Friday, October 16, 2015


Guys my reading life right now is basically confined to my subway commute to work and lunch breaks.

I have a deadline November 1 and 1 on Dec 1 so my entire life is writing. Well, also it was thanksgiving last weekend and also the Blue Jays are doing really well. So there *is* some baseball in it.

A man should know when there's a woman in the room

I have never met a girl (including myself) who did not long to be beautiful, who did not pray for her potential to reveal itself. When a girl is beautiful she gets to pick--- she never has to wait for someone to choose her. There is so much power in doing the choosing

Time stops when we get what we want

"Somebody! Wake up, Buster, I'm not the type of woman for a "somebody"

I am watching something perfect and beautiful and I am not a part of it 

Women love with their ears and men with their eyes

I don't know what Jack is seeing when he looks at me. I'm not particularly special and to me lucky is special.

It isn't funny to play on a woman's station in life. As though she is somehow responsible for being married or being alone! Sometimes things happen in life, the pieces move around so that the game can't go your way

Getting married--is that happiness? Or is it just a container to keep happiness in?

When all is said and done he is still a man and men just don't understand.

This week at the recommendation of a friend who saw the film ( that is NOT playing ANYWHERE in Canada. weird) I read Adriana Trigiani's Big Stone Gap.  It immediately reminded me of Billie Letts and I quite enjoyed the quirky characters inhabiting the eponymous town in the late 70s.

I very much identified with our narrator and local pharmacist Ave Maria Mulligan who feels that something is about to happen before her 36 birthday.  Ave Maria is very much the town spinster but also very much torn between her past and her identity as a foreigner (her mother emigrated from Italy and worked as the town seamstress for years) and her identity as a woman who just cannot seem to speak the language of men.

The men in her life include the charming and gentlemanly town residents: the brothers who run her odd jobs, Spec who works Red Cross duty, a reverend who preaches fire and brimstone with the aid of threatening live snakes and her best friend Theodore Tipton.

There is also Jack Mac, a local miner who is exactly Ave Maria's age and just as single.  

This is a quiet book. A book to sink into . Luckily for me, there are several sequels.  

Why must I still see myself in competition with him? Shouldn't I be content to be a wife and mother? (No, Molly, blame Daniel)

Why couldn't a woman likewise do what she loved and had a talent for? Why did we all have to accept that our lot was to be wives and mothers and to want nothing more?
I also read The Edge of Dreams, the most recent Molly Murphy mystery. I love Molly Murphy and I am especially interested in how Bowen toys with the powerplay between the smart and feisty Molly now that she is a wife and mother in a time where women were shrouded in domestic expectations.   Daniel Sullivan, her husband,  Police Captain and staunch traditionalist is problematic for me.... but realistically so.  Let's face it, Daniel hasn't been a swoon worthy hero from the start and that is part of why I like this series.  If he were dashing and perfect the series would experience a different timbre, Molly would not be able to assert herself as the more intelligent of the two and things would wade deep in cliches.   As per always, Molly's lesbian neighbours Sid and Gus are delightfully suffragette and Bohemian and she sneaks over the street in Patchen Place, baby in tow despite the raised eyebrows of Daniel and her mother in law.

Daniel needs to get it together though. He wants so much for Molly to fit the bill as an officer's wife and a champion of the society he is a part of but he clearly didn't marry a woman who fit that mold.  And why would he? It was always Molly's spark and spirit that allured him.  Right now, the reader has to muddle through a Daniel in transition realizing that while surfacely he wants a pitch perfect Molly,a part deep down inside of him desperately wanted to marry the smart fiery investigator who can match his wits and beat him at his own game.  Hurry up, Daniel. You're starting to make me yell at you.

A gentleman must always be so well dressed that his clothes are never observed at all.

I then read House of Thieves by Charles Balfour which was a fast historical fiction about an architect who is pulled into organized crime to pay off his son's gambling debts. While I felt the prose a tad too light and breezy for the subject matter and historical setting, I much appreciated stealing into New York on the brink: a shrine of rich and affluent people, the gangs interwoven, tightening like tangled wires and slowly undercutting the wealthy class.

The Necropolis Railway, railway of the dead. Surely, Florence McCleland thought, there was no better place to plant a bomb.

I also read the Insanity of Murder: the most recent installment in the Dody McCleland series by Felicity Young. I love powerful women doing men's jobs and of course Dody fits the bill.    Dody is a doctor with a penchant for being able to stomach gruesome medical crises. In this case, crime hits close to home as she worries for her suffragette sister.  She also confronts her palpable attraction and love for Investigator Matthew Pike.

I love mysteries with strong women and an undercurrent of romance and I confess that this was the first in the series I had read ( thanks, Netgalley and Harper Collins). I look forward to going back and reading the others that I purchased after my enjoyment of this one :)