Book Journal: Mary Ann Shaffer's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer (and Annie Barrows)

Mini-Summary (blurb taken from the back of the book):  January 1946: Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

Some Themes: the healing power of friendship and companionship, nontraditional family, impact of war, chaos and order, coping with death, embracing love, empowerment of self and community,  destruction of beauty, sacrifice, social and individual progress, motherhood, inner-strength

Characters: Juliet Ashton, Sidney Stark, Sophie Strachan, Dawsey Adams, Isola Pribby, Amelia Maugery, Eben Ramsey, John Booker, Elizabeth McKenna, Kit, Remy, Markham Reynolds, Gilly Gilbert

Some Thoughts
(Spoiler-ish, fair warning):
When I decided to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I actually had very little idea what it was about. All I knew was that it was a favorite among book clubs and that it was written in a series of letters. I was intrigued by the idea of a novel composed entirely of letters, so I did not let the odd-sounding title deter me and got to reading. Much to my own surprise, the reading turned into devouring, and I am now extremely pleased to say that I have found a new all-time favorite book.

Book Journal: Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones

Mini-Summary: Sophie, a young girl placed under an aging spell by the Witch of the Waste, travels with the Wizard Howl, his fire demon Calcifer, and his apprentice Michael in their Moving Castle. Along the way, Sophie encounters all kinds of magical happenings while learning about herself and uncovering Howl’s deepest secret.

Some Themes: Identity, Good v.s. Evil, Friendship, Trust, Love, Family, Wealth, Vanity, Jealousy, Magic

Characters: The Wizard Howl, Calcifer the Fire Demon, Sophie Hatter, Michael, the Witch of the Waste, Martha, Lettie, Fannie, Mrs. Fairfax, Scarecrow a.k.a. Turnip Head, Mrs. Pentstemmon, Miss Angorian, Percival,  the King, the Wizard Suliman

Some Thoughts (Spoiler-ish, fair warning):
Such a delightful story! After watching the movie (about a dozen or so times), I knew I just had to read this book. So glad that I did, too.

Autumn 2012 Reading List

I enjoy making lists, but I love making book lists. Now that summer's basically over, I thought I'd create a nice, ambitious reading list for the fall ...Maybe too ambitious...

New Additions to the Library for Autumn Reading:
  • David Sedaris' Naked
  • Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes
  • J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey
  • John Irving's The World According to Garp
  • Annie Barrows &  Mary Ann Shaffer's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus
  • Diane Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle
  • Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game
  • Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Vera Brosgol's Anya's Ghost
  • Alison Bechdel's Fun Home
  • Art Spiegelman's Maus I
  • Art Spiegelman's Maus II
  • Daniel Clowes' Ghost World
  • Mark Gatiss' The Vesuvius Club Graphic Novel
  • Sabrina Jones' Isadora Duncan
  • Mat Johnson's Right State

Leftovers from Summer Reading List that I'd Still Like to Read:
  • Max Brooks’ World War Z
  • Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
  • Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Shadow
  • Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea
  • John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces

Leftovers from Summer Reading List that I Don't Particularly Feel Like Reading but Still Might Read:
  • Richard Adams’ Watership Down
  • Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It
  • Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood
  • Yann Martel's Life of Pi   
  • Kim Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter
  • Ann Brashare’s My Name is Memory
  • Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale
  • Markus Zusak's I Am the Messenger
  • Sharon Creech’s The Wanderer
  • Natalie Babbitt's The Search for Delicious

Ahhh, that's some satisfying book listing. I suspect I'm pretty much setting myself up for failure to attempt to read all of these books in the next three months, but we shall see. Either way, it's my idea of a good time.

Newest Arrivals

Over the past few weeks, I've acquired a substantial amount of new and used books. Some are giveaways, some gifts, some products of self-indulgent book-binging... and all mine, mine, MINE! Observe:

These three hailed from  the used bookstore to knock a few books off the ol' wishlist

And these gorgeous graphic novels are also all from the used bookstore. Can you tell I feel considerably less guilty over buying books when they are purchased from the used bookstore? I justify these guilt-free splurges several ways: 1) They are significantly marked down from their retail prices, 2) It is my personal duty to the community to patronize local brick-and-mortar bookstores, and 3) These books used to have a shelf they once called home, and they need me to adopt them because their days of readability are not yet over.

In this pile, the first book was a gift from a co-worker who highly recommends the series after learning I haven't read anything of the steampunk genre yet, and the second is a gift from my mother for a long day of travel.

These beauties were all won in GoodReads' First Reads giveaways. Though I think I am going to cool-it with the giveaways as I don't have any particular interest in some of these books other than that they were free.

