S4L Book Club: Why This Book?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyToday, November 1, we begin our first S4L Book Club discussion. I don’t have a plan for posting questions on specific days or anything, but I figured I’d post two or three a week. Would a specific schedule be more user-friendly?

This month’s book is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I unilaterally chose this book just to get the book club ball rolling. In the future, volunteer leaders will get to choose their own books, but I’ll also collect recommendations from participants. (Send them to me at mail AT funkandweber DOT com. Our address is in the sidebar, you know.)

When I selected the book, I discovered some of you had already read it. What made you choose to read this book–a review, a personal recommendation, something else?

I chose this book from a list of popular book club books. Initially, the title grabbed me. It sounded fun, a little silly perhaps, and interesting. I think I liked the length of the title and the combination of disparate focuses in one group: literary and potato peel pie. I imagine the alliteration of “potato peel pie” didn’t hurt, either; I know I like alliteration.

Do you think this is a good title for the book? Is it a good and accurate representation of the story?

Categories: Reading

6 replies »

  1. Yes, I think the title is appropriate because Juliet learns about Guernsey and the people there through the literary society.
    I didn’t know about this book before, and when I first opened it, I was disappointed to see it was all written in the form of letters. I don’t usually like that type of book because the letters can be a tad boring and contain unimportant, uninteresting narrative.
    But this was different. I liked the unique voices the authors created, and the letters really told a story.
    Sometimes, if I was tired, I was tempted to skip over parts of some letters, but they always held my interest.

  2. I found this book while wandering through the local bookstore. The title grabbed me from the beginning. A Literary Society? Potato Peel Pie? Naturally I had to read the back of the book to get an idea of just what it was about. The rest was history.

    I think the title is perfect for the book. The characters are all a little off the beaten path and all have their own little eccentricities – and the name of their book club reflects that so well.

  3. I loved the title before I read the book and I still think it is a great title. The Society started through necessity and brought a plain, positive and pragmatic (yes, Jen, the alliteration is deliberate) approach to reading and literature. The members grew as individuals and as a group, particularly through the influence of the character we never meet.
    This book was originally given to me by a friend who wanted me to read it. Here is a little sidebar story. My friend had recommended the book for her book club and some of the members found it a “fluffy” story. She hadn’t found it so, at all. Nor did I. (That book club dissolved shortly after. Sounds like a poor mix of readers to me.)
    The letter format can be tricky. I agree with Linda that there is a great sense of individual voice to each writer. I was consistently engaged.

  4. Similar to Erica, I think the “Potato Peel Pie” portion of the title aptly describes the characters. They’re made of ordinary stuff but the end results are unique and surprising.

    I think the title alone evokes the same feeling I got while reading the whole book. This is unusual. I’m trying to think of other titles that do that. Can you think of any? What are some other titles that pulled you in and also made perfect sense in hindsight?

  5. Jen – had to share this with you…

    Bev, Got a call from the library this afternoon. Went down to get the book and SURPRISE! It was THE GURNSEY lITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY. Got home and decided to just look it over before bringing it to you, Big mistake. After reading the first two pages I just couldn’t put it down. Translated – I’ll bring it to you this weekend. It is not due this the 29th so we have the time to share. Sorry!!!!!!! I couldn’t help myself.
    Jen, I will let you know what I think when I get to read it… Bev