The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

guernseySeptember's book club pick was definitely the most book club-y selection we've read in our one-year (!) history: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I'd heard a lot about this book (first from my friend Caitlin) and always thought, "It's impressive that a book with such a long and confusing name is so popular," so when Meg suggested we read it, I jumped at the chance.

A Good Reads synopsis of the book for the few people who actually read synopses:

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island--boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Everyone in our group really enjoyed TGLAPPPS (that acronym is too intense for even HCG). Although it took a little while to get used to reading a book comprised of letters - it helped that they were rather witty letters - the correspondence between the main character Juliet and her newfound friends in Guernsey provided a fun and unusual way to read. Through these letters, we learned of the five-year-long German occupation of Guernsey, the only part of British soil occupied by the Nazis during World War II, and, although the occupation was devastating, the overall message of the book was one of hope and optimism. This novel reminded me of one of the reasons I'm so happy to be part of a book club: the opportunity to read books I wouldn't normally choose myself.

Karen incited quite a change by hosting a themed meeting last month as Meg, too, decided to give a theme a whirl for our September gathering. Meg's somewhat potato-themed menu of sliders (topped with either cheddar or brie) and sweet potato and garlic butter french fries was creative, delicious and quickly devoured. We celebrated Christa's recent birthday, welcomed Jenny back after a 12-month absence (not from Philadelphia, just from book club), toasted Kim who couldn't make this meeting due to her wedding just two days later - congrats, Kim! - and prodded Torrey (the sole doctor in book club) to recount some of her craziest hospital stories. Much to her enjoyment, I'm sure, poor Torrey was also forced to answer some of our lingering medical inquiries like, is it physically possible for a woman get a certain type of sanitary product lodged in her urethra?

You know what kind of sanitary product we were talking about.