutor for over two decades.

So, her credentials are top notch.

Also, she has a light touch with very difficult material.

Her books are always realistic without being macabre.

I especially like learning about New York history.

In one of the novels,

 I learned about the islands around Manhattan,

 and their colourful and sometimes tragic past.

In another, I learned all about the miles of underground vaults in between

the Metropolitan Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Really interesting stuff.

I love history but,

only like contemporary mysteries,

 this series is the best of both worlds.

I will review later this week.

Btw, don’t forget The Mere Future by Sarah Schulman,

 is the November book for Book Club.

Hopefully some of you will read it and participate.

Later girls


Let’s talk in a few days

Well, it’s still grey.


The Canadiens won,


 I was worried they would get the November blues:-)

I’m reading quite a bit but,

 haven’t finished anything in a few days.

I took out a few mysteries from the library,

sure fire pick me upers for me.

Bartholomew Gill,  Death Of An Irish Tinker,

which I am shocked to say I haven’t read.

I thought I had read all of Gill’s Peter McGarr series.

It is fabulous and set in Dublin.

Also, I took out the latest Linda Fairstein, Hell Gate.

With Fairstein,

 you get truly likeable characters and credibility,


 you learn tons about New York City.

For an armchair traveller such as myself,

 they are precious.

 I have loved both Gill and Fairstein for years.

In a few days I’ll tell you why.

Later girls


Desert Island Books

What books would I want to have on a desert island?

I have always found that to be a interesting game to play with myself.

In a perfect world, fantasy world that is,

I would land on an island populated sparsely,

 with women.

I would wash on to the beach,

 closely followed by my giant steamer trunk,  

 filled with books.

The desert island game would then become,

 Fantasy Island.

No, but, seriously.

I have considered this game many times over the years,

played it with friends,

with customers.

To make it interesting I take five books,

 two are very small.

All would fit in an overnight bag.

Obviously, a Kindle or some such device would be great,

 because of storage capabilities but,

there is no electricity or power sources on a desert island,

and I’m no engineer.

Number one,

84 Charing Cross Road  because I love this book,

also it is tiny.

Number two, W. Somerset Maugham Collected Short Stories Volume 4

Again tiny,

 and it contains my all time favourite short story,

 The Book Bag.

I would bring my favourite novel by my favourite novelist.

The World According To Garp by John Irving.

Also I would bring Rat Bohemia by Sarah Schulman.

I see it as a work of staggering power and originality.

Schulman is one of the best writers I have ever read,

 and I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my life rereading her.

So, that’s four.

I am very comfortable with these choices.

The fifth is tough.

The situation deserves analysis,

since I have recently been accused of over analysing,

I should figure this out.

I believe the fifth book should be a book I have never read,

just for the sheer discovery factor.

Also, it should be an acknowledged classic,

 great work of literature.

It should be a tough read,

 to keep me thinking, stimulated and prevent Alzheimer’s.

So upon analysis and reflection,

 I have narrowed it down to three,

Moby Dick, Ulysses or War and Peace.

I have read none of these,

all are considered great and,

 have been on my to be read at some point in my life, list.

All are one volume,

 and fit the requirement of the overnight bag size.

So it comes down to,

 do I want to spend the remainder of my days with,

a stoic New Englander, a weird Irishman or a Russian Count.

Do I want to read about obsession and the slaughter of Whales,

a drunken and poetic odyssey,

or the horror and heroism of war.

I think I would opt for Ulysses.

A hard and long read but, based on nothing but,

second hand info,

 a happier read.

If any of you,

 play or have ever played this game,

let me know your choices,

it would be fun.

Later girls


Words are important

The weather is amazing.

Fifteen degrees Celsius,

 October 27 Th,

 in  Montreal.


The Canadiens are on a roll,

number one team in the East.

Double wow.

I’m still reading  My Year Of Meats.

The more I read it, the more I like it.

Strange and original.

More on November 1 st,

our Book Club date.

When I started this blog it was to discuss books.

What I read and what I thought of it.

