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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book Review…

April 22, 2019
This image is of the front cover of the pook on top of a stack of magazines.  It is the original cover which is a 1940s stule photograph of a woman and lots of stamps and post marks across the cover.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book Review.

At the end of last month, I set my spring reading list jumping straight into The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  Not the shortest book title, and one I have stumbled over every time I recalled it to a friend!  Written by two female authors from the same family, the book is formed of letters written mainly from protagonist, Juliet Ashton.

Set just after the finish of the second world war in London, we are treated to stories of continued rationing and rebuilding.  Juliet had written several parody columns, under a pseudonym, throughout the war and is now looking for a new story to write under her real name. Uninspired by the glittering world her American wealthy suiter, Mark Reynolds offers Juliet becomes anxious that she has nothing more to say.

After a particularly late night out dancing with Reynolds, Juliet returns to her boarding room to a letter from Dawsey Adams, a farmer from Guernsey.  Adams has written to Juliet after acquiring her address from the front cover of a book she previously owned.  Guernsey was cut off from the main land during a German invasion and Adams is hoping Juliet can help with acquiring new reading materials.  Juliet is more than happy to oblige provided he gives more information about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. A group he mentions in his first letter.

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So starts a series of correspondence, between Juliet and various Guernsey islanders as they tell her their stories from war time.  Inspired and feeling the claustrophobia of London Juliet travels to Guernsey to meet everyone.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society quickly becomes her next story as she meets a wide variety of characters and pieces together the islands wartime story.

I found the start of the book a little hard to get into until around the 10th letter where I was able to understand who the characters were and their relationships to Juliet.  Once I got past this I loved every minute!  I finished the book one early evening and promptly rented the movie version from Amazon.  Fairly close to the original I’m now inspired to go and explore the island of Guernsey as soon as possible.

Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows?  What did you enjoy about it?  Have you been to Guernsey? PF xo

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Books

Spring Reading List For You…

March 25, 2019
This picture is of me reading on a read armchair with ah purple blanket over me.  There is a stack of books for my spring reading list.

I’ve always loved to read but I am currently struggling to pick up a book. In my mind the perfect reading session is 3-4 hours, curled up on my couch, or bed, covered in at least one blanket! I play some jazz in the background and a scented candle flickers. If I am really lucky, light rain runs down the window creating a cosy atmosphere, as I read through my spring reading list!

The reality is, I have realised, the ability to do this is limited. This fantasy of the perfect reading session means I am not reading at all. Instead I have been looking at ways I can read for twenty minutes, at lunch time, before bed, at the weekend. This time frame is more realistic, and I am slowly bringing long form reading back into my life. Having now joined the library I have a small waiting list of books that I am eagerly watching as the people in line ahead of me reduces. These are the books I am going to read this spring that I thought you might be interested in.

This picture is a close up shot of me rading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society whilst I sit on the red armchair!  There is a stack of books for my spring reading list.

The Book That Is A Smash Hit Film.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I know about this book because of its film, that I have yet to watch! A story told through letters, it is of the islands residents and how they dealt with the German occupation. As an anglophile I love anything British and am looking forward to reading this book first. In fact I was so impatient I have bought this one rather then wait for hte library waiting list to go down!

This image is a close up of two books on a side table with Zoya nail polish stacked on top of them.  There is a stack of books for my spring reading list.

The Book Everyone Got At Christmas!

Becoming by Michelle Obama. Everyone seemed to get this book for Christmas and it has taken me until now to find people who had read it! All the reviews have been positive, and I’ve been told that there is a great theme of Obama changing her mindset when it came to her career. She speaks about the guilt she felt wanting to change her career for something more fulfilling, knowing her parents had given up a lot for her to be where she was. I am looking forward to reading her story as I too chose a career based on my parents encouragement and not on what I wanted.

This image is of the red armchair with the purple blanket draped over it.  I nthe background are books on a side table.  There is a stack of books for my spring reading list.

The Book Written Secretly At Work.

Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce. This novel has come onto my radar as a friend of a friend is the author! Pearce was inspired by an old magazines self help column and secretly wrote her story at work. Centred around Mrs Bird who refuses to respond to letter that are not pleasent, Emmy decides to take charge and send out advice. I can’t wait to read this as I have heard the description of London in the war is highly accurate. This book should be a bit of a fun addition to the spring reading list!

