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Ain’t no party like an s club party!!!! Or book club party!!


Did you get S Club 7 in the US?? If not then definitely ignore the title of this post. In east use of the these: Hi Book Nerds, let’s open our brains together and talk about Patti Smith, or Man, don’t you wish you were more like Patti Smith now?, or Yay! Our First Book Club Chat! Any of those could work. Or you could add your own entirely. Up to you! Also the picture above is all of us.

Okay so as I said before when I opened my big mouth about this book club is that I am low brow and I have no idea how a book club actually works. I googled it but they all make it sound super serious and like school. I didn’t like school, but I like our book club. So let’s make it up.

Honestly, when I first started reading this I got kinda self conscious about making this book our first book club book. I read Patti’s other book Just Kids and I loooooved every page of it. But when I first started this book I was a little in my own head about getting you guys to read it. I thought maybe it was a bit too artsy and too cool for me. Obviously Patti is an artists artist so that’s just her language. And I found it a bit whimsical and dreamy for the first few chapters how she goes into such great detail about some of the smallest things that sometimes I forgot what I was even reading about. I’m also an idiot with the attention span of a Chinese fighting fish. But once I was mentally submerged into it I felt like the rhythm changed and then I was following it on a more linear line.

Okay so here’s some of the bidnezzzz that I was wrapping my little brain around during M Train. I made notes in my phone!!! NOTES IN MY PHONE….I only do that for my passwords. And now you darling pets!

In fact. I’m gonn copy and paste my notes I made so that a.) you can see I did my homework and b.) I’m kinda lazy but I’ll follow up with these.

“Mentions of the killing and Sarah linden – wearing her dumpy fair isle sweaters as a moral vest – “animal crackers” pg46

Her love of crime dramas

Why is aRaven like a writing desk? Mad hatter’s riddle. Because of the ink I’m sure of it “the Well” pg 93 finally!!

Talks about her fancy friends like Burroughs as if she’s not also the effing coolest

How I lost the windup bird chapter ( goes to Coney Island (Rockaways) to see Zac from the cafe and it actually conjured up a lot of memories for me. Going to Coney Island w my mom, I could almost smell it. And then thinking of what it’s like to be in New York for Memorial Day Weekend. One of my favorite memories of being in NY. Eating hotdogs in Greenwich, drinking beers all day and sitting in my window sill w J watching the fireworks from all of the boroughs

Her travels to Japan to start the new year. How nice to just go somewhere exotic with a mild plan and make it work.
Also in Mexico City she arrived and had Japanese type food- wasabi. Then gets to Japan and orders Chinese

“How Linden Kills the Thing She Loves” this chapter. My last chunk of the book to finish and just today I was having a conversation with J about how when you read a book and the character or setting lives with you for a while. Strikes me as funny that that’s what Patti was feeling about Sarah Linden and how great work lingers with you.

“A Flemish Madonna with the eyes of a woman from the backwoods who has slept with the devil” – great line”

Okay so if you haven’t watched the series The Killing, do her constant references of the show throw you off? And if you haven’t watched The Killing- you need to sort this out like yesterday! It’s amazing. And Holder is fantastic. She mentions Linden wayyyy more though. And Linden reminds me a lot of what Ellen Page could grow into. Physically. She’s already one of my favorite actresses and has been since like, The Tracy Fragments, Mouth, Hard Candy and of course Trailer Park Boys. She’s so damn good!! A Canadian treasure if you will. Anyway, back to the Killing- I think if you hadn’t watched the show you’d be pretty confused because it’s really the most common tread. Aside from her husband Fred of course.

Next thing. It’s cool to me that someone like Patti Smith just seems so normal aside from being a genius. She just lives her life on 6th st drinking her black coffee, eating her toast and olive oil and being cool enough to wear a watch cap. I don’t even know what that is. I thought it was like a sleeping cap from the 30’s or something. So shout out to Google. But anyways it’s fascinating how she wants to just go and sit and interview Bobby Fischer, or take pictures of Frida’s crutches and just have actual conversations with William Burroughs. Does she know how cool he is? Or is it just that he’s a total peer and she give zero effs? She’s probably fresh out of effs to give. Respect.

