Thursday, June 16, 2016

Book Talk


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.

LINKS*
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.

*Most links to Amazon.com are Associate Links.  I thank you.

Photo:  My own from Instagram

8 comments:

ellen b said...

Light reading for summer sounds real good. Thanks for these recommendations.

Judy said...

I'm so delighted to discover that 84 Charring Cross Road has a sequel! I'm off to search for an inexpensive copy online. Summer reading to look forward to for sure.

Marie said...

I've enjoyed most of these books too. Your Book Talk is always a favorite post. For the PBS show about the Channel Islands, was it Islands at War? I saw this on Netflix, and it was very scary for me--the tension with Nazi occupation!

Deanna Rabe said...

I am reading light these days, too. Reading through a series that my girls love by Melanie Dickerson. I am interested in the first two you mentioned and will look for them, they sound very good. I read the Guernsey book and liked it.

I still haven't read the that Susan Branch book. AHHH, I need to make a list!

Janie said...

I've got The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on my to-read shelf and hadn't put the title and Guernsey Island's history together. Thanks! I'm going to have to move it up on the "read-soon" shelf. :) Learning the setting and time period of the book from you reminded me a BBC six-part series we watched called Island at War. It is set on a fictional island but combined the WWII histories of the real Guernsey and Jersey islands. It was fascinating, and I recommend it to you. Thanks again!

Melissa said...

Loved the movie, "84 Charing Cross Road", now I'll have to find the book sequel, didn't know that existed, thank you.

Heather LeFebvre said...

You always choose good books :) I might need to check that Lark Rise book out! And I need to read the Duchess one. Am trying to be so very careful not to order stacks of book this summer as I try to read through my own stack. I'm not sure I'm making tons of progress.....Attending the Gospel Coalition Women's conference this weekend and enjoying it very much! How can one not love Tim Keller, Don Carson, John Piper??!!!!

carlahoag said...

I didn't know that 84 Charing Cross Road had a sequel. Thanks for letting us know. And also that Lark Rise to Candleford is non-fiction.

84 Charing Cross Road is probably one of the most faithful-to-the-book screenplays ever and one of my favorite movies.