away, to Guernsey!

So, you may have read in previous posts that I’m working on doing new things and meeting new people.  So, I have joined a book club.  The nerd in me (i.e. Matilda – absolutely FAVORITE book growing up, which I do plan to reread soon) has always wanted to be in one.  One of my friends informed me that it would be hard for me to start one since no one wants to read the books that I read (I’m sorry you don’t want to have nightmares of Bosnian genocide…).  Yes, a lot of books I read are non-fiction and therefore… downers… but it’s part of my charm.

Anyways, I joined a book club that a past co-worker is starting – a random group of girls who do not all know each other – she has some college friends, some current co-workers, me (the odd one out) and a smattering of other very fine ladies.  As part of my new life plan to branch out and start something new, I hopped on board, knowing just the founder of our little literary society, but no one else.

Our first book was… brace yourself for the name, because it takes a full breath to say (and I’m pretty sure I’ve never included all of the correct words in the title) – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  Total chick book.  Usually this is not my style, but I’m branching out.  And it was a totally cute book… I found myself getting caught up in it and not wanting to put it down (oddly, this is not the experience I tend to have reading books about Bosnia or the history of the Middle East – surprise!).  It describes the island of Guernsey (the Channel Islands off of England) in such a way that you’re just dying to go.  Even though it’s set during the World War II German occupation.  I kind of want to use the word travelogue, but I don’t think that was the intention of the authors.

Best part, which you don’t find often in books, is that there is no narrator.  The entire book is told through letters from each of the characters.  And, it’s set in the 40’s post-war, so you have that sense of more formal, dressy, and old fashioned which is what I just adore about old movies (no one looks like Jackie Kennedy or Audrey Hepburn when they travel anymore… now you just see fake Juicy jumpsuits and muffin tops (sorry for that imagery)).  It is a really interesting way to set a story, and it takes a lot of thought and consideration to be able to develop characters and set a scene based on letters.  But it works.  I recommend the book – it’s an easy read, great for a leisurely rainy weekend when you’d like to envision yourself far, far away… maybe in Guernsey.  The book club may need to take a field trip…  I also feel inspired to send people I love actual letters – yes, sometimes Twitter and 140 characters just isn’t quiiite enough.  This is why I had to get a blog to ramble on.

Anyways, our meeting was so fun… Wine, food, and good times.  I was actually surprised that we talked about the book at all (though only  me and one other girl had actually finished it).  Some people marked their favorite passages to discuss (aaah, fellow nerds…).  Some didn’t talk about the book, but spoke about other books that had had an impact on their lives.  Very inspiring and intellectual and serious… until we discussed how the majority of the group thought one of the main characters was a chick for the most of the book… and he’s not…

Guernsey – see why a field trip might be in order?


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