MHC Staff Recommends…
Everyone knows about the life-changing experience of a good book–but a life-saving experience is something different! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow recounts the story of how a literary society, created to conceal from the Nazis occupying the island of Guernsey during World War II the residents’ true purpose of dining on contraband pork, saves the islanders from imprisonment and possible death.
The spur-of-the-moment creation of the literary society effectively conceals the real purpose of the gathering, and becomes, in fact, a rare outlet for spontaneous conversation about something other than the rigors of daily life. The islanders–farmers, fishermen, and craftsmen with limited formal education–delve into works by Shakespeare, Charles Lamb, Jane Austen, and Marcus Aurelius and discuss their reading with the other members. By doing so, they forge unexpected friendships and develop new ways of viewing the world and coping with their precarious existence.
It is a story of love, survival, sacrifice, and courage told through a series of letters and notes among various characters. I recommend it highly as a great summer read.
Lisa Keir is Development and Communications Director at the Maryland Humanities Council.
Be on the lookout for more MHC staff summer reading recommendations! Or, let us know your own summer reading favorites.