And last but not least (by any means), these were all purchased with a birthday gift card! I put that generous gift card to excellent use, as you can see.

Though it probably goes without saying, I openly admit that I am a full-fledged bibliophile, and I make no apologies.

Linked up here and here.

The End of the Summer 2012 Reading List

This is a compilation of books I own that I planned to read this summer. I drafted the tentative list on May 25th, and though it's still technically summertime, I consider the summer season over now that September started. It's the academic in me, I suppose.

  • Meg Mitchell Moore’s So Far Away: A Novel [finished 5/26/12]
  • Sharon Creech’s The Wanderer
  • E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey [abandoned 5/27/12]
  • Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed [finished 8/13/12]
  • Ann Brashare’s My Name is Memory
  • Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale
  • Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere [finished 8/23/12]
  • Max Brooks’ World War Z
  • Richard Adams’ Watership Down
  • Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
  • Yann Martel's Life of Pi
  • Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth [finished 6/1/12]
  • Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It
  • Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Shadow
  • Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea
  • John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces
  • Kim Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter
  • Markus Zusak's I Am the Messenger
  • Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood
  • Cassandra Clare's City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments Book 5) [finished 6/4/12]
  • Tina Fey's Bossypants [finished 6/21/12]
  • Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis [finished 8/16/12]
  • Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis 2 [finished 8/17/12]
  • Natalie Babbitt's The Search for Delicious
  • Sharon Creech's Bloomability [finished 7/8/12]
  • Sharon Creech's Hate That Cat [finished 8/17/12]

I read 10 out of the 26 books, so I accomplished roughly 38%. Not really anything to brag about. Ah well, there's always the Autumn 2012 list to aspire to.

Assorted Summer Reads

I journaled about several of the books I read this summer, but I haven’t mentioned the others I managed to squeeze in during this busy season.

  • Tina Fey’s Bossypants [read 6/20/12] 4/5 Stars
    This memoir is absolutely hilarious. I read it during a particularly stressful stretch of time for me at work, and it was the perfect escape-read during lunch and breaks. Tina Fey talks about her adolescence, her relationships with the male figures in her life, her time at SNL, and having a baby, all in a humorous and personal voice. The tone was self-deprecating yet very empowered at the same time, which I loved because it felt so authentic. Basically, it was a great pick-me-up that I would recommend to anyone who loves to laugh.

  •  Chelsea Handler’s My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands [read 7/3/12] 3/5 Stars
    I picked up this book directly after Bossypants, hoping for another hilarious empowered female read. However, Handler's memoir is empowered in a completely different way from Fey's: it is overtly sexual. I mean, I already knew that going in (considering what the title is), but this read wasn't really for me. I kept thinking of it as the female version of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. I certainly admire a woman owning and exploring her sexuality, yet this foul-mouthed memoir is a touch too coarse for my tastes.

  • Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood [read 8/16/12] 4/5 Stars
    Graphic novels are my favorite kind of literary change of pace. I find that when I'm in a rut or getting bored with reading, picking up a visually stunning graphic novel puts me back in the analytical mind-frame. Persepolis has gained much acclaim, and I've been curious about it for years, so it was serendipitous when I found the hardcover versions of book 1 and 2 at my favorite used bookstore for five dollars a piece. Persepolis as a graphic memoir is incredibly heartfelt and engaging, and I learned so much about the culture of the Middle East during the Islamic Revolution. I was deeply affected by Satrapi's portrayal of the militaristic and religious oppression and the ways in which she and her progressive family fought against it in their own ways, big and small.

  • Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return [read 8/17/12] 3/5 Stars
    I thoroughly enjoyed the first book but the second book... not so much. Satrapi's voice is no less honest than in the first book, but the pacing in Persepolis 2 is very slow and boring. I grew tired of hearing about her romantic interludes and struggles with drug use. I think that Satrapi is very much in her own head in this book, whereas the first book is focused on the social commentary of the time and place in which she was living.

  • Sharon Creechs Hate That Cat [read 8/17/12] 4/5 Stars
    Another wonderful and poignant Children's/Young Adult book written in free verse by Creech! Hate That Cat is written as the poetry journal of a young boy in elementary school. Jack uses his poetry to express both his grief over the loss of his beloved dog and his love over his new kitten. I adored the nods to the poetry greats like Poe and William Carlos Williams. Although this book is a sequel to the previous book Love That Dog,  I didn't need to read the first book in order to be touched by this one.

Check out the other summer reads I journaled about here, here, here, here, and here (whew).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...