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Archive for the tag “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”

Escape to Guernsey

Hello Dear Followers,

I finished “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” tonight and wanted to share my final thoughts about the book.

I thought overall it was a sweet book, it was quaint at times and teetered a little on boring.  I did however, find myself craving an opportunity to read it throughout the day, brought it with me everywhere as a chance to escape to 1940s Guernsey just after World War II. 

Photo courtesy of http://www.oldUKphotos.com

I tend to enjoy escaping into novels that take place in a  different time period, especially a time period I know little about.  While at first I thought the constant correspondence between the characters via letter writing dragged the book a bit, it gave it character and personality that you may not have gotten if the book been made up of chapters.

The characters in the book will become your friends, you will want to join them for their literary meetings and want to be part of this circle of friends that would ultimately become family.

You will want to travel to the Channel Islands of the British Isles and see Guernsey for yourself once you read this book.  The authors do a great job at making this place seem magical in a time of such darkness.

I love history so learning what I could about the German occupation on this island and a little more about the Nazi concentration camps was fascinating and terribly sad at the same time, I can’t imagine going through something like that.  These poor people.

I have heard  bits and pieces about World War II  from my grandparents every now and then,  but they were young when it was happening around them in Italy.  They remember only so little about it.

I would recommend this book for its simplicity, its escapism and its character. If you are looking for something more enticing however, this isn’t it.  I kept waiting for something more to happen that would consider this book a page turner, but it never came.

Until next time…

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The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Hello Dear Followers,

When I think letter writing I think of it as an act of  romance, something so personal and in the 21st century, so lost in the age of e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, texting and the internet as a whole.

As many of you have read in my previous post, I am reading “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”  and the book is not made up of chapters, but rather of letters between several characters in the book, which at first I thought was great, then I thought well this could take a forever and hard to keep up with who is writing to who.

But as I have gone on, I can see why it was done this way, because I can’t see how else the two authors would have conveyed this story, how they would have properly introduced these characters as they have.

While the ability to communicate with people far away from us has gotten a lot easier, far easier than our parents,  grandparents and great-grandparents for that matter, it lacks personality and lacks the proof that someone dedicated the time to write  a letter with an actual  pen and paper.

It is so easy to send off an e-mail, often times without thinking. I’ve done it. Often times we don’t even realize what we are writing because we are in such a hurry to get on to the next thing in our lives, we don’t stop and think of our words.

I’ve always been old-fashioned and very nostalgic in many ways, when I was 13 or 14 years old, I wrote letters to all my friends who were near and dear to me at the time, many thought I was odd, because what 14-year-old spends the time to write an individual letter to someone?  That would be me.

When I was 18, I wrote an e-mail to a boy I liked in high school telling him how I felt, you could call that both ballsy and very 21st century.  That was the way people began to communicate, how they expressed themselves.  Writing a letter with a pen and paper began to be long lost memory.

I returned to the art of writing a letter (via pen and paper) a few years  later to someone I felt was of great importance to my life at the time. It felt more personal, I felt there was a deeper connection because I had taken the time to write several drafts before I could perfect what I wanted to say to this person.  It was me, it wasn’t an e-mail set up by the internet  it was just me, a pen and paper.

This art of letter writing is fading, Andrew Lam, author and editor of New America Media writes about this exact topic in a  blog post “The Lost Art of Letter Writing” on the  Huffington Post.  

“For the rest of us in this age of mobility and information, there simply isn’t any time for such a thing as a long, flowing, hand-written letter. I am no exception,” says Mr. Lam in his post.

Catherine Field, an I.H.T Op-Ed contributor of the New York Times says in her Op-Ed piece “The Fading Art of Letter Writing”:  “Letter-writing is among our most ancient of arts. Think of letters and the mind falls on Paul of Tarsus, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Austen, Mark Twain; on love letters written during the American Civil War, or letters written to a parent by a frightened soldier at the battlefront.”  

There is a ton more on this subject, because it is clearly something we don’t do in a digital age. And I am someone who loves digital as the next person, but I think we should revive this lost art and bring it back to something more personal, romantic and connected.

Don’t you agree?

Until next time….

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Hello Dear Followers,

The book I am choosing as my August book choice is “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  It is January 1946, London is emerging from the shadow of theSecond 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’d 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 more books by this author. As Juliet and her new coorespondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie 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, according to the book.

Not too long ago, I realized that we don’t write letters anymore, like real letters as in paper and pen? And this book celebrates the art of letter writing and the love of books. What could be more wonderful? (For me anyway) 🙂

I hope you will read along with me. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with my followers for this book.

Until next time..

What I’m Reading This Summer

Hello Dear Followers,

I usually don’t announce books in advance like this and I am not done with “The Help” just yet, but I have to admit seeing the constant mention of “summer reading lists” in bookstores and on various social media sites, made me nostalgic for the days before Borders and Barnes & Noble were my escapes, when I’d be one of the first kids signing up at the library for the summer reading program.  I couldn’t wait!

So here are three books I will be reading this summer –

Book image courtesy of http://www.bestsellers.about.com

1. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them.  And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want to as our legacy. Mr. Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it was his last, since he was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Why I picked this:  Because it has been my experience that books like these, however  as short as they are (this one is 206 pages), they are filled with excellent advice about life and this reminds me of my favorite book “The Five People You Meet In Heaven” by Mitch Albom. Mr. Albom’s book left such a deep impact on my life, it saved me from myself during some of the darkest moments of my life.  I imagine this book will do the same.

Book image courtesy of http://www.bookmomma.wordpress.com

2. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  It is 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’d 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 more books by this author. As Juliet and her new coorespondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie 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.

Why I picked this:  Letters, books and history. All of which I just love. I feel the art of letter writing is lost in the maze of social media and e-mail. There isn’t romance in correspondence anymore, letter writing was personal, romantic, and passionate.  I love books, if I could spend my time in a cafe  drinking fabulous coffee and reading all day escaping the world around me, I’d be happy.  History especially the time in which this book takes place has always fascinated me, I love learning about World War II and shortly after the war.

Book image courtesy of http://www.nicholassparks.com

3. “The Best of Me” by Nicholas Sparks.  In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for each other seems to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. A loner from a violent and infamous local family, Dawson believed his love for Amanda promised an escape from the darker destiny laid out for him. A golden girl from a well-to-do family with plans to attend Duke University, Amanda saw something in Dawson that spoke to her own rebellious and passionate heart. But as summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.

Why I picked this –  I just love Nicholas Sparks, he is a wonderful writer. He grabs you from the first page and never lets you go and when it is over.  Then you are left craving more. That is a good writer.

(Since I fell behind with “The Help” I will be making up my June book with one of these three books and “The Help” will be considered my May book.  )

Make sure you share with me what you are reading this summer on here or on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Okay! Until next time… Happy Summer Reading!

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