22 December 2011

Post 460: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. ISBN: 9780385340991.

Quite frankly, I think the reason this book was so well received among book bloggers and serial* readers is mainly because it is a love letter to reading. There are several book or reading related quotes that I think most of us would agree with, or at the very least be able to understand. Some examples include,
"Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books." Page 53.

“That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to 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.” Page 11-12
There are many others you can browse, just look at some that have been cherry picked by Goodreaders.

People who are drawn to reading seem to be attracted to it because of how it makes us feel. It is a means of connecting with people in our distant, but not too-distant, past. The experience of reading has changed little from its inception, and one can easily imagine a past reader having a similar experience or reaction as a present day or future reader. I think this is the overarching reason some people dislike eBooks so much. There is a technological divide and disconnect from our past when we read digital books. Most people in the past couldn't fathom the idea of digital books, much less the issues surrounding them (inability to lend, DRM, etc.) and the people in the future will likely have much better eReaders or technology with which to consume books than I can dream up.

I can understand their concern. Look at another central activity in this book: letter writing. It was more or less the same for ages, now you're lucky if you even get a Christmas card (and even luckier if it wasn't written on the computer). But there are people who still** hang on to letter writing, who enjoy having pen pals or trading art, stamps, and other non e-mail-ables through the post. Paper books are still more accessible, easier, and cheaper to read than their digital counterparts. And of course, they add a touch of romance to the reading experience. Sometimes literally.

Nikki from Vulpes Libris writes a heartwarming review.
LibsNote: Library sale table.
*If you have read at least four books in the past month and are currently in the middle of another, chances are you are a "serial" reader.
**I'm currently looking for pen pals by the way.


  1. I watched Hugo last night which was basically a love letter to film (and kind of boring, though well-acted and pretty). i hate love letters. they can suck it. potato peel pie sounds tolerable though.

  2. Dayna,
    It wasn't bad. Perhaps a little sappy. I would say maybe 40% sappy. I guess that's more than a little, but it's okay, because there are also Nazis to counteract the sappiness.

  3. Beautifully written in an exchange of letters, Shaffer and Barrows tell the story of love, war, and friendship...one that defies time and circumstance and is held together through an affinity for literature. We meet the characters at just the right moments and immediately feel connected to each and every one as if they had been life-long neigbors of our own. The elegant and eager Juliet. The ever-loving couple Sidney and Sophie. The strong and smart Elizabeth. And the inquisitive Dawsey. It is in their subtle writings that we begin to understand where each person came from and where they are going.


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