Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


"Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books."

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I'm a slow reader. Right now I'm plodding through two different books so during a slow week, I'll write about the best books I've read this year. One of them is the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I read it about two months ago but it still brings a smile to my face everytime I think about it. It is such a delightful read and everyone I've recommended it to has loved it including Mr. B. It is one of those rare books where you love every single character. They each had their own charm and before the end of the book you'll be wanting so much to be a member of this society.

The novel is set in London and the island of Guernsey in 1946, just after the second world war. It follows the correspondence of a writer, Juliet, and some of the inhabitants of Guernsey who each have their own stories to tell of their life during the war, some of them funny or harrowing but all quite touching. Juliet soon forms long distance friendships with the inhabitants and then decides to write a book about them. The book's title refers to a society some of the islanders formed during the war. The society discussed books and writers, growing closer as they escaped (through books) from the distressing events that surrounded them.

Sadly, the first time author, Mary Ann Shaffer, passed away just before her book was published in 2008. She had been fascinated with Guernsey since she visited it in 1976. Her niece Annie Barrows, helped her finish the book.

The book is filled with wonderful quotes such as the above and below.

"That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book and that tiny thing will lead you on to another book, and another bit will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive--all with no end in sight, and for no reason other than sheer enjoyment."

Isn't this quote so true? And it's even doubly true with book blogging. I find that since reading book blogs and blogging myself, I've increased my to-be-read pile faster than I can read the books. Oh, but it is so enjoyable!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is truly a wonderful book for book lovers. Read it! You won't be disappointed.

12 comments:

  1. I read this book only a little while ago and it is still fresh in my mind, although I had forgotten those particular quotes. I agree about books arriving to-be-read faster than they can be read -definitely a book-blogging peril.

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  2. I love that quote. It must resonate with all of us book lovers...I put the same quote up on my sidebar...I so agree with its truth. It is incredible how quickly my tbr list and my wishlist have grown and I have only made the smallest dent in reading those titles. I think I am set with good reading for quite a while.

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  3. it certainly is one of my favorite reads for the year.

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  4. Hi, Mrs. B! I've been looking for a trade paperback (or even a hardcover) edition of this book for the longest time! All I see are mass market paperbacks. Lately, I find it hard to read the small typeface of these paperbacks.

    Thanks for the review! By the way, would you like to join our book club?

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  5. @Peter-I have a mass market paperback but I saw a trade paperback at a Different Bookstore. What book are you reading for your book club?

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  6. I enjoyed this book a lot; glad u liked it too.

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  7. Hi, Mrs. B! We're reading Pride and Prejudice for this month. The discussion is scheduled on November 21. Also, for this month, even though we have a chosen book (P&P), we'll also be tackling a spin-off of any Austen novel, which members can choose for themselves. I'm reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for the spin-off.

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  8. @Peter -haven't read P&P for years! Would love to join another time. Keep me posted on your next books.

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  9. This is one of my favourite book and I love it. Do try Terence Frisby Kisses on a Postcard - story of two boys evacuated to the country. It is true, Terry and his brother and is sheer delight fromj start to finish

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  10. @Elaine- I've never heard of that book. I'll definitely look it up! Thanks!

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  11. I read this book a couple of months ago-It is truly a very wonderful book. I was also shocked to realize how little I knew about the Channel Islands in WWII. It also made me want to read the essays of Charles Lamb, read some Seneca and made me a bit ashamed of my favorite Poet.

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  12. Absolutely, loved, loved, loved this novel. I knew nothing about the Occupation of the Channel Islands until I read this. And the characters are so engaging.

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