Aug 5, 2009

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

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows' The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a novel in letters between writer Juliet Ashton, her friends Sidney and Sophia, and her new friends from the Guernsey Channel Islands.

Ashton is in the midst of a book tour for a collection of her WWII articles under the pseudonym Izzy Bickerstaff. However, she is floundering on the topic for her next book, which is opportune for Ashton who begins to write articles for the Times about the practical, moral, and philosophical value of reading when she receives an unexpected letter of request from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey.

She begins getting letters from the remaining residents of Guernsey and their exploits as part of a literary society during the German occupation. These initial letters help with her series of articles and spur her muse into action.

"Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers." (Page 10)

Like the above quote, this novel is one of those books that will hone in on the perfect reader. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is chock full of bookish quotes and must have been written with the love of books in mind. Beyond the WWII details, the rationing, the tip-toeing around German officers, and the loss of good friends shipped off to concentration camps, this is a novel about a writer who blooms in the countryside among new friends and new scenery.

"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?" (Page 16)

"The Library roof was some distance away from Juliet's post, but she was so aghast by the destruction of her precious books that she sprinted toward the flames--as if single-handedly deliver the Library from its fate!" (Page 43)

"Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books." (Page 53)

Readers will easily keep track of the numerous characters in this novel because each letter has an introduction line of who the letter is from and to whom it is addressed. Barrows and Shaffer have crafted quirky individuals with lively personalities from Dawsey and his quiet persuasive qualities to Isola and her outgoing nature. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is about how books can change lives and how people can impact one another's lives.

This is one of the best books I've read in 2009.

Also Reviewed By:

Age 30+. . . A Lifetime of Books
Diary of an Eccentric
Jackets & Covers
It's All About Books
Book Addiction
It's All About Me (Time)
Katrina Reads
Peachy Books
The Book Nest

About the Authors:

Annie Barrows is the author of the children’s series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half. She lives in northern California.

Visit Annie’s website HERE.

Her aunt, Mary Ann Shaffer, who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.

For an excerpt from the book, go HERE.

For the rest of the TLC Book Tour schedule, go HERE.

To enter the Giveaway for 5 copies of the book for U.S. and Canadian residents:

1. Leave a comment on this post about your own book club or why you want to read this book.

2. Blog, Tweet, or spread the word and leave me a link or comment about it.

Silly me, I forgot the deadline, so here it is: August 12, 2009, at 11:59 PM

This is my 5th book for the War Through the Generations: WWII Reading Challenge.


Sue said...

This book looks great. My book group is eleven ladies - we meet every month except December at one of our homes. We read a lot of historical fiction and almost always have a meal based on something in the book. So fun!

Thanks for the giveaway~

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

monnibo said...

I keep hearing good things about this and I've been meaning to read it.

Wait, there's a giveaway?

Blodeuedd said...

I loved this book, it was just so delightful. So happy to have read it

Meghan said...

No need to enter me, I have read this one already. I loved it, too, both for the wonderful characters and the bookish highlights. Loved your review!

Sandy Nawrot said...

No need to enter me either. This will no doubt be one of my favorite reads of 2009. It would be a shame if everyone did not read this book, and can't imagine anyone not loving it. FYI, I listened to it on audio, and it was probably one of the best audios I've heard as well. Each character was represented by a different narrator, which worked very effectively!

MJ said...

I have heard so many great things about this book. I'd love to read it.


MJ said...

I tweeted!


Serena said...

Sue: I think your book club would love this book.

Monnibo: I think you should enter the giveaway. LOL O wait, you did.

Blodeuedd: I loved this book as well.

Meghan: the bookish highlights were fantastic.

Sandy: that must have been fun, a different narrator for each character. I imagine Dawsey with a thick accent, how was his narrator?

Serena said...

MJ: glad to see you entered.

Anna said...

I absolutely loved this book! Glad you enjoyed it, too.

No need to enter me, but I'll add your giveaway to my sidebar.

Diary of an Eccentric

bermudaonion said...

Don't enter me. I loved your review and the book. I've passed my copy on to a few people and they loved the book too.

