Tuesday, December 15, 2009

January Book Club Selections

The Monday Evening Book Club will meet on January 11th at 7 pm (in the Training Room upstairs) to discuss Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

... more information about this book...

The Seniors Book Club will meet on January 13th at 2 pm (in the Program Room downstairs) to discuss The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

About this Book

“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” 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.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

(Source: www.randomhouse.ca)

About the Authors

Mary Ann Shaffer became interested in Guernsey while visiting London in 1976. On a whim, she decided to fly to Guernsey but became stranded there when a thick fog descended and all boats and planes were forbidden to leave the island. As she waited for the fog to lift, warming herself by the heat of the hand-dryer in the men's restroom, she read all the books in the Guernsey airport bookstore, including Jersey under the Jack-Boot. Thus began her fascination with the German Occupation of the Channel Islands.

Many years later, when goaded by her book club to write a novel, Mary Ann naturally thought of Guernsey. She chose to write in the epistolary form because, "for some bizarre reason, I thought it would be easier." Several years of work yielded The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which was greeted with avid enthusiasm, first by her family, then by her writing group, and finally by publishers around the world. Sadly, Mary Ann's health began to decline shortly thereafter, and she asked her niece, Annie Barrows, to help her finish the book.

Mary Ann Shaffer was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, in 1934. Her career included libraries, bookstores, and publishing, but her life-long dream was to "write a book that someone would like enough to publish." Though she did not live to see it, this dream has been realized in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Annie Barrows, whose career also included libraries, bookstores, and publishing, is the author of the Ivy and Bean series for children, as well as The Magic Half.

(Source: www.anniebarrows.com)

An interview with Annie Barrows on Youtube

A video of Guernsey today

A journalist's account of her visit to Guernsey (inspired by the book; includes a video)

Related DVDs available at St. Albert Public Library:

Island at War (look for vols. 1-3)

Enemy at the Door (look for vols. 1-4)

Favourite Books discussed at the Christmas Parties

It's always fascinating to see the variety of books our book club members pick as "favourite reads". Here is a list of the titles (with links to our library catalog) we talked about at our recent Christmas get-togethers:


The Cellist of Sarajewo by Steven Galloway
What is the what: the autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng : a novel by Dave Eggers
The Lizard cage by Karen Connelly
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Girl with a pearl earring by Tracy Chevalier
The Three daughters of Madame Liang by Pearl S. Buck
New York : the novel by Edward Rutherfurd (picked by 2 members)
My sister's keeper by Jodi Picoult
Three views of crystal water by Katherine Govier
The Island by Victoria Hislop
Icefields by Thomas Wharton
Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright
Wishin' and hopin' : a Christmas story by Wally Lamb
Christy by Catherine Marshall (not at SAPL)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Sarah's key by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (translated from French)
The Hero's walk by Anita Rau Badami
A boy of good breeding by Miriam Toews
A Confederacy of dunces by John Kennedy Toole


Wild Swans : three daughters of China by Jung Chang
Tuesdays with Morrie : an old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson by Mitch Albom
Guns, germs, and steel : the fates of human societies by Jared M. Diamond
What is America? : a short history of the new world order by Ronald Wright
Mennonite in a little black dress : a memoir of going home by Rhoda Janzen
Hungry planet : what the world eats by Peter Menzel
Impressionism : 50 paintings you should know by Ines Janet Engelmann.