A good book and nice surprises

I’m reading James Agee’s   A Death In The Family,


His reputation is deserved.

His social realism and characterisations are brilliant.

I am not surprised that it represents a decade’s work.

Philip Roth,

 Ok, I have to say it.


I have given up,

 no more.

I admit defeat, maybe I just don’t get it and you know,

I don’t want to.

I had a lovely evening.

I was expecting to stay home and watch Master chef.

I ended up going to have a beer at a friend’s house.

I have to confide,

 I was apprehensive that perhaps it would be uncomfortable.

I had only met her guy a few times and very briefly.

I knew he was nice,

but beyond that I didn’t know what to expect.

It was very enjoyable and stimulating.

Good company and good conversation always are.

The past week has been filled with pleasant little  surprises.

Walks by the river and intelligent conversations.

After, the summer of Hell,

 perhaps it will be a fall of growth and joy.

Here’s hoping.

Later girls


Happy, cool Labour Day

It’s a beautiful day.

Blue sky.


I’m feeling well and dare I say,

 optimistic about the future.

I got some new books out of the library yesterday.

I kept only one Philip Roth, The Counterlife, which I will attempt to finish.

I don’t like his stuff, it doesn’t speak to me.

I remember reading Portnoy’s Complaint years ago and finding it funny.

But, to be brutally honest it is way too penis centric for me.

Don’t get me wrong I really enjoy a male perspective.

Some of my favourite writers are men.

(Ooh my! that sounds like some of my best friends are Jewish)

But, I love Hemingway and Jack London and John Irving,

 all of whom have a very virile perspective.

Roth is obsessed with  his erections and how big his dick is,


I think most good fiction, reflects the author to a certain extent but,

this is too much.

My blog, my opinion.

So, back to yesterday’s visit to the library.

I checked out an Edeet Ravel novel.

I read one of her books on a friend’s recommendation and

I quite enjoyed it.

The one I took out yesterday is called  A Wall Of Light.

The one I read previously is called Your Sad Eyes and Unforgetable Mouth.

Great title, don’t you think?

I liked it. It had a lyricism to it that I occasionally enjoy.

I also took out a Raymond Carver collection of short Stories.

Speaking of virile.

I read a few short stories so far.

Good stuff.


About people who have,

 not much.

So far I’m liking it.

As usual I’ll let you know.

I’m going for a walk down by the river in the early evening with a new friend.

Should be enjoyable.

She’s a friend.

No rumours, please.

Happy Labour Day, girls.



The love of reading

Well you’re not gonna believe this but,

 it’s actually cool.

I didn’t want to disappoint my loyal readers by not starting with the weather.

 Canuck oblige 🙂

So, I was reading A guy’s moleskin notebook (links mattsviews),

 which I discovered thanks to The Lesbrary (also in links),

 and he participates in these, I guess you would call them blog prompters.

 Musings on Mondays and booking through Thursday, stuff like that.

I don’t really want to tie myself down to formulas,

“I gotta be free, I gotta be me”


I like the idea of an occasional jump start.

So, this week the topic is what book started you on your love of reading.

Obviously, I am paraphrasing.

It got me thinking,

 what book do I recall reading as a child, awoke the reader in me?

The truth?

I’m not sure.

I do however ,

remember my mother bringing home a new copy of 

 The Diary Of Anne Frank.

It changed me.

I don’t recall how old I was, still a child, that I know.

I couldn’t believe how cruel people could be.

I believe, that book unleashed a thirst,

 that to this day has not been quenched.

When I was twelve, thirteen I started reading biographies, mostly of famous women.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Margaret Mead but  also,

 movie stars like Katharine Hepburn and Shelley Winters.

I hardly read biographies any more,

I prefer memoirs, parts of a person’s life from their own very subjective point of view.

Not so interested in the minute details of their childhood.

I like fiction the best.

I have traveled all over the world and through history as well, via fiction.

I’m grateful to my mother for being a reader and for telling me early on,

“When you read you are never bored”

Ain’t it the truth.

Well girls off to read.



Visit to the library

Sunday was my visit to the library.

I wasn’t so lucky with my last batch but,


 that might have been my state of mind.

My mood has improved lately,

 I’m trying to relax and not take things so seriously.

It’s a work in progress.

I couldn’t get into the Somerset Maugham so,

 you gotta know I was in a weird place,

I love Maugham.

Also I found the Muriel Spark trite,

I’m telling you,

 bad mood.

I’ll take them both back out this winter,

 when hopefully I will have clearer perspective.

Took out another Maugham this time around, The Narrow Corner.

A book I have been wanting to read for a while,

 Small Island by Andrea Levy,

 I have heard good things.

A Quebecois book by one of our best authors, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu.

He is a fantastic writer who would undoubtedly be more famous if he was French or American.

 Lastly, Les Laisons Dangereuses which I have been wanting to read for years.

Still have waiting in my pile a book a friend gave me and a loan by another friend.

Will update soon.

I think I’ll start with The Narrow Corner.

Later girls and as always thanks for being there.