Margay said...

I've heard a lot of good buzz about this book and it is right up my alley. I love books like this!

Tweeted it:


Margay1122 (at) aol (dot) com

Andreea said...

I have heard so many great things about this book and I am glad that you enjoyed it!

Serena said...

Anna and Bermudaonion: I had no doubts that I would love the book. I'm passing my copy onto my mom.

Margay: I think you'd enjoy it.

Andreea: I hope you're entering because I've marked you down!

Care said...

I loved this book! congrats to the winners in advance. :)

A. F. Stewart said...

The title alone was enough to put this book on my wish list. Of course the fact it sounded like a fascinating piece of historical fiction helped, too.

I tweeted it:

LisaMM said...

A comment to your first commenter- if your club wants to make Potato Peel Pie, there is no recipe for it, and the author advises against it! But I do think it would be a fabulous choice for a book club.

Serena, thanks so much for your thoughtful review!

trish said...

So glad you liked this book, Serena. This is one of those few books that I put down and was just content. I have no other way to describe it. I've given this book as a gift to a few friends who I knew would love it...and they did. :)

No need to enter me in the giveaway, but I will tweet about it!

bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

I LOVED this book! I enjoyed the back and forth letter writing it really kept the story hopping. Thanks for sharing about it ;)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I would like to read this because everyone keeps talking about how wonderful it is! Please enter me!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Angiegirl said...

Thanks for having this giveaway. I currently do not belong to a book group. I only wish I did. I've been in several that didn't work for me or didn't last and I dream of belonging to a really great one. My mother-in-law does and they read this book and the reviews were positive. That's why I'd like to pick it up.

Lisa said...

I still haven't gotten around to this! I have a copy though, so don't enter me.

Beth said...

I have read many good reviews of this book and would love to get it in my stash. I ordered it from Amazon but they keep changing the ship date. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks for offering this giveaway.

Janel said...

I love books that are written through letters. I remember writing volumes to my best friend when we went to different colleges. I don't belong to a book group, but I would start a culinary fiction group if I could!

I also blogged about this in my right sidebar at:

Diane said...

No need to enter me, I just wanted to say that I liked this book a lot.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I shouldn't, but go on and throw my name in! My book club ladies have mentioned it... it's probably only a matter of time before we agree to end our WWII hiatus and read this.

Thanks for the e-mail, as well, babe. I've got this posted at Win a Book for ya.

wheresmyrain said...

I think the history behind this is amazing. The book is beggin to be read.
wheresmyrain at yahoo dot com

etirv said...

I don't belong to a book club, I just love to read! I have read so many excellent reviews about this book and I'm a sucker for good reviews, that's why I want to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!


MoziEsmé said...

I'd love to read this! I enjoy collecting quotes...

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Beth said...

This looks fun! I'd love to share it with my aunt and make a mini book club with her!

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

M. said...

I recommended this to my book club for our next selection but it wasn't chosen - because so many members had already read it! And they one and all loved it. So this contest is very exciting for me. I feel like I'm the only left among my friends who hasn't read it yet.

mayamissani AT yahoo DOT ca

Annell said...

This is a wonderful book that we read at one of our book club meetings last year. We call ourselves the Sorta Naughty Book Club and this was the first book in a while that EVERYONE loved.

ANovelMenagerie said...

No need to enter me... I'm also hosting a giveaway. I really liked this book. I'm on the tour and shall be posting on the 10th. I hope you stop on by and say "hi." Great review, Serena!

S. Krishna said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this one as well. Great review! No need to enter me in the contest though.

avisannschild said...

I wish I belonged to a book club, but I don't (yet). I'd love to read this book because I keep hearing great things about it and I enjoy books written in the form of letters. Thanks for the giveaway!

hippmom said...

This book has been on my to-be-read list for sometime. I'd love to win a copy. I dont' belong to a book club but it sounds like so much fun I may start one up!

angelahipp (at) charter (dot) net

nfmgirl said...

I want to read this, because I've heard such good things about it. I don't belong to a book club yet. Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Bonnie said...

