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Rachel-K
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Reading Someone Else's Letters

 

A fascinating aspect of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is that it is a novel composed of letters. It may have been years since many of us have held a genuine letter in our hands! What effect does this form have on how you read Guernsey? Did you feel you were eavesdropping?

 

Why do you think the authors chose this form?

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debbook
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters

This made me miss letter writing. I think it has been years since I have written or received a personal letter. I used to like looking back and reading old letters. There is something nostalgic about that, not a feeling I get when reading old emails(If I bother to save them).

Reading this book made me feel like I'd discovered a bunch of old letters in an attic but I didn't feel like I was invading someone's privacy, it just made me feel connected.

A room without books is like a body without a soul.~ Cicero...
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BlueMoonBeam
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters

I love the letter idea.  I agree that most people have not held an actual letter in their hands in ages.  This has added greatly to my being in the feel of another time, and I am enjoying it.  I really like the way the authors announce who the letter is to and from prior to the letter, and sometimes it is helpful to be able to see the date.

 

I recommended the book to two of my friends today.  I also mentioned a couple of things from the book at Bible study this afternoon, and my minister commented that he had heard that this is a very good book.  The word is out!

 

Bobbi - Ohio

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Rachel-K
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters

I have tried writing letters in the past few years, but I'm afraid I couldn't resist adopting a slightly archaic tone!

 

I love how easily these letters seem to speak. They just feel like they come from people who write letters as a matter of course.

 

And as to the word being out!  My library has a waiting list of over 200!

 

Rachel

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Fozzie
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters


rkubie wrote:

 

What effect does this form have on how you read Guernsey? Did you feel you were eavesdropping?

 

Why do you think the authors chose this form?


Funny!  I never felt like I was eavesdropping and now that I read your question, I feel like maybe I should have!  LOL!

 

The book being composed of letters made me feel like I was back in time, when people really did communicate this way.  I liked having to piece together things, based on what was in different letters.  I especially liked reading what information and what tone the letters took, depending on who they were coming from and who they were to.  I also liked seeing the relationships evolve as the letters contain more and more personal information and take on more familiar rather than formal tones.

 

I did find myself making use of the dates and the note at the top of the letter as to who it was from with every letter.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Wrighty
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters

[ Edited ]


I do enjoy email for convenience but I also still like writing letters and cards the "old fashioned" way. Today I wrote to several people. No long letters this time but long notes on stationary and cards. I have a sister-in-law who gives the best stationary! Now that it's been mentioned here I realize that there are a few people who are surprised to receive mail this way.

 

I didn't feel like I was evesdropping reading the letters in this book. They came together to form a story and gave important information about a place and time in history. I didn't know much about it and reading the letters gave details the way someone who was there to experience it would. It helped to transport you back to that time period too. I also appreciated the notes about who the letters were to and from. It helped set the tone before I read each letter especially if it was anger or humor.

 

I'm glad I reserved this book the moment I saw it announced here. I can't even imagine how long the list is now at my library. It is one I'll have to buy because I will read this again. And I may be generous enough to loan it out to friends. We'll see. :smileywink: I saw in today's paper it's #1 (again I think) on the indie bestseller list! Congratulations Annie!

Message Edited by Wrighty on 09-08-2008 12:31 AM
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literature
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters

I don't know where you are located, but I mentioned this book to someone in the midwest with an excellent library system and the wait list there was over 200 people also.  Luckily her Temple had just purchased the book and she was able to borrow it.
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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters


Wrighty wrote:


I do enjoy email for convenience but I also still like writing letters and cards the "old fashioned" way. Today I wrote to several people. No long letters this time but long notes on stationary and cards. I have a sister-in-law who gives the best stationary! Now that it's been mentioned here I realize that there are a few people who are surprised to receive mail this way.

