The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is absolutely delightful! I was about 3/4 of the way through the book when I decided to look up pictures of Guernsey to see if I was picturing the island in my head correctly. It turns out that my imagination was absolutely correct. The writers of this book did such a good job painting images of the island in my mind that I fell in love with it before I ever saw any real photos. Guernsey is now on my bucket list of places I have to visit before I die.
The book takes place shortly after WWII has ended. The main character is a writer, and through an odd set of circumstances she ends up corresponding with a group of people on the island of Guernsey. (The entire book is structured as letters written between the characters.) She becomes so enthralled by their experiences during the war (the Germans occupied the channel islands) that she decides to visit and write a book about their experiences. The characters in this book are so delightful that, if you are like me, you will be wishing they were your neighbors too.
This book is rich in literary discussions of the classics. I definitely recommend it for anyone who loves to talk and/or read about books. The characters are endearing, the island is beautiful, and I (embarrassingly) joy-cried several times while reading this book. For me, it was one of those books that I had such contentment visiting every night, that I felt a little lost when it ended.
My favorite books are those that not only entertain me but teach me things I never knew. If I can walk away from a book a little smarter than before I read it, then I will forever be grateful to the author for putting his/her research, time, energy, and heart and soul into creating something for so many people to enjoy. Thank you to Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows for giving us somewhere beautiful, endearing, and wholesome to visit every time we open your book.
“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto 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.” – Juliet Ashton from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
This is by far the most commonly asked question in a high school language arts classroom when reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I love the confused look on their faces when we get to this section of the novel. It’s adorable…and yet it is also a very valid question. The term “tart” is not one commonly used by today’s youth. (However, once they learn it, they do tend to start using it…)
“Well, I think Curley’s married…a tart.” -from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
My first year teaching I responded to their questions with an answer that went something like this, “Ummm…well…it’s a woman…who…ummm…you know, I’m glad you brought it up…because we’re actually going to talk in-depth about this tomorrow!” Then after school, I would rush to my computer and do a lot of research to make sure I understood exactly what Steinbeck was referring to when he called Curley’s wife a “tart”. Read More
In recent years, I have started collecting antique books. My newest additions (pictured above) are Adventures of Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (copyright 1892), Paradise Lost by John Milton (copyright 1751), and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (copyright 1878). They are all in good condition, and I feel very fortunate that I am able to pursue this hobby of collecting antique books. I hope that many years from now someone new will enjoy them as much as I do.
As far as the coffee goes…I could not function each morning without a cup of Gevalia Colombian coffee with a little dash Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer (okay, a lot of creamer)! On the coffee mug are famous first lines throughout literature.
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
“Assessing the mind of a creature this alien demands that we be extraordinary flexible in our own thinking.” -Sy Montgomery
This book has been thoroughly enjoyable to read. I have a particular affinity for ocean life, especially cephalopods! I find them to be incredibly fascinating. This book is chalk full of scientific information on them. However, the book is not purely scientific. Read More