Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Monday, October 20, 2008

Magic little book

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an enchanting little book. Set at the end of World War II, it is a series of letter from the members of the Society and Julia, an author.

The first letter is from Dawsey, a farmer and member. He has been captivated by a book by Charles Lamb, which Julia used to own. He writes to her asking what other books he might try next as she liked this too. His mention of Society pulls Julia in. How could an author resist a group with a name like that?

Soon she is coresponding to the members, who all tell their tales of books and the horrible times during the German occupation of the island. However it is the friendship of the members that pull them through and bind the book together. And then there is the missing member of the group, Elizabeth. When Julia comes to the island, it changes her too.

I don't know what the magic of this book is, but it just pulled me in. It isn't a perfect novel, but... It isn't a pretty little English island book. The people of Guernsey experienced horrors and deprivation during the war. Still it was in a way enchanting book. Promise me you'll give it a try. However you can't borrow mine. I'm rereading it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Does People Do It?

"Does people do it?" was the catchphrase of the author's uncle. If it was a job people did, he'd try his hand at it too. It was tough times in Oklahoma. Fred Harris, senator and presidental candidate, took that phrase as his personal motto as he took on challenging tasks and opportunities.

The memoir tells Harris' tale of the move from a hard scrabble life in Oklahoma to the corridors of power in Washington. His tales of LBJ and other old boys of politics are fun to read. Harris comes across as an honest pragamatist with a real gusto for life.

I enjoyed this memoir, but finished feeling I wanted a little bit more from the author. I can't tell you what exactly, but it just seemed to lack something. However it made for an interesting read.