I have no special credentials to critique books,

and I regard my posts on my readings as appreciations,

rather than reviews.

My objective is to share my love of books. 

But, as in all things in life,

 it has evolved.

After a few months, I changed the subtitle to,

Books and Life from this Butch’s perspective.

I enjoy the process of letting you all,

 know what’s on my mind.

It helps me to get a grasp on it.

As I mentioned in a previous post,

I have been in a reading slump,


lately you have been subjected to,

 more Ramblings than book talk.

My sincerest apologies.

What I wanted to write about tonight,

 is related to books,

sort of…

The importance of words.

I believe in words.

Their meanings, their nuances.

I am neither an academic, nor a wordsmith.

But, I love words.

I endeavour to use them well.

Of course, I don’t always succeed.

The fact that I live in two languages,

 is occasionally a hindrance to my proper usage.

I think the French sometimes creeps in.

Words are important.

They can change the world, they can help to right injustice.

Yes We Can.

I Have a Dream.

They can empower, they can enlighten.

The Personal is Political.


They can change the course of History, they can inspire.

We Have nothing to fear, but, fear itself.

Ask not what your country can do for you, but, what you can do for your country.

I love words, spoken, written and read.

I despise the out of context.

The twisting of words.

Spin doctors and twenty four hour news channels,

 are a disservice to words and the truth.

Words aren’t pretzels,

 they are not meant to be twisted.

People who twist words, don’t play fair.

Enough soapbox for tonight.

Later girls


*The highlighted quotes are from memory and, perhaps, imperfect.

But, words no matter how important are also, imperfect.

Library Visit

Today was one of my regular library visits.

I had a whole bunch of books to bring back,

very heavy.

Some of those books I reviewed and really enjoyed.

The Collected Stories Of Raymond Carver and James Agee’s Death In The Family.

Both wonderful and well worth reading.

I had also taken out a Scandinavian mystery for mom, Joe Nesbo.

She didn’t like it but, she did love the Peter Robinson from the same visit.

I also enjoy Robinson,

his Inspector Banks is as interesting as Rankin’ s Rebus.

Today I got Philip Kerr’ s  Berlin Noir,

 which is a mystery trilogy set in Berlin in the thirties.

There has been major enthusiasm about this series.

That one is for mom but, I hope to have time to read it as well.

In my continued quest to read all things James Agee.

I have checked out Agee: Film Writing and Selected Journalism.

Cinema is one of my great loves.

I have often heard James Agee referred to as a master of film criticism.

I guess I’ll find out if I agree.

Several months ago,

 I read a book by Larry McMurtry,

Books: A Memoir.

I enjoyed it immensely and told myself I should read more McMurtry.

Lonesome Dove is supposed to be masterful and his best work.

Honestly, it’ s too big,

 I don’t want to read a book that is over 700 pages right now.

Too many in my to read pile.

So, I took out Cadillac Jack, about a rodeo cowboy,

 who becomes a antique scout,

a picker,

sounds like a hoot.

I enjoy the world of antiques.

I will as usual keep you all updated.

Take Care

Later girls


Reading and hockey updates

Still grey and damp.

I’m not going to complain at least it’s not 40 degrees Celsius.

The Canadiens have lost 2 of their first 3, it’s OK still pre-season.

The bookstore has been quiet, it will pick up.

Yesterday, this really nice woman I know from the neighborhood,

brought in  a whole bunch of books,

 and among them,

 was a dark blue leather bound Oscar Wilde, Stories.

This book is the perfect size to take on my train trip to Toronto.

It’s only 8 by 5 and contains The Picture Of Dorian Gray and many other stories.

I  have never read any Oscar Wilde.

By, the time I get back from Toronto I will have.

I finished the Carver collection and I really loved it,

 minimalism at it’s best.

I’m almost finished  A Death In The Family  by James Agee,

I’ve cried a few times,

 it is poignant , not sentimental, raw. 

I also started My Year Of Meats,

 which I will be reading for my own version of a book club.

Well, I have to get ready.

Going to a family lunch/dinner for my favourite cousin’s birthday.

Later girls