The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House) by Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, Annie Barrows, came up in conversation four times in one week. Since my father grew up in the Channel Islands during World War II, and that’s what the book is about, I figured the synchronicity was a sign that I should read it. The authors wrote the book in the form of letters, which allowed them to describe life during the German occupation at length without anything really happening—apart from a weak love story and a foiled literary heist.
As I tried to finish the book on the flight home at Christmas so I could pass it off as a present for my parents, the woman in the next seat said, “Isn’t that just the greatest book? I read it with my book club and we all loved it.” I didn’t know how to answer; certainly not with one of the book club questions at the back of the book, like “What truly makes someone a ‘great catch’?” So I said it was boring and she changed the subject and two minutes later we discovered we knew each other.
When my parents opened the book on Christmas morning, they told me they already had a copy they hadn’t read, so we re-gifted it to my Gran.