If you like me love reading books and period drama, you may have seen this film and you may also have read the book it is an adaptation of. If you haven't yet, you must! My suggestion is ... start from the book, of course!
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a delightful epistolary novel and a beautiful costume movie. Starring Lily James and Michiel Huisman, supported by a remarkable cast including Glen Powell, Jessica Brown Findley , Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton and Tom Courtney, the 2018 movie is directed by Mike Newell. You can find it on Netflix or on DVD, if you’ve missed it when it was released in cinemas.
But I’m here to talk books and reading more than the movie itself. The message of both the Guernsey novel and the movie is that books can help people cope with the hardest times of their lives and that reading can create precious bonds among human beings. The Society formed by the rather improbable readers protagonists of the story during the years of the Nazi occupation of the island of Guernsey is a gripping example of that.
By the way, if you want to know more about the plot and the characters, try this post I wrote soon after watching the movie last summer. (HERE)
Today, instead, I’d like to focus on what you can learn about reading and books from the Society itself. Ready for some very good reading tips from the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society?
1. A pocket book is your ticket to anywhere. Whatever it is you’d rather not be doing (quite possibly eating potato peel pie!), a book is the perfect way to escape to far-flung lands and experience life in another’s shoes. You can go anywhere you want in just minutes – if you keep a book in your pocket.
2. Laughter is medicine. It was Charles Lamb’s wit that kept Dawsey going through the Occupation, so dig out an author who makes you laugh and even the darkest days will be bright again for a little while.
3. Lose track of time. Put away your phone. When you finally lose sense of time and space, that’s when you know it’s a really good book.
4. Recommend, recommend, recommend. We are transformed into the literary society each time we recommend a book and each time we say “if you liked that, I bet you’d like this”.
5. Follow the trail. Every book you read is like a trail of breadcrumbs – each read is a little speck of interest that leads you to another book and then another. And for no other reason than sheer pleasure!
6. Books have a homing instinct. Most people wander around bookshops, waiting for a story to call to them. If you believe that there’s a perfect story out there for everyone, then accept recommendations, take inspiration in bookshops and let your ideal book find its way home to you.
7. Scribble in the margins. It’s a wonderful thing to open a book you’ve been given and find another’s notes, questions and reactions scattered through it. It reminds us that a book becomes much more than just a book when you pass it on, letting our thoughts reache through time the next reader.
8. The story doesn’t have to end. If you’ve had such a thrilling time exploring another world that you’ve been dreading reaching the end, there is a way to keep it going. Share the story with your friends, let it live in your discussion about it.
P.S. I've recently discussed both the book and the movie with one of my classes. You'll find the materials I prepared for them on my LEARN ONLINE blog. My students are Italian, like me, and they study English as a foreign language.