The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The_Guernsey_Literary_and_Potato_Peel_Pie_SocietyI have a strange affection towards the second world war. I blame it on growing up in a family obsessed with history, coupled with being born in the grandchild generation of those who fought in WWII.

My High School History teacher’s father piloted a B-29 Superfortres, and one of the teachers at a brother school (I went to private all girl school) dedicated entire semesters discussing the happenings in the “Second Great War.”

As an adult my interest comes and goes. I’ve read my share of history books. (I recommend And If I Perish, which centers on American nurses of WWII.) But I haven’t gone out of my way to find books in the Historical Fiction genre on the topic.

There is no definitive reason for this. I read all over the spectrum, but WWII just hasn’t really come up – until I was handed “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” (written by: Annie Barrows, Mary Ann Shaffer)

Lately, every book I read is one someone has shoved into my hands. My reading partners range from age 10 – 60+, so anything from middle grade on up is fair game. As luck would have it, one of them handed me this gem.

Set in post-WWII UK – the book is a series of letters between Juliet Ashton, a writer who published a witty column that ran during the war, and myriad of other people. Some old friends, some new lovers, and then there is the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Opening with Juliet in London and later moving to the island of Guernsey–it is a lovely story about love, friendship, and the perils of war. If you are unaware, Guernsey, along with the other Channel Islands, were occupied by the Nazis during the war. This book–tGLaPPPS–introduces you to a world filled with colorful characters, and tackles life during the war from a different angle.

Basically, I’m doing a terrible job of selling this book to you, so I’ll put it another way. I, very much, didn’t want it to end, and when it did, I had a book hangover for two days. It was so wonderful, I hope it will never be made into a movie–that will ruin it for sure.

Lists: Books to love

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And so it begins, the life I sat dreaming about for months and months on end – it is here, before me. Yes, that life I pondered on, drooled over, half cried, half begged for has arrived and now it’s time to take a hold of it. So, I thought I would start with a list! A list of books. There has been a challenge going around Facebook, “10 Books that have stayed with you.” What a better place to start than the books that have influenced me and molded me – propelling me forward – into this world of writing. I decided to do 15, because 10 isn’t enough – to be honest 15 isn’t either. I read a lot of books and many have influenced me one way or the other. But here is my list of 15 books that have “stayed” with me over the years.

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1. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
I love how Hinton portrays the separation of class. I feel it was ground breaking in the 60s and is still relatable today.

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2. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
I love Ender. It’s a great character living in an interesting world. This book made me want to write sci-fi.

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3. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
This is the book that hooked me on sci-fi! It’s so much fun and Adams is hilarious. 42!

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4. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
In my early 20s I read this and Wuthering Heights. Loved Jane Eyre. Her strength and honesty make her one of my favorite characters. (I still don’t get why people like Wuthering Heights.)

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5. Ham in Rye – Charles Bukowski
Bukowski is a fan favorite all around. I’ve read most of his works, from poetry to short stories to novels – but Ham on Rye is my absolute favorite. The gradual growth of Hank is heart breaking.

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6. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
This book – mother of all things holy – the nightmares I had. Perfectly captures how volatile humans are.

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7. The Glass Castle – Jeanette Wallis
I could gush about this book for days. Beautifully written story about family, love, loss, and dealing with it all.

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8. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
Most amazing anti-war book of all time.

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9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
Written in omniscient 3rd, a point of view people rarely use these days, as the fly on a wall you watch the family grow. I randomly have scenes pop into my head on any given day.

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10. Sandman – Neil Gaiman
The reason I started reading comics.

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11. I am Legend – Richard Matheson
Incredible and interesting horror.

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12. Princess Bride – William Goldman
Just as funny, if not funnier, than the movie.

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13. And if I Perish… – Evenlyn M.Monahan & Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee
It’s about WWII nurses. Follows American nurses from the states through all major WWII battles.

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14. Fat Kid Rules the World – K.L. Going
The movie adaptation of this book should be set on fire. This book is genius. Music, drugs, poverty, age appropriate awkwardness, true friends, and family.

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15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Can’t describe it. Friendship, love, and life.