Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I recently finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This epistolary novel is set in post-WWII England and tells the story of the German occupation of the island of Guernsey, which is the second largest island of the Chanel Islands. The main character, Juliet, is a feisty, funny author who, by chance or fate, receives a letter from one of the founding members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Her correspondence with the members of this group begins as a desire to research the potential for a new book. It ends with Juliet's introspection and self-examination and a new group of friends.

I had heard that this was a really great book. And I enjoyed it a great deal. I tend to really like epistolary novels as a form. I tend to not love WWII books, because I just can't emotionally handle the indignities and atrocities of war. And to be truthful, I did find the parts that gave historical context and real war stories hard to read. But I did enjoy learning about this area/time because I'd never heard about the occupation of this island (honestly, I didn't even know where the Channel Islands were before this book--further evidence of my need to learn more about geography, per my list). I also love a sassy heroine, which Juliet is, for sure. The book is filled with other colorful characters, too. Pick up this book. It's well worth your time.

Find Places to Teach Holy Yoga

This is really exciting for me. I've started teaching Holy Yoga at my church doing a 4-week Intro class. We're halfway through the series and I have to say that I am just high on life these days. I can't believe that I am getting to teach something that has been so meaningful in my life. I love it. And my students have been so sweet to say that they are loving it too. Thanks, God. I'm also cued up to begin teaching at my kids' preschool church in a few weeks. Life feels so exciting...

More Cards

I took another card making class with LM a couple weeks ago. It was a fun night, mostly 'cause I got to hang out with LM and be crafty. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My Second Saturday Book Club met this morning to discuss The Help by Kathryn Stockett. One of the things that I love about our book club is that we use each book to launch discussions about the important things in life. We never know where we are going to end up. And I love that.

I already summarized the book & my impression in a previous post. Part of our discussion today was about culture and rules imposed by culture. And while we all agreed that the social rules that were in place in the setting of the book were frightening and sad, one of my friends boldly suggested that our current culture has very few explicit rules and because of this, it can be really confusing. We agreed that while we like some of the freedom that the loosening of social rules affords, there is a certain element of insecurity that comes along with it. From table manners, to attire, to gender roles, to conflict in friendship, to how you speak to your mother, to neighborly visits and other social interactions, we no longer know the rules and don't know how we are to behave.

We tried to define what some of our cultural rules are...and found it really difficult. We talked about how we have different micro-cultures...the culture of our particular group of friends, the culture of Charlotte, the culture of the South, the culture of America. I love to explore the idea of culture & social norms (hence my sociology degree), yet I find it fascinating how difficult it can be to clearly see your own cultural context. We weren't able to name what our cultural rules are, but I know they exist.

So, I'm curious. What do you think our society's rules are? Do you think a lack of rules promotes cultural confusion? Are there things that you miss from a time when the rules were more clearly defined and social expectations were more explicit? Do you think that ill-defined cultural rules contribute to a sense of isolation? What rules might make our lives feel more secure?