November Book Club & Winter Event

We hope you enjoyed this month’s read! You are cordially invited to discuss the book through the comment thread below. Thank you so much for taking part.

About the Book

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

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.


Discussion Questions from the publisher

1. What was your experience reading a novel composed entirely of letters? Are there types of information or emotion that letters convey more successfully than other forms of expression? Would a novel in emails have different strengths and weaknesses?

2. What makes Sidney and Sophie ideal friends for Juliet? What common ground do they share? Do you now have or have you had people in your life who have offered similar support to you?

3. Dawsey first writes to Juliet because books are so difficult to obtain on Guernsey in the aftermath of the war. What differences do you note between bookselling in the 1940s and bookselling today? Do book lovers share common qualities across generations?

4. What were your first impressions of Dawsey? How is he different from the other men in Juliet’s life?

5. Discuss the writers who capture the hearts of the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Does a reader’s taste in books reveal anything significant about his or her personality?

5. Whose lives are changed the most by their membership in the society?

6. In what ways are Juliet and Elizabeth kindred spirits? What does Elizabeth’s spontaneous invention of the Society say about her approach to life? What does her bravery reveal about it?

7. Numerous Guernsey residents give Juliet access to their private memories of the occupation. Which voices were most memorable for you? What is the effect of reading a variety of responses to a shared tragedy? 8. How does Remy’s presence enhance the lives of those on Guernsey? Through her survival, what recollections, hopes, and lessons are preserved?

9. What historical facts about life in England during World War II were you especially surprised to discover? What qualities of wartime experience are captured in a detail such as the invention of the potato peel pie? Are there ways in which fiction can provide the means for more fully understanding a historical reality?

10. Which member of the Society was your favorite? Whose literary opinions are most like your own? Do you agree with Isola that “reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones”?

Better World Book Club Winter Event

In September we had a great launch to the in-person book club. Thanks to the success this Fall, we are hosting another in-person event this Winter in Atlanta. We would also love for BWB advocates around the world to get involved in our on and offline book club. If you are interested, please email me at elevin@betterworldbooks.com.

If you’re in the Atlanta area, we’d love to see you at this amazing educational and service event. Please save the date – Wednesday Janurary 18th. We will be discussing Same Kind of Different as Me, the December pick and serving and eating dinner with the residents of City of Refuge. Here is more info on the Winter event: http://betterworldbookclub.eventbrite.com/.

The December Pick

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.
An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.
A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.
It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.
Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.


Please share your responses to the discussion questions in the comment field below. Thank you!

2 Comments

  1. Mary Bonelli says:

    My book club, The Wesley Chapel (NC) G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Reading In The South) won the “Take Your Book Club To Guernsey” contest that was in the back of the book! We were treated to a trip to Guernsey and a tour of the island and a book discussion with several men and women who were children at the time of the Occupancy. The island of Guernsey is just beautiful and you can totally imagine Juliet, Kit and Dawsey living there. The book is a wonderful look into a part of history that few people knew about.

  2. Found the book hard to get into with letters from various characters but loved the setting — the characters were great and the book as a whole is to be recommended.

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