Cold Snap!

To say that the last two week's weather has been cold is like saying that chocolate is marginally tasty. Well, duh! The sub-zero nights and single-digit days stretched into a dismal and frigid pattern that paralyzed Ark City's already sluggish post-holiday social schedule. The Hubster and I hunkered down grizzly bear-style (with grocery provisions) and passed the time with plenty of blankets, naps, old movies and reading. The Hubster reads internet news articles and periodicals, I prefer contemporary fiction (and Facebook updates).

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Momala's Book Club Pick: "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, was published in 2008 by Random House. "Guernsey" is a freshman effort by Ms. Shaffer, who worked as an editor, librarian and in bookstores. She wrote stories most of her adult life, but this is the first one that was finished to her satisfaction.

Juliet Ashton is a 33-year-old single journalist, living in post-WWII London. Her beautiful riverside flat was destroyed by Nazi bombs, and so she is traveling the English countryside promoting her latest book (a compilation of her wartime newspaper columns). While traveling, a letter is forwarded to her from a farmer living in Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. Thus begins a flowering correspondence between Juliet and the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

The novel is written in letter form: missives between Juliet and her publisher, Sidney Stark, her best friend, Sophie, and various Guernsey Society members. Slowly through the messages, I became enamored and then engrossed by the story of the Nazi-occupied island and Juliet's eventual assimilation into the Guernsey community. A novel of this caliber comes along only once in a blue moon. When I finished the book, I felt a real sense of loss and didn't want to leave the company of my new friends.

On a rather sad note, Mary Ann Shaffer became seriously ill and died before this book was published. She never lived to see the swelling popularity, nor did she hear any accolades. Instead, her devoted niece, Annie, tackled the editing and finishing touches of the book. When I read of Ms. Shaffer's death in the afterword, I rather felt I had lost a good friend and talented companion. READ THIS BOOK! You won't be sorry.

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Exercise Update: I renewed my 2010 resolve to return to hand-weight calisthenics. I managed four sets with increased repetitions. I did two aerobic workouts, as well.

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Notable Quote:

"McDonald's is your kind of place, it's such a happy place, a hap-hap-happy place, a clean and snappy place. McDonald's is your kind of place, it's such a happy place, McDonald's is your kind of place."--McDonald's jingle, circa 1967. (They just don't write 'em like that any more!)
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