I really do love when a book strikes a chord with you. This book was honestly a bit of a struggle for me get into, but it was so worth it. I find any time there’s a book I’m a little ho hum on it ends up being a book I’ll think about for years. Not in a way that I’m thinking about how it unfolded necessarily but more like how when you go on a vacation and you just fondly remember those Mai Thai’s and afternoon nachos and sunsets or the concierge that spoke no English. It just kinda lives with you.

I’m a little jealous that Patti is the kind of person that makes New York what it is. The texture and the landscape of what makes New York magic is from people like her. With their cafes they spend all their time in that are off the path of SoHo, away from 5th ave and just tucked away into a pocket in Alphabet City or something. No one knows or really cares about it except for the people that are there every day. She could sit on her stoop and watch the drunk kids stumble home from the Lower East Side.

I lived in Queens and I loved it! I loved the neighborhood of Astoria and I loved my apartment, but it was still a 15 min subway ride into Manhattan. I love the grungy dirty beat down side of New York. It’ll always be magic to me. The fast paced, rude, hustle of the city it amazing. And now I absolutely love living in the desert, it’s such a different lifestyle and one that I’m so ready to embrace. I can park my car and drive to a strip mall and have a backyard. Oh and the sun’s always out. I’ll take that!! But sometimes I miss New York, so thanks to Patti for taking me back there. It was fun!!

Okay so this is pretty much a diatribe on my part. This is where we open the conversation to you guys. Have a chit chat, a chat chit. Whatever you guys want. What did this book make you think about?

spill it!!


xx Renée




34 Comments on “Ain’t no party like an s club party!!!! Or book club party!!”

  1. Loved your review. I’ve never been to New York, so thank you for sharing your own experience, and hers. It brought a whole new perspective on such a mysterious city.

    1. I’m rather surprised that most found the beginning slow when I found it the most intriguing. When offered a trip anywhere in the world, wouldn’t you choose the Eiffel Tower, or the vineyards of Italy? Who chooses to trek through the pouring rain,to a French penal colony, to gather dirt and stones? Who does that? At first sight it seems bizarre, until you realize it was words on a page; an author, that so moved her she was compelled; driven to do so. Aha, Books!

  2. Haven’t read this one as didn’t know about your book club! I want to post for the next one though. What are you planning on reading next. Set myself a goal of 100 books this year. BTW I’m from the UK so loving the S Club reference!

  3. Ive never heard of the book but does sound amaze. But can i say, i definitely know S club 7!!! “Reach for the stars, Climb every mountain higher….” sorry I’m British lol xx

  4. How can u not want to read M train, she is a women who has experienced so much her music her poetry her books all her travels I find it inspiring!

  5. I struggled to get through the book, it’s stream of consciousness style not exactly my cup of tea. But as I read, I couldn’the help but compare my life to hers. Not the specifics obviously, I am from the south and have never been to New York city so that is right out but I guess to how she lived her life. If I were to write stories of my life would there be anything to tell, or is it all in how you see it? She speaks of locations almost like lovers. That I can understand, places that just strike you, moments the grip you tight. I don’t share her obsession with crime shows but I have my own obsessions with illogical things.

    So if you had asked me in the first 20 pages if I liked it I would have made a face and said no. But around page 80 or so, I surfaced for air and looked at the world around me, different for having seen her world through her eyes.

    *shrug* It’s hard to explain. Thank you for choosing it. I most definitely would not have read it on my own, but I feel like perhaps I have gained something.

  6. First off your “S Club” made smile and laugh at childhood memories so thanks for that. Second off onto the book. I actually still have about 20 pages left to go, but have of notes written down so far. Just as I did with her book, Just Kids, which I loved beyond words. I agree the beginning didn’t immediately strike a chord with me but my love/obsession for Patti, has kept me interested in it.

