Musings on city writers

The weather today,

was windy and brisk,

a nice April day.

I went to the library,

brought back,

those Jane Rules,

she’s a good writer,


right now,

her stuff,

just isn’t,

speaking to me.

I made it through most,

of the,

Chatwin biography,

interesting man,

an original,

free thinker,


I think I should,

read his novels,

I like novels.

I just don’t enjoy,

biography and non-fiction,

like I used to.

In all readers lives,

there are phases,

perhaps my,

biography phase,

has come and gone,


for the,

foreseeable future,


I finished Cakes and Ale,

I loved it,



is one of the few authors,

I can read more,

than once,

and enjoy,

of course,

there is John Irving,


he’s special to me,

kind of like,


and cats:-)

In January,

I read a novel by,

Bernard Malamud,

The Tenants,

it was one of those,

bottom of the box books,

I was surprised at how much,

I liked it.

So, on Saturday,

once it started,



business dried up,

so to speak,

I discovered another,

Malamud on my shelves,

The Associate,

again a  novel,

about a tortured,


Jewish man,

in Brooklyn.

I started it,

then and there.

I have a thing,

for Brooklyn,

I always,


don’t ask,

I don’t know.

I also have a thing,

for New York writers,

I love the hope and yearning,

buried under cynicism,

you have to dig for it,


it’s there.

City people appear,

more jaded,


they aren’t,

they are just a little,

more cautious,

which they hide,

under bluster,

they want just,

as much,



they expect less.


a result,

of lack of,

fresh air,

green space,


real quiet.

Never really,


in the city,

never completely,

dark either,

light polution,

noise polution,

air polution,

makes all us,

city folk,

a little crazy:-)


New York,

that’s a special,


the model,

of such,


to me New York,

has always been,

the microcosm,

of American society,


that’s good about it,


everything rotten,

as well.

To me they are,


North American city.

As a Quebecer,

a Montrealer,

I am a North American,

of a different stripe,

I live in a French city,

on an English,

mostly American,


a weird combination,

strangely enough,

these writers,





help me give texture,

to my experience.

I like their hard,

intellectual shell,

I like their,

mal de vivre,


want of a better world,

in spite of the dirt,



their hope,

for a better,


in spite of,

constant examples,

of the failures,

of society’s experiments,

their movement,

their imobility.

I find hope,

in their hopelessness…

This probably makes no sense.

I’ll have to think on it,

some more.


I’ll be reading Malamud.

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


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


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