Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

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Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Publisher: The Dial Press

Release Date: June 1st 2009

Pages: 248

My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

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"Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true."

By now, chances are you know how much I love historical fiction. I've said it before and I'll likely say it a million times more. I like how it puts you in the middle of all the action. And when a novel about the world wars comes around, then I'm really hooked. Especially when it's post-WW2 Britain. No wartime story shall go unread!

What immediately got me interested in this book was the title. Some might see The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as a nuisance; I see it as a mystery, one I'm dying to uncover. What is this club? Who created it? What in the world is a potato peel pie - and why does it deserve a society? The fact that I hadn't even opened the book and I was already enthralled said a lot about what I was in for. 

TGLAPPPS picks up in 1946 as writer Juliet Ashton tries to get her life back on track in post-war London. Her home has been flattened by a bombing, there are rumours floating about her almost-marriage, and she's struggling to figure out what she should write about next. Her life is changed when she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams who has in his possession a book that once belonged to Juliet. From there, they start up a whirlwind correspondence that introduces Juliet to a little Channel island, Guernsey, and the members who make up the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. 

I loved so many things about this book. First and foremost, I loved the characters. What an extraordinary and odd bunch of people. I felt an instant connection to all of these lovely people - except for Mark, but more on him later. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows did an incredible job of making these people feel like friends to the reader. I loved how passionately they spoke about books and authors. I wanted nothing more than to be in the room with them during their book club meetings, talking about the Brontë sisters and Charles Lamb. 

For a mostly lighthearted book, TGLAPPPS deals with a lot of heavy topics. After all, it is set just after the second World War. War leaves it's mark on many things - marriage, families, businesses, children, towns, countries. Especially in Guernsey. For five years starting in 1940, the island was occupied by Germans. The people of Guernsey endured absolute horrors during WW2 - and I'm actually sad to say that I'd never heard of the island, or their part in the war. But what was so gripping about this book was how the characters found happiness, even in the hard times. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society began as a clever ruse eventually turned into a safe haven, a place for book lovers to come together and be a united front in the face of hostility. 

Overall, I just loved this book. Although it talks about serious topics such as war and death, it is still lighthearted. It focused on family - by blood and by circumstances - and the love we feel for one another. And above all, it spoke on bravery, especially in the character Elizabeth McKenna. Watching these characters pick up the pieces of their lives after the destruction was incredibly inspiring. 

Go buy this book! Read it a dozen times. Cry over it. Hold it close to your heart. Make your friends read it and then talk about it to your heart's content. Just fully devour it. It's divine. 

What wartime or post-war novels do you love? Let me know in the comments!

Goodreads Challenge: 24 out of 50

Felicia x

Bookish Problems: Hardcover vs. Paperback

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Ahh the age old question. Which is better: hardcover or paperback books? Every time I browse my local bookshop, I come to this question. Which edition should I go for? Honestly, it's one of the toughest book-related decisions a gal has to make! When it really boils down to it, there's a bunch of things I consider when I'm choosing between the two. So today, I thought I'd talk about a few of the advantages of either type of book!

Paperback

Compact & easily portable - Of course, the first thing I'd have to say in favour of paperbacks is that they are far easier to travel around with. Being the sort of person who constantly has a book in their purse whilst on-the-go, I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is much easier to tote around a paperback than a hardcover. Not only is it far thinner but it's also a lot lighter because of the thin binding. 

Cheaper - Paperbacks are typically a lot cheaper than hardcovers. When I go into a bookstore, chances are I'm going to pick out a paperback book that costs $15-$18, rather than a hardcover that costs $23-$26. Buying paperbacks makes it cheaper to buy more books at once, instead of having a heart attack over buying just one book - and being someone who reads very quickly, that's hugely important to me. 

Easier to hold - I can never find a comfortable way to hold a hardcover book!! No matter how I position my hand, I either get tired or am in pain after five minutes. Paperbacks are definitely far easier to bend back and forth, as well as get a good grip on. I can easily hold it with one hand and then I have a free hand to hold my coffee which I very much enjoy. 

No dust jackets - Don't get me wrong. Dust jackets do make for a lovely addition to hardcovers. But my god, are they a pain in the ass. Most of the time, I end up just taking the thing off and then it's a matter of keeping track of the jacket whilst also making sure that it doesn't get damaged. With paperbacks, you have nothing to be worried about as it's all attached. 

Hardcover

Released first - Often, paperback editions aren't released until a year after the initial book release, as it brings in more profit for people to purchase hardcover books. This means that if you're really dying to read a book, you're probably gonna cough up the 25 or so bucks to read it as soon as possible. I don't do this so often, but the majority of the hardcovers I own are because I couldn't force myself to wait a year for the paperback. 

Sturdier -  If you've ever tried to carry around a paperback book in your purse or backpack before, then I'm sure you know how easily paperbacks can be damaged. The binding cracks, the pages get crinkled, and worst of all, the cover bends *shudder*. Hardcovers are really durable, as the cover is extremely sturdy and acts as a protective layering around the pages of the book.

Looks good on shelves - I think we can all agree that hardcover books look so good on bookshelves. I think it's something about how thick they are and also that they sort of remind us of the old-fashioned impressive look of bookcases. Although I don't have a ton of hardcovers (I'm cheap y'all), I do love looking at the ones I do have sitting up on my shelf. They're gorg!! 

Personally, all considered, I much prefer paperbacks over hardcovers. Not only just for the price - although that is a pretty big part of it, if I'm honest. For me, the lighter the book the better, as I really don't have the energy to be lugging around a massive, heavy book all day long, wherever I go! 

Which do you guys prefer: hardcover or paperback?

Felicia x


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