    I was struck too by how normal she makes herself seem, when I’m just looking at the page I’m currently on and thinking you’re just too cool for words!

    I’ve never been New York, at least not yet. I’ve always wanted too and she constantly reminds me of what I know I would love about a city I’ve yet to set a foot in.

    Her constant references to the show The Following git me each time because I’m a huge fan of the show and just a crime show junkie general.

    Anyways these are just a few of my thoughts right now. I’ll probably add a few few more later when I’m like officially finished with it.

  7. First things first, we definitely had s club 7 in the states haha. One of my favorite shows! Now to book club stuff, I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one struggling with this book. The cool artsy vibe definitely shined through but it was tough to get through her language at times as well as my attention span drifting every few minutes. I had to read the first chapter a few times. Coming off of reading #Girlboss, a book I really resonated with, it was hard to connect with this one. Over time though that changed. I’m still finishing up and I found motivation to do so after watching CBGB and seeing her portrayed in the movie. I had the thought of, ” I want to know more about her”. So I’m going to finish up the book. Overall it is great, just been tough on my peanut brain! Also, I totally didn’t know what the heck a watch cap was either!

    1. She is a very good writer but her views and her travels music and experiences it’s great book to read! It’s starts off really slow but stick with it

  8. I read some of the book on the internet and I thought she was really cool I want to try and get the book to read more but from what I read it was like wow she went through allot and gone many places and still thriveing I hope the next book you choose for us I can get my hands on

  9. I believe that despite her experiences and adventures, Patti sees herself as just another individual, as one of us. That’s what it’s like in our society. We see our favorite tv/movie stars,singers, wrestlers and even favorite commentators like Renee so much on our screens that we have developed the thought they are unreachable to us, that we forget that they are just like us, they are ordinary people who enjoy a cup of coffee in their favorite cafe and eating hot dogs in their favorite city and drinking beers during a firework show with your significant other. The only difference is they have super awesome jobs. Patti was showing that in this novel. I have never been to New York, but this novel will give a pretty good idea of what the city is like and it makes me excited for the day I travel to New York.

  10. in love with the s club reference…still jam out to them from time to time(:

    I unfortunately havent finished the book yet. But so far I’m in love with it! I love how down to earth and artsy Patti is! She makes me want to go on adventures and be all cool and creative (two things i think i am, but in reality probably aren’t lol)

    Im fascinated with Patti’s life and all of her experiences. Its fun to read of her travels and dreams, because yes I would love to own a coffee shop (coffee addict right here!)

  11. I’m still finishing it, but her way with words is absolutely mesmerizing to me. Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised being that she’s Patti Smith. I’m reading it along with Kim Gordon’s Girl In A Band (which I highly recommend) & their level of casual coolness is just fascinating.

  12. Thank you, Renee, for recommending this book. It is one of those that you didn’t know you needed to read but afterwards, you’d feel something was missing if you hadn’t.
    Some of the things that I got from the book were how she was inspired so much to travel to some of the destinations and locations in the books she reads. After reading M Train, I totally want to hang out in New York on 6th ave. in some random cafe. I also realized that she is a major daydreamer and at times, a bit absent-minded, just from reading about some of the things (which many had special meaning) she either left behind or misplaced.
    I had watched The Killing series prior to reading this book, so it did help with some of the references about Linden. It’s a great show and I love Holder, too. Lastly, I now want to read her other books because I love the way she writes and the way she is able to describe ordinary things to make them sound beautiful. Can’t wait for the next book you choose!

      1. My recomendation:
        I just started reading “The Girl on the Train”, by Paula Hawkins. I have a few friends recommend it to me. I’m only on the first chapter but so far it’s an easy read and has kept me interested.

