I am Lygeia Grace, Senior Food Editor at Real Simple, and I’m delighted to be reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, for this month’s installment of the No-Obligation Book Club. From the way the voting went—Guernsey crushed My Life in France and The Ten-Year Nap—it looks as though a large number of you are excited, too. I must admit, some of my anticipation is quite selfish: I’m a member of an off-line book club (I’m not sure if that’s a real term, but it sounds good) and although we may read long and serious books, our conversations about them are often quite short and light. We always have other, more pressing issues to discuss—like travel, work, kids, movies…you get the picture. I’m looking forward to some juicy conversations about Guernsey. Even though it takes place in England and the Channel Islands in the rather bleak postwar years, there are a lot of dreamy characters and dramatic goings-on, I understand. As for the other books up for consideration, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is definitely going on my holiday wish list.
Before we get into the logistics of how our discussion will be organized, here’s a little about me. I work in the magazine’s food department, a position that admittedly has some of the best perks ever. First, it’s part of my job to taste all the delicious food that comes out of our test kitchens. Second, it’s part of my job to taste all the delicious food that is sent to our office by manufacturers who want us to feature it in the magazine (yes, that includes cheese, chocolate, and wine). The only downside (if it’s possible to even call it that) is that too much of any one thing ceases to be good–even pasta, as I learned the hard way at a recent marathon test kitchen tasting. When I’m not eating or editing recipes and copy for the magazine, I’m spending time with my husband and 9-year-old daughter. We do a lot of cooking and tromping around New York together to parks and museums. And there’s also that book club I mentioned earlier. Despite the lame first impression I may have given you, we have spent many wonderful hours over the last 10 years talking about great and not-so-great books. We call one another Bookies, and I’ve taken the liberty of using the term for all of us for this month’s discussion, too.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society doesn’t have chapters, so I thought we could divide our reading by the page numbers in the Dial Press paperback edition. (I’ll also include letter dates, in case the hardcover pagination is different.) I’m going to aim to post comments and questions on Mondays or Tuesdays. To begin our discussion, let’s read up to page 69 (the end of the 3/2/46 letter) by Tuesday, December 1. This should give everyone enough time to get through Thanksgiving, pick up the book, and dip their toes in. Speaking of which (as a food editor I have to ask):
What is your favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast?
Please let me know, along with how you’re feeling about our new book selection, in the comments section below. See you next week and happy Thanksgiving!