Monday, November 9, 2009


I’m always looking for something to read, so I check the New York Times best seller list on Sundays. Then I go down to the local library with my list of titles and authors, and ask, “Do you have any of these available?” Often they do not because the books are so popular. One title that caught my eye is most unusual: “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

So when I was at the library the other day, there was a copy of the Guernsey book available, which the librarian retrieved for me. She had laid the book on the table while she went looking for another volume for me, when another woman came sweeping by. She glanced at the book, then at me, and said, “Oh, that’s a good one. You’ll enjoy it!”

Well, of the three books I brought home, I had to read that one first. It’s a narrow book -- only 274 pages long, but I assure you, it is most unusual. This is a work of fiction. In addition to the strange title (which is explained in the story), the format is unique. It is all letters, with a few notes and a couple of telegrams thrown in, from various people to various other people. But it all ties together to tell a most unusual story. It takes place in England in 1946 -- mainly in Guernsey, the Channel Islands. Much of it recounts the 5 year German occupation, which is not pretty. But there is also delightful humor and marvelous interaction among the people involved.

Even the authorship is somewhat unusual. Mary Ann Shaffer says, “The seed for this book was planted quite by accident. I had traveled to England to research another book, and while there learned of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands.” She goes on to say that she flew to Guernsey on a whim, and was struck by the beauty as well as the history of the islands. What makes this authorship unusual is that before Ms Shaffer could finish the book, health issues interferred, so her niece Annie Barrows, who also is an author, completed the story.

So as the woman at the library predicted, I certainly did enjoy this story. You will, too.

The "humor" for today has me being a bit of a stinker. This is a quiz, and the answers are at the bottom. Now I may have shown these at some previous time, but I'm not sure, so we'll give it a try. One half today, and the remainder on another day. No cheating, please. What does each picture portray?







One - hole milk

Two - tap dancers

Three - eye pod

Four - card shark

Five - assaulted peanut How many did you get?


  1. Sounds like a great book. I think I'll send the audio cd to my mom and then listen after she does.

  2. I showed your quiz to a friend who came up with "Girls on Tap." Gotta give some points for that, right? HAHAHAHAHA.

  3. I got card shark, the glass is half full, and Poppy the sailer man.