      2. What type of books do u like to read I read love storys murder mystery and much more I love the book horse whisper I have that one and u might like it I have a few books just don’t remember all of them would have to find them

      3. I always recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society when anyone ask for a book rec, long silly name, fantastic book. It tells the true story of the Nazi occupation of the British islands of Guernsey. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and you can’take help but fall in love with the islanders.

        1. I should amend this to say it tells a fake story set during real events. The characters are made up but what they lived through really happened. Fantastic book!

  13. I shall start by admitting I have never been part of a book club before,nor do I have any wish to write a ‘review’ of “M Train,” so I have no idea how this will turn out.

    Patti Smith is not a name that I immediately recognise, rather it’s a name which flashes around in my mind in regards of 70’s New York, not too dissimilar to the jolt in my subconscious I get from seeing a “CBGB” shirt at just about every Camden gig I’ve been too in the past 10 years. Her shows and her photographs have featured in many a Classic Rock Magazine I bought in my teenage years, and yet the only solid knowledge I have thus far is the Springsteen enthused “Because The Night.”
    New York as a whole I am briefly familiar with from previous travel, having spent a number of hours wondering through the middle and lower boroughs of Manhattan and exploring the many influences and cuisine wrapped up in Queens.

    It would seem somewhat strange to start by trying to look for themes in Smith’s writings from an author who states that they do not look for that in others so instead I just want to highlight passages in the book that had the most impact on me.

    Whilst gently progressing with the opening chapters it wasn’t until Smith’s recollection of her seat in the Cafe’Ino being taken by a Fed-ex phoning women with her “oversized red lizard bag” that I found myself immersed in her stories. I didn’t want someone else to be sat in what I had agreed was ‘her seat,’

    “Such dark thoughts for the sake of the corner table.”

    “And may she order a thousand such bags, each one more splendid then the last, delivered and dumbed by FedEx, and may she be trapped by a storeroom’s worth, without food, water or phone.
    “I’m leaving said my conscience.
    “Me too, I said.”

    This whole passage gave me a connection to the author as well as making me laugh heartily, even during my daily commute on a pretty busy bus.

    “The compass was old and rusted but it still worked, connecting the earth and stars. It told me where I was standing and which way was west but not where I was going and nothing of my worth.”

    “Not all dreams need to be realized. That was what Fred used to say.”

    Both of these passages struck something in me and perhaps in times of doubt these are phrases which need to seep into my mind for the forward days.

    “Legends are stories. People interpret them or attach morals to them.”

    Perhaps that is what I am doing with Smith’s words, or am I looking for lessons to relate to my own life through the free flowing, incredibly descriptive prose supplied?

    “Nothing can be truly replicated. Not a love, not a jewel, not a single line.”

    “Please stay forever, I say to the things I know. Don’t go. Don’t grow.”

    Is not the want of the past, of different endings and the fear of change something we all battle daily? For me this is the most striking thing I take from “M Train.” Aside from Patti Smith’s love of investigative drama’s (which I fully understand in regards of Frost and Morse) and her seemingly fascination with death and literal stories; I see in these writings her constant need for routine (particularly when she struggles to find coffee in Japan) and the will to not conform to change.

    “These are modern times, I told myself. But we are not trapped in them.”

    It almost feels that Smith’s fears are recognised when her newly purchased beach bungalow was washed away.

    “ I guess I needed to be reminded how temporary permanency is.”

    With every page I grew to regard her as a great visionary, someone who is enlightened by creativity from the strangest of sources whose small details are what evokes the greatest of reactions. It left me with a number of thoughts in concern of he direction of my own life and somewhat of a reassurance that even the brightest minds experience self doubt and a great need for daily routine.

    It’s also strange how the context of when you are reading something can build your connection to it. |As I got to the chapter entitled “Her name is Sandy” the north of the UK where I reside was experiencing flooding of a large scale. The reaction of the communities and the rebuilding efforts seemed to mirror the stories I heard from friends in effected areas. When Smith travels through Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire in a later chapter, such a place severely effected in this way through which I regularly pass through I knew that this book will be form part of my memories for this time period for a long period to come.

