Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review:The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Book Description:
"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers."

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis. he'd come across her name on the flyleaf of a secondhand volume by Charles Lamb. Perhaps she could tell him where he might find more books by this author.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, a unique book club formed in a unique, spur-of-the-moment way: as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the Germans.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the Society's charming, deeply human members, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Through their letters she learns about their island, their taste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds there will change her forever. (from book jacket)

My thoughts:
This has been a highly reviewed book so I will not put in my two cents, except to say that it has been one of my favorite books for the year. I did want to share some of my favorite lines from the book about books.

From Juliet to Dawsey

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

From Juliet to Sidney

"It was amazing to me then, and still is, that so many people who wander into bookshops don't really know what they're after--they only want to look around and hope to see a book that will strike their fancy. And then, being bright enough not to trust the publisher's blurb, they will ask the book clerk the three questions: (1)What is it about? (2)have you read it? (3)Was it any good?

Real dyed-in-the-wool booksellers--like Sophie and me--can't lie. Our faces are always a dead giveaway. A lifted brow or curled lip reveals that it's a poor excuse for a book, and the clever customers ask for a recommendation instead, whereupon we frog-march them over to a particular volume and command them to read it. If they read it and despise it, they'll never come back. But if they like it, they're customers for life."

From Isola Pribby to Juliet
"I didn't like Wuthering Heights at first, but the minute the specter, Cathy, scrabbled her bony fingers on the window glass--I was grasped by the throat and not let go. With that Emily I could hear Heathcliff's pitiful cries upon the moors. I don't believe that after reading such a fine writer as Emily Bronte, I will be happy to read again Miss Amanda Gillyflower's Ill-Used by Candlelight. Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.


  1. Hi, I hopped on over from Rundpinne. What a cute blog AND adorable children!

    I'm glad you liked this book. I won two copies of it and haven't read it yet. In the future if you have any "thought stoppers" I would be interested in hearing about them on my meme, Thursday Thinkers. I loved that quote on your sidebar about reading good stuff LOL -- I wrote it down.
    Have a great day!

  2. I am currently reading this book and loving it. I am certain I am destined to live on an island and this book confirms it even more for me. :) I love the bits of history woven through out. And the indomitable human spirit that is so evident in the characters during and after such tragedy.

  3. I just got my copy of this book through the library. I look forward to reading it after your juicy quotes.

  4. I read this book last year and enjoyed it so much. I still read every review of it - love seeing what others have to say about it! Thanks for posting your review!



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