Finding comfort in old “Friends”

I’m trying not to feel down but, I’m not really succeeding.

Yesterday, I went to the Grande Bibliotheque.

I visit every 3 weeks or so.

I got a Henning Mankel for my mom, she loves his stuff,


 not so much.

I went with my friend Sylvain he explored and so did I.

I’ve already mentionned how I love to randomly peruse the stacks,

well, quasi randomly,

 I would never peruse in economics or  something like that.

I came across a whole bunch of Muriel Spark’s  that I have never read,

it wasn’t that difficult I have only read two or three.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, left such an impression on me as a teenager.

The movie starring the wonderful Maggie Smith might have left an even bigger impression.

I love books about boarding schools or just private British schools,

 it is one of those inexplicable things,

 like my love for books about Himalayan exploration,

 go figure.

Anyway, Miss Jean Brodie, Goodbye Mr Chips and To Serve Them All My days

I would re-read in a heartbeat.

Funny, how things impress you at a young age.

Twenty years ago or so, I watched The Prime Of  Miss Jean Brodie, with my ex.

She had never seen it and I wanted to share it with her.

 Now, my ex is nothing like me,

 very logical, very Cartesian.

I think, by now you guys know, that I am a hopeless romantic.

So, she says to me, ” how can you admire that character, she’s  a bloody fascist.”

I was deeply offended but, on second look she was  right, she usually is.

Miss Brodie is blinded by beauty and ideal she doesn’t see the ugly,

 in her or in others.

If you haven’t read it you should, it is slim and a quick read.

Most, of Spark’s books are slim and yet, they are dense and full of the darkest irony.

I’m not sure I always get her irony but, I enjoy trying.

The novel I picked up yesterday is called,  The Girls Of Slender Means.

I have seen it on a list of  must read books. I’ll let you know.

Another book I brought home is, The Christmas Holiday  by Somerset Maugham.

Somerset Maugham is one of my favorite writers.

 I’m shocked to notice that I have never mentioned this fact.

I have read many of his books–  novels and memoirs as well as numerous short stories.

I think he is a master.

The book I picked up yesterday, is called Christmas Holiday  and I had never heard of it.

I love his style,

 precise, never flowery and yet not stark like Hemingway.

I also love the fact that he never rewrites the same book twice.

Don’t get me wrong I like coming back to a familiar world  ( Harry Potter)

or to an author who uses recurrent symbolism  ( John Irving-bears, Vienna and wrestling).

Maugham is an old pro, was he died in 1965,

who I am always willing to follow on a journey through the human psyche.

Although, I have read about twenty of his books , only one I didn’t enjoy, The Magician.

I have no interest in the paranormal, OK, little interest.

Should be finished Finders Keepers, the Karin Kallmaker, today.

I’ll have quite a bit to say about it.

Later girls

take care

and don’t get heat stroke


I always knew I was weird

My reading has been all over the map lately.

 Last night I started reading a book of letters by James Agee.

 I have never read James Agee, although, I have been meaning to for years.

 He wrote, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men which features photographs by my favorite photographer,

Walker Evans.

 This book is an homage to the working people and the poor in Depression era USA.

 I heard about Agee some time ago,probably on PBS.

 He was also a fantastic movie critic and his work: critique, prose and poetry is collected  in two volumes of

 The Library Of America.

I had one of the volumes in the bookstore a couple of years ago, it went so fast I barely had time to look at it.

 Ever since,I have been on the lookout, so on my last visit of the Grande Bibliotheque,

 I spotted this book of letters, so I took it out.

 I like to wander around quasi aimlessly, it’s fun and surprising.

 I figured it would give me an idea of his voice, it’s terrific.

 Really gives insight into the ups and downs of the creative process and how difficult it is to earn a living.

 I will definetly be reading more of his work.

 But, the truly weird part —this book has been part of the collection since 1962 and

I am the first person to take it out.

I know Montreal is a mostly French speaking city, but still…

I always new I was weird, odd, as my friend Jane would say a Martian?

I guess I am distinct in a distinct society.  lol.

Later girls


Books are my Solace

Whenever life gets me down or kicks me in the face, books are my solace.

The British writer Ruth Rendell once said      “Some say life’s the thing, I— prefer reading”

That statement although a slight exaggeration, has a lot of truth.

Books rarely let you down. Even if, for whatever reason, they don’t appeal to you, you can always find something

enjoyable about them. The cover, the smell—– whatever. A book is boring? You get another book. No feelings are

hurt– there are no misinterpretations.  Books never think you’re cold or cerebral , they set forth stories, ideas, theories—that you “buy” or not.

Over the years a few  books stand out  in the bringing of solace and pleasure.

Anything by John Irving, most especially The World According To Garp.

My top book for old sweater comfort by a roaring fire is,  84 Charing Cross Road.     

I first discovered this book in a way I often do,  through a really good movie.

84 Charing Cross Road,  was a intelligent feel good movie starring the great, and sorely missed, Anne Bancroft and the very touching Anthony Hopkins. I saw this movie, loved it, and went on living my life.

