Oh. My. Goodness. Have you ever read a book that you don't want to put down, but you want to force yourself to put it down and finish it slowly, savoring every word because you know when you finish it, that's it? No sequel, not even any other books by the same author. Yes I can re-read this one, but I will never again have the experience of reading it for the first time. This novel has made me gasp, laugh, cringe, nod in agreement, grab for my highlighter, and want to bitch slap someone - anyone.
Here it is: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
If you are a lover of books, reading, letters, and fictional characters you'd give nearly anything to meet in person, read this book.
I'm 33 pages from the end, and I'm procrastinating finishing it, though there's nothing I'd rather do this morning. I first tore myself away for a shower (it is nearly 10:00, after all), now I'm writing this, and next my daughter and I will be battling the fortified-by-the-impending-3-day-holiday-closure Monday crowds at the grocery store. After that I'll probably walk to the butcher, and then it will be lunch time. After lunch on Mondays I call my parents in the U.S. and we talk for an hour or two, so it does look like I'll manage to put off that "I've just finished the best book I've read in ages, and no other book on my pile will be as satisfying as this one" feeling for a while longer.
I should write a review, but I haven't written one of those since college, and I probably didn't even write one then. Hm. I'll ponder what I would write to honor this book, but in the mean time I can direct you to the person I owe thanks to for bringing the novel into my radar in the first place, who wrote a review of it in November, in her blog, Confuzzledom.
I have seen several blog recent posts by expats listing stocking stuffer gifts for travelers, most of which make me wonder if I've been missing the mark on stockings. I normally put in there an apple, an orange, a bunch of Christmasy chocolates, Gummibärchen, and a book. A book in my stocking when I was a child is responsible for my lifelong love of Collies and the amazing writer Albert Payson Terhune. I know our parents gave us other small gifts in our stockings along with the fruit and candy, and I'm sure I liked them all - but that is the only stocking gift I specifically recall, and I still have it on my shelves, tattered and worn though it is from being read so many times.
Anyway, treat yourself to a book this Christmas! Go to a bookstore if you're lucky enough to live somewhere near a real bookstore - every town worth a visit in Germany has at least one, though in the U.S. small family-owned bookstores (and any bookstores in small towns) are a thing of the past - and browse the shelves.
The book you need to read will find you.
"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." ~Juliet (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)