Another image of me on the armchair with the blanket draped over me!  There is a stack of books for my spring reading list.

The Book With Real Life Legal Stories.

In Your Defence by Sarah Langford. I read This Is Going To Hurt and Langford has written a similar factual book detailing various crimes and how her clients lives changed as a result. Her writing and her ability to show our legal system for its glory and faults has received high praise. I am particularly interested to read about the rationalisation for sentencing across all the cases.

Another image of the armchair with the blanket draped over it and the books stacked on the side table.   There is a stack of books for my spring reading list.

The Book I Researched And Realised I Had To Preorder!

The Flatshare Beth O’Leary – Preordered. I love the sound of this book where two strangers share a flat and a bed but have never met. It is a scenario I know is true in London where those who work nights rent their beds! The reviews are hilarious and have mentioned sticky notes, my favourite way to communicate with flat mates! Availible early 2020 I have preordered this one on Amazon. Preorders are incredibly important for authors as they can help secure second deals as well as other work. If you like this one add it to you wish list or perhaps ask for it for Christmas!

UPDATE – Thanks for Hannah for pointing out I had found the paperback date for The Flatshare. The hardback is out on the 19th April here and I have updated my order!

What are you reading at the moment? I’ve got more book reviews here but I’d also love to hear your recommendations for the spring reading list. PF xo

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Books

October Read – The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Book Review…

October 13, 2018

Within a couple of weeks three people recommended The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion.  I wasn’t that keen as when first described as a romance novel this turned me off.  Just not my bag.  However, the descriptions built and I was intrigued.  A romantic novel where the lead character has Autism, written from his view point, with plenty of comedic moments and commentary on social norms.  This sounded good!

Don Tillman is our lead and it’s easy to grasp from the beginning he sees the world differently due to Autism or Asperger’s.  We are never told exactly where Don lies on the spectrum and this works brilliantly.  As explained in the novel those with Autism often don’t know.  Why would they?  For their brains are operating, often at a high function and they are getting about in life just fine.

Don is a university genetics professor and the story is based in one of my favourite cities, Melbourne, Australia.  Keen to fulfil social conventions, Don decides he will resolve the wife problem with ‘The Wife Project’.  He formulates a detailed questionnaire for prospective dates, trying to determine their suitability for marriage.  Don’s list didn’t sound that much different to the online dating forms I have filled in!

The questionnaire brings Rosie into Don’s life by way of best friend Gene, an older professor who is always on hand to help Don navigate social norms.  Rosie is quickly determined as an unsuitable wife but her own search for her father results in Don establishing ‘The Rosie Project’.  This project quickly escalates as Don is challenged to reconsider his personal rules and routines, interact with a multitude of people at a university reunion, all to determine Rosie’s parentage.

‘Fault! Asperger’s isn’t a fault. It’s a variant.  It’s potentially a major advantage.  Asperger’s syndrome is associated with organisation, focus, innovative thinking and rational detachment.’ – Don Tillman

What I loved about Graeme’s story is that he painted a world where Autistic people should be accepted and not considered faulty.  Don’s thought processes throughout a situation or social interaction are clear and often make our complex social norms ridiculous.  His dependency on routines and the situations he gets himself in make Don likable and someone we all root for.

If you love the characters and story as much as I did you will be pleased to know there is a sequel and a third in development!

I’d love to hear what books you are reading at the moment? PF xo

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The Rosie Project

Books

This Book Helped Me Read Again…

January 21, 2018


Jojo Mayes Paris for One and Other Stories

Fact. I love to read.  It is well known in my family and I remember throughout my childhood often getting into trouble for ‘eating books’.  When we were set a reading competition at school I read over 100 books in the time period to the disbelief of my parents who thought I had just written every book I owned on the sheet.  To the contrary, I had stayed up late every night reading, red the books under my desk at school and I was the girl reading on her walk home, not paying attention to the cars beeping their horns.  I was a kid, there wasn’t much more to do and I wasn’t interested in watching three hours of news programs with my parents!  They signed the competition form as long as I reduced the list to somewhere around 20 books.  I did.  I didn’t win.

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