Years later, I came upon an article that delighted over the book   (which enjoys a small cult following)

and the same week a customer of mine, who has impeccable taste, mentioned it. I went out the next day and bought a copy.  I have read it at least twenty times since. The book is a correspondence between a New York writer, Helene Hanff and a London bookseller, Frank Doel. Frank works for Marks and Co. booksellers located at 84 Charing Cross Road. Their correspondence spans over 30 years, it is delightful, humorous and irresistible to the lover of books.

I have since read Hanff’s other books, I liked them, she’s funny and well-read, but, Charing Cross is to me unique in it’s warmth and succinctness. It’s a small book, novella length and thus can be read and re-read, it is not a massive undertaking. A couple of hours spent with an old “friend”. 

I can’t tell you how much it has helped me over the tough times over the years

Later girls


this post also appears at bookishinmtl

Gonna get me some classics

Tomorrow I’m going to the bookstore, to shop for some classics.

You would think, I would like to get away from bookstores but, what can I say it’s a disease.

I want to pick up Stone Butch Blues, I don’t understand how come I have never read it, puzzling.

I’m also going to pick up, Ties That Bind, the Sarah Schulman non-fiction. I believe Sarah Schulman is one of the most daring and thought provoking writers I have ever read. I’m really looking forward to it. In the coming weeks I plan on posting some thoughts on her books and Stone Butch Blues. So tomorrow I spend what is left of the gift certificates.

Later girls


Jane Austen, I love her.

Yes, I know Jane Austen is not a lesbian.

 I suppose also that she is not considered terribly butch.

 I like many authors who could be considered butch in both senses of the word (macho and queer),

 think Hemingway, London and Sarah Schulman.

Deep inside of my romantic heart, I also have a yearning for girl stuff.

I don’t mean Shopaholic and stuff  (although Bridget Jones’s diary is hilarious), I mean classic female Lit.

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is to me , a magical novel that I never tire of reading.

I discovered it when I was way past an  impressionable age and yet I read it, and I am twelve again. 

My favorite early female novelist is, Jane Austen.

A few years ago my mom and I decided that we would read all of Austen’s novels.

It was by no means a gargantuan task, there are only six Austen novels.

Pride and Prejudice,

Sense and Sensibility,


Mansfield Park,

Northanger Abbey,



The only one I had read was Pride and Prejudice when I was a teenager. I remember thinking it was O.K.

I flew through Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, I loved them.

I liked Mansfield Park. I had a lot of trouble with Emma, I found the heroine extremely annoying.

The one I liked the most was Persuasion, it seemed to me to be a mature woman’s Pride and Prejudice.

I couldn’t make it through Northanger Abbey.

 I can’t stand gothic.

I’ve tried, it just doesn’t work for me.

I don’t like vampires either.

I’m probably in a minority there, as both heterosexual women, as well as lesbians find vampires really sexy.

( One exception a story by Katherine V Forrest about a lesbian vampire on a space ship, that was really hot.)

Back to Austen. I love her work.

 Her novels seem to be about,    not much.

Women looking to marry, going to parties.

Yet,  Austen is an astute observer of her times and has a real eye for illuminating human nature.  

She wrote these novels in the 18 th century and they  are still fresh and insightfull today.

Austen is a quiet pleasure, sunday afternoon under a tree without a care in the world.

I had to learn about those kinds of pleasures before I could enjoy her.

So, for my recent 45 th birthday, I bought myself a copy of Northanger Abbey.

 This edition also includes: Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sandition. Little known or unpublished in her life time works.

My summer project is to read them. I’ll let  you know what I think.

I figure all those rabid Jane Austen fans can’t be wrong. Jane is no fad, she is a classic.

Later girls


The two kates of lesbian detective fiction

It is unseasonably hot in Montreal right now.

I am an insomniac under the best of circumstances, but this heat is making me cranky and crazy.

So what to do? 

Read, what else.

I read mysteries, I love them.

Yeah, I read a lot of things but, mysteries are a particular fascination of mine.

Some of my favorites are: Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Sara Paretsky and Carol O’Connell.

I really like Mysteries with female detectives and if they happen to be lesbians, all the better.

I already said I enjoy romance because it gives me hope.

 With mysteries it is about smart, tough, women struggling with incredibly difficult jobs in worlds rampant with sexism and homophobia and, making it.

Two of my favorite dyke detectives are Laurie R King’s, Kate Martinelli and Katherine V forrest’s , Kate Delafield.

Both are homicide detectives, Martinelli in San Francisco and Delafield in Los Angeles.

Both are closeted because of the danger of them being out.

 Both struggle to keep relationships afloat.

Both are good and profoundly flawed people

 and I love them,

 they kick ass. 

The women who write these books are mature, thoughtful and accomplished writers.

King, I believe is straight and Forrest is a lesbian icon and it makes no difference one is as credible as the other.

I think there should be more lesbian fiction heroines.

 I’m glad these two are pretty mainstream as far as mysteries are concerned. 

I often suggest them to customers and use them as a litmust test for their tolerance.

These are just preliminary thoughts on lesbian mysteries.

More soon

Later guys