Thursday, June 16, 2016
Just popping in to share my June reading before the month ends. I made a decision last month that my summer reading needed to be very light. So I am reading a couple new books and rereading old favorites this month.
84 Charing Cross Road is a book I first read long ago and didn't realize until later it was nonfiction! If you haven't read it... and if you love books, why not?... it contains the correspondence between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel from the bookstore located at 84, Charing Cross Road in London.
Throughout the years, Helene also became friends with Frank's wife and staff of the bookstore through letters. The book was made into a play in England, a play in America, and a movie (which I enjoyed watching a couple of times). The writing is so witty that like I said... I didn't know they were real letters until years after reading the book for the first time!
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is "kind of" the sequel to 84 Charing Cross Road. It follows the author as she finally makes her dream trip to England. Instead of letters, the text is in the form of her diaries while on her trip.
It is a must read for anyone who loved the original book. I don't want to say too much about it for by doing so, I'd give away the end to the first book. Both of these books are small enough to slip into a purse or beach bag and both are fairly quick reads.
The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is one of my very favorite novels. It is also written in the form of letters but one soon forgets the format and just enjoys the story. It begins soon after WWII has ended and through correspondence it takes us back to the war and what happened on Gurnsey.
Since reading this book, I watched a travel show on PBS where the Channel Islands were featured (I can't recall which show it was). While this book is fiction, it does truthfully tell the story of Gurnsey in that war.
This book is perfect summer reading, especially if you are a fan of stories that take place in England circa WWII.
Th Illustrated Lark Rise to Candleford is... magical. I already had the trilogy in hardback when I heard about the illustrated edition. I think it is out of print but there are many inexpensive copies available. The one I have now is a library edition in fairly good condition.
The book contains an abridged edition of the original but don't let that stop you. The illustrations and artwork make this a beautiful way of reading the book. I usually prefer books that are not abridged but with these illustrated versions, they add so much to the story that I'll forgive them.
If you have not read the books the TV shows are based on, they are true nonfiction (I know that is somewhat redundant) memoirs written by Flora Thompson. I have read comments and reviews by people who were very disappointed when they started the books and they were not exactly like the TV show scripts.
However, if you begin reading the memoir knowing the show is based on it, then I think you will enjoy it very much. It gives us a view of England that has now past. A much beloved England to the writer... and if you read it in this illustrated version, you feel you are walking among the wildflowers as you read.
Kitchen Gypsy and Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams have already been discussed here.
I will be writing a Book Talk about how I choose what to read. Soon.
84, Charing Street Road info... here.
Duchess of Bloomsbury Street info... here.
The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Pie Society info... here.
The Illustrated Lark Rise to Candleford info... here.
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Photo: My own from Instagram