Friday, January 8, 2010


This has been a rough week. It has snowed every day or every night, the temperatures have been arctic, the winds have been brutal with 50 mph gusts and the wind chills have been down in the minus figures.

Donald has had to plow us out every morning before we could go to work, then we'd still have to wait for the road crews to come plow our road (they have been doing a miraculous job). Today was just too much. This morning besides an additional few inches of fresh snow, it was coming down so hard and the wind was blowing so fiercely we had white-out conditions and we just said the heck with it and stayed home.

And I curled up in bed with a cup of coffee and one of the best books ever.

Every once in awhile you find a book that makes you remember just why you fell in love with reading.

Last year I kept hearing people talk about

I was immediately suspicious and put off. That type of hype always does that to me. I should, however, remember that some of my very favorite books are books I originally shied away from for this very reason. Like - Harry Potter. When I finally got around to buying the first in the series,
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the third was just hitting the shelves to a huge amount of hoopla which I thought was just crazy. Then I settled down to read and was a total goner by page 2 where we find a cat reading a map.

(Note to self: Just because it's popular with a lot of people, doesn't mean it isn't good. Pay attention to that!)

I ignored all the buzz about Guernsey until this year when my friend Judy B. mentioned it. Judy and I seem to gravitate towards the same books and writers and it's always fun when we're able to introduce one another to something or someone new. And I'm indebted to her for nudging me towards this lovely novel.

The story of
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY is told through a series of letters written in 1946. We learn about the German occupation of the island of Guernsey. I'm not really a fan of World War II fiction, and I'm not normally a fan of novels coming at me in the form of letters. For having those two strikes against it, I was sure this book was not going to be my cup of tea. And then there's the title. Too clever,I thought; which would probably mean "too cute." I'm for sure not a fan of "too cute."

Once again, I was wrong. I was immediately hooked. Before I reached page 10, I was giving the book a loud shout-out to my reading friends (most of whom had, of course, already read it).

We do learn about the occupation, and there were horrors. We also meet an amazing cast of characters. They're a gentle, humorous, off-beat group and their stories range from joyfully heart-warming to silly to woefully heart-breaking. But they're all told in a voice that is true, clear, loving and respectful. I smiled, I laughed out loud and I wept. And I put the book down knowing that it's one that I'll cherish and remember forever.

When I talked to my friend Nan about it, she asked (as only Nan could do) "Will I want to buy it in hardback to take to the old folks home with me when I go?"

Yes. She will.

And so will I.

And. If I had pots of money, I'd buy everyone I know a copy. Shoot. I'd buy people I don't know a copy. I'd stand on a corner and pass them out to those who look worthy.

Here are a couple of blurbs - -

"A book-lover's delight, an implicit and sometimes explicit paean to all things literary." - Chicago Sun-Times

"One of those joyful books that celebrate how reading brings people together and sustains them through rough times." - New Orleans Times-Picayune

If you haven't read THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, I hope you will. If you have already, I'd love to hear what you thought.

for full FTC disclosure.
I bought this book.
No payment of any kind has been made for the above stated opinion.


Anonymous said...

Kaye, isn't this book just a delight? I loved it to pieces the first time I read it. It is also available in audio and may I tell you that the audio is wonderful? Four different readers, I think, do all the voices of the characters and they are just marvelous. Do try it if you get a chance. Thank for sharing your thoughts.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Your weather sounds awful. You had the right plan and I guarantee you the one we would have followed had we been there.

Stay warm,

Vicki Lane said...

So many people have told me they love that book -- and I actually like epistolary novels. I'll have to put it on my birthday list.

Stay warm -- It's godawful over my way too.

barbara said...

Hi Kaye,

This was one I caught on Audio book and was so captivated by it that at first I "doled" out bits as rewards to self for - oh, say cleaning the bathroom but then I just said to heck with it and listened in big gulps - recommended it to 35 yr old daughter who loved it as much as I did!

Keep warm, keep shovelling, spring is on its way!


jenny milchman said...

I never heard of it--don't know what that says about me! Thanks for the tip. And stay warm!

Sheila Beaumont said...

Kaye, I finished the book this morning. I loved it! Like you, I was put off by the hype, and I dismissed it as not my sort of book.

Harry Potter was different for me; it definitely was my sort of book (kids' fantasy), so I grabbed it as soon as it came out. But without your enthusiastic recommendation, it's likely I'd never have tried Guernsey... So thank you for cluing me in on what a delightful book it is!

Anonymous said...

I loved the book! I picked it up last January, while waiting to hear back from App. It made the wait worthwhile, because I liked it very much.

I enjoyed meeting you today! Both the dinner and warmer weather sound lovely. You'll be seeing me around more often-I'm leaning toward a philosophy minor.

See ya soon!

-Kelsey M