No Need to enter me...I am a huge fan of epistolary fiction and love how a story can be told through letters. I loved this book and it is one of my favorite all time books. I love the quotes that you shared and your review was wonderful. Good luck to those who your own copy if you don't win, it's well worth it!!

Marie said...

I have this at home & can't wait to get to it. Great article! no need to enter me in the giveaway!

Marie Burton said...

I want to read this book because it looks like one of those that should be on the Must-Read-Before-you-Die-List. And that I want to do.
I am a follower, and please enter me =)
yahoo dot com
Thank you!

sharon54220 said...

I'm sorry to say, I'm not in a book club. I read for myself. I have seen many reviews on this book and I've been wanting to read it. Please enter me.

sharon54220 said...

I am also a subscriber.

nfmgirl said...

I blogged it:

Debs Desk said...

The girls in my office formed a bookclub. There are only 5 of us but we choose a book each month and meet during lunch the last Friday of each month. It is lots of fun. This would be a great choice for us.

Sandra said...

I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this book. I'm glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did. It so happens that I reviewed it exactly one year ago. Don't enter me. Whoever wins this is in for a treat.

dag888888 said...

Not a book club member but I want to read this book, count me in!


Vera said...

Not a book club member, but I've been hearing so much about this book and would love to finally read it!

Anonymous said...

i'm in a book group that only reads novels written by women -- and i'd love to preview this one so i could recommend it. i've heard only great things!


Kristi said...

I would love to win this - I don't currently belong to a Book club - but have been invited to one. Unfortunately it is on a night of the month that I have other obligations! I am trying to decide whether I want to start one myself or not. . .

kherbrand at comcast dot net

Jo-Jo said...

I don't know how I missed this contest earlier. Please enter me as I would love to read this one. I belong to a book club with about 10 ladies and we range in ages from 38 to 70. We try to read all sorts of books, but generally stick to fiction. One of my favorite things is that quite often I find myself reading a book that I wouldn't have chosen on my own.

I added your contest to my sidebar if that counts.

joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Rue said...

I don't have a formal book group, but there's a group of us at work that pass books around and discuss them after people have read them (we also pass around DVDs and, sometimes magazines). It all got started when we were all traveling a lot. It was a great way to have new entertainment for the long trips as well as give us something not-work-related to talk about when we were gone, working long hours and not doing much more than working and maybe having an hour or so a day to read or watch a DVD.

This sounds like a great book and I have a coworker in the "club" who I think would enjoy it after I finished it.
Thanks for the chance to win!
ruthann (dot) francis (at) gmail (dot) com

Veens said...

I have ben wanting to read this one for such a long time!
Awesome review!
Don't enter me !

Zia said...

I don't belong to a book club by most standards lol. My friend and I however swap books back and forth and discuss as we go. We have nearly the exact same taste in books. This books sounds like a great read. I would love to be entered.


californiameaghan said...

i think the story of how the book came to be written is so fascinating. can't wait to read it!

meaghan_koci (at) yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

My book club is reading this book this month, and I've been waiting for it at the library for quite some time! I'd love to win a copy of my own.

secondary2 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have heard so many good things about this book...please count me in...thanks.

karen k

Linda K said...

I want to read it because I heard it was really good.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Renee G said...

I'm not in a book group --- although I'm sure I would enjoy being in one. I've heard great things about this book and want to read it.

Rebecca N. said...

I don't have a book club, but I do tend to pass books around between myself, mom, aunt and grandma. I think this is a book we would all enjoy. My grandfather served in the war so it is something we talk about alot. I have always been interested in this time period. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!
imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

Rebecca N. said...

I tweeted!
imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

DarcyO said...

I'm not in a book club, but I love to read. I've heard great reviews on this book and really want to read it.

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

DarcyO said...

I tweeted:

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

Marjorie said...

I would like a chance to win this book. I just found your site and
the review is very good.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I don't belong to a book club but this book is one I've wanted to read for a long time. I've heard so many good things about it.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Jennifer said...

Everyone I talk to says this book is great! Thanks for the giveaway!

Jennisis (at) comcast (dot) net

Anna said...

We posted your review on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric