I can't even blame it on the war—I was never very good at men, was I? Do you suppose the St. Swithin's furnace-man was my one true love? Since I never spoke to him, it seems unlikely, but at least it was a passion unscathed by disappointment. And he had that beautiful black hair. After that, you remember, came the Year of Poets.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society | Annie Barrows
Sidney's quite snarky about those poets, though I don't see why, since he introduced me to them. Then poor Adrian. Oh, there's no need to recite the dread rolls to you, but Sophie—what is the matter with me? Am I too particular? I don't want to be married just to be married. I can't think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can't talk to, or worse, someone I can't be silent with. What a dreadful, complaining letter. You see? I've succeeded in making you feel relieved that I won't be stopping in Scotland.
But then again, I may—my fate rests with Sidney. Kiss Dominic for me and tell him I saw a rat the size of a terrier the other day.
Martin's Parish on Guernsey. I know of you because I have an old book that once belonged to you—the Selected Essays of Elia, by an author whose name in real life was Charles Lamb. Your name and address were written inside the front cover. I will speak plain—I love Charles Lamb. My own book says Selected, so I wondered if that meant he had written other things to choose from? These are the pieces I want to read, and though the Germans are gone now, there aren't any bookshops left on Guernsey.
I want to ask a kindness of you. Could you send me the name and address of a bookshop in London? I would like to order more of Charles Lamb's writings by post. I would also like to ask if anyone has ever written his life story, and if they have, could a copy be found for me? For all his bright and turning mind, I think Mr. Lamb must have had a great sadness in his life. Charles Lamb made me laugh during the German Occupation, especially when he wrote about the roast pig.
I am sorry to bother you, but I would be sorrier still not to know about him, as his writings have made me his friend. Hoping not to trouble you, Dawsey Adams P. My friend Mrs. Maugery bought a pamphlet that once belonged to you, too. It is called Was There a Burning Bush? A Defense of Moses and the Ten Commandments. She liked your margin note, "Word of God or crowd control???
From Juliet to Dawsey 15th January, Mr. Martin's, Guernsey Dear Mr. Adams, I no longer live on Oakley Street, but I'm so glad that your letter found me and that my book found you. It was a sad wrench to part with the Selected Essays of Elia. I had two copies and a dire need of shelf-room, but I felt like a traitor selling it.
You have soothed my conscience. I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true. I have gone to them for years, always finding the one book I wanted—and then three more I hadn't known I wanted.
I told Mr. Hastings you would like a good, clean copy and not a rare edition of More Essays of Elia. He will send it to you by separate post invoice enclosed and was delighted to know you are also a lover of Charles Lamb. He said the best biography of Lamb was by E. Lucas, and he would hunt out a copy for you, though it may take a while.
In the meantime, will you accept this small gift from me? It is his Selected Letters.
I think it will tell you more about him than any biography ever could. Lucas sounds too stately to include my favorite passage from Lamb: "Buz, buz, buz, bum, bum, bum, wheeze, wheeze, wheeze, fen, fen, fen, tinky, tinky, tinky, cr'annch! I shall certainly come to be condemned at last. I have been drinking too much for two days running.
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I find my moral sense in the last stage of a consumption and my religion getting faint. They were the first Lamb I ever read, and I'm ashamed to say I only bought the book because I'd read elsewhere that a man named Lamb had visited his friend Leigh Hunt, in prison for libeling the Prince of Wales. While there, Lamb helped Hunt paint the ceiling of his cell sky blue with white clouds.
Next they painted a rose trellis up one wall. Then, I further discovered, Lamb offered money to help Hunt's family outside the prison—though he himself was as poor as a man could be. Lamb also taught Hunt's youngest daughter to say the Lord's Prayer backward. You naturally want to learn everything you can about a man like that. That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive—all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.
The red stain on the cover that looks like blood—is blood.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Movie Tie-In Edition)
I got careless with my paper knife. The enclosed postcard is a reproduction of a painting of Lamb by his friend William Hazlitt. If you have time to correspond with me, could you answer several questions? Three, in fact.
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Why did a roast pig dinner have to be kept a secret? How could a pig cause you to begin a literary society?
And, most pressing of all, what is a potato peel pie—and why is it included in your society's name? My Oakley Street flat was bombed in and I still miss it. Oakley Street was wonderful—I could see the Thames out of three of my windows. I know that I am fortunate to have any place at all to live in London, but I much prefer whining to counting my blessings.
I am glad you thought of me to do your Elia hunting. Yours sincerely, Juliet Ashton P. I never could make up my mind about Moses—it still bothers me. Please forgive my moaning about the teas and luncheons you set up for Izzy.
Did I call you a tyrant? Bath is a glorious town: lovely crescents of white, upstanding houses instead of London's black, gloomy buildings or—worse still—piles of rubble that were once buildings. It is bliss to breathe in clean, fresh air with no coal smoke and no dust. The weather is cold, but it isn't London's dank chill. Even the people on the street look different—upstanding, like their houses, not grey and hunched like Londoners.
Susan said the guests at Abbot's book tea enjoyed themselves immensely—and I know I did. I was able to un-stick my tongue from the roof of my mouth after the first two minutes and began to have quite a good time. No standing in the corridors for hours, no being shunted off for a troop train to pass, and above all, no black-out curtains. All the windows we passed were lighted, and I could snoop once more.
I missed it so terribly during the war. I felt as if we had all turned into moles scuttling along in our separate tunnels. I don't consider myself a real peeper—they go in for bedrooms, but it's families in sitting rooms or kitchens that thrill me. I can imagine their entire lives from a glimpse of bookshelves, or desks, or lit candles, or bright sofa cushions.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. About the Author. Mary Ann Shaffer , who passed away in February , worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. Date of Birth: Date of Death: This exacerbates the resentment his teenage daughter, Hannah Amelia Crouch , holds for him.
Before the film gives up the goods — which are reasonably, if not earth-shatteringly, clever — it shifts into action-and-scare mode as Peter and Alice attempt to get the family out of their high-rise apartment and to safety. There are a lot of dark corridors, and the characters do quite a bit of ducking and crouching. Young handles it reasonably well, but I was struck by an unavoidable truth: These scenes of suspense and scare excel on a large screen, in a reasonably crowded theater.
A group of natives violating curfew are stopped by a couple of soldiers, and on the spot, the crew creates the title organization as an excuse for being out late. The movie then moves to postwar Britain, where the young author Juliet Ashton Lily James is pondering her next work after a successful career writing pseudonymous comedic books during the war. Contemplating some letters she received during the war from a Guernsey man named Dawsey Adams Michiel Huisman who read one of her books, she impulsively takes a boat to the island. The Yank boyfriend proposes to her on the dock with a baseball-size ring that Juliet promptly ties up in a handkerchief and puts in her purse.
Juliet learns the occupation of Guernsey was not entirely sat out in the form of whimsical literary societies.