    I didn’t think I would spend a great deal of time in Manhattan when I return to New York in April, however, I will now look to find a small cafe somewhere off 6th to sit in on my last day in the US. I may return with some inspiration, I may leave said establishment with just the after taste of coffee. Who knows?

    My apologies if this comes across the wrong way, I only know one way to write about literature, taken from schooling now ten year’s past. My approach always seems to look for connections to it. It has been a great feeling to read something else then sport’s autobiographies, Russian history bi-epics and commercial thrillers.

    The last note, about two days into reading “M Train” whilst commuting back and forth to my job I had the urge to listen to a cover of “Runaway Train” by Shinedown’s Brent Smith. I didn’t associate these items as joined until the day I finished the book, but having listened to it solely during my reading it must well be.

    For anyone who has taken the time to read my thoughts; thank you.

    1. Trish!! Thank you so much for writing such a detailed response to M Train!! Loved a lot of your insight and reading how it made you feel! Really cool!

  14. I found this book beautiful, even when I struggled with some chapters. It isn’t something I’d have picked up on my own, but I’m glad I did and think it will be a book I think about for a long time.
    Her line, “shard by shard we are released from the tyranny of so-called time” stayed with me as I reflected on her book and how it transitioned from past, present, dream, and reality, and her feelings and memories of the many loved ones she’s lost (in her own life or writers and their grave sites) she writes about. Perhaps the “release from the tyranny of time” allows her to remember the good like its the present and look past the erosion of her life to the future with hope.

  15. I absolutely recommend Super You by Emily V. Gordon for the next book. Alie & Georgia talked about it on their Slumber Party podcast & I’m barely a chapter in & already taking notes. Great read to start the new year!

  16. Have you ever read Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaassen? I just got it the other day and I’m officially obsessed w/it! If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it!💕

  17. I grew up in NY and lived in philly too for a bit. I can relate to beauty of the grunge that you miss. I too nown live the desert life and love it, but yes I miss my cities back east. Books are an amazing escape that can bring those places back to life 🙂

  18. Renee has gotten me inspired to start reading again thank u I’m reading a book that I thought was about vampires but its witch hunters something drew me to keep reading it 🙂

  19. Lol nothing to do with the book more like your style because I’m OBSESSED with it!! Anyway where did you get your sweater that you are wearing in the first book post?

  20. I didn’t know you had started a book club but I did read this about a month ago and I actually really love your thoughts on it — I had read just kids when I first moved to Nyc and it really changed me; i don’t take inspiration lightly ( srsly it’s all encompassing — outside of her writing, her androgynous aesthetic is something I will literally never achieve as a small blonde gal (ya feel me) but I will always admire, so badass) and patti smith is an inspiring woman I truly look up to. she has an amazing talent for telling a remarkable story in a way that makes herself seem unremarkable, thus relate able; but she’s so poetic and romantic, and then you remember, holy fuck this is the god mother of punk. The M train was the perfect follow up for me after just kids; patti smith is a poet & reading her romantic stream of conscious is easier to fall into once you know what you’re getting into. for me it was a great book to read some , put down, pick back up, put down again, pick back up. I truly love the lack of narration and almost short story like narratives of this book. . Living in nyc this book really made me feel at home and inspired me to think about the more romantic and poetic aspects of the city, which tbh are so easily forgotten when you live here, especially in a time when the city has really never seemed bleaker; nowadays the city seems to lack any soul or true artistry (I work in fashion design & I’m still a sellout) but books like this remind you it’s there if ya dig (my artistic vice is music, punk 4life, bk can be alright sometimes🤘). so glad you chose to write about this book, m train really made me want to read murakami (patti’s v persuasive) so I would certainly be down if that’s where this book club was headed 🙌

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