 

I didn't feel like I was evesdropping reading the letters in this book. They came together to form a story and gave important information about a place and time in history. I didn't know much about it and reading the letters gave details the way someone who was there to experience it would. It helped to transport you back to that time period too. I also appreciated the notes about who the letters were to and from. It helped set the tone before I read each letter especially if it was anger or humor.

 

I'm glad I reserved this book the moment I saw it announced here. I can't even imagine how long the list is now at my library. It is one I'll have to buy because I will read this again. And I may be generous enough to loan it out to friends. We'll see. :smileywink: I saw in today's paper it's #1 (again I think) on the indie bestseller list! Congratulations Annie!

Message Edited by Wrighty on 09-08-2008 12:31 AM

Thanks! It's pretty exciting that so many people are reading our book. At my little hometown library (both Mary Ann and I worked there back in the day), the waiting list is over 180. Poor180th person. I think I'd better give them a few more copies. 


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literature
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters

I don't feel I've been eavesdropping or snooping because I'm reading other peoples letters.  What makes this book so unique is that all the demonstrative and extraneous words have been omitted and what you have is just a heartwaming story, beautifully told, through letters.  You get a good feel for each of the  

characters through their writings and are easily drawn into their lives.  It is not important to know all about their lives from day one, which is what a novel would have done.  No one ever questions letters, you just read them.  I felt each writer was sharing his or her life with me personally through their letters and I, too, had  become their good friend.  I found myself some times skipping through the pages looking for a particular character's response to or from Juliet.  As for why the authors chose this form, the authors were

dealing with a relatively short time frame in a person's life and what transpired could easily have been told via letters as it was dealing only with a specific subject.  The background was WWII, no explanation was neeed there.  t could have been just a different angle for a book.  You had your story and you told it.  It doesn't matter how you delivered it, the letters clearly told the story.

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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters


literature wrote:

I don't feel I've been eavesdropping or snooping because I'm reading other peoples letters.  What makes this book so unique is that all the demonstrative and extraneous words have been omitted and what you have is just a heartwaming story, beautifully told, through letters.  You get a good feel for each of the  

characters through their writings and are easily drawn into their lives.  It is not important to know all about their lives from day one, which is what a novel would have done.  No one ever questions letters, you just read them.  I felt each writer was sharing his or her life with me personally through their letters and I, too, had  become their good friend.  I found myself some times skipping through the pages looking for a particular character's response to or from Juliet.  As for why the authors chose this form, the authors were

dealing with a relatively short time frame in a person's life and what transpired could easily have been told via letters as it was dealing only with a specific subject.  The background was WWII, no explanation was neeed there.  t could have been just a different angle for a book.  You had your story and you told it.  It doesn't matter how you delivered it, the letters clearly told the story.


I asked Mary Ann once why she had chosen the letter form. She laughed and said, "For some bizarre reason, I thought it would be easier."  Well, I'm glad it worked for you, whatever her reasoning was. 


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Rachel-K
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters


literature wrote:

I don't feel I've been eavesdropping or snooping because I'm reading other peoples letters.  What makes this book so unique is that all the demonstrative and extraneous words have been omitted and what you have is just a heartwaming story, beautifully told, through letters.  You get a good feel for each of the  

characters through their writings and are easily drawn into their lives.  It is not important to know all about their lives from day one, which is what a novel would have done.  No one ever questions letters, you just read them.  I felt each writer was sharing his or her life with me personally through their letters and I, too, had  become their good friend.  I found myself some times skipping through the pages looking for a particular character's response to or from Juliet.  As for why the authors chose this form, the authors were

dealing with a relatively short time frame in a person's life and what transpired could easily have been told via letters as it was dealing only with a specific subject.  The background was WWII, no explanation was neeed there.  t could have been just a different angle for a book.  You had your story and you told it.  It doesn't matter how you delivered it, the letters clearly told the story.


 

I like your point about not questioning the letter writer. You can accept a small piece of the story in a letter, told in a person's own voice.

 

What did you think of Juliet having two people write references for her to the society--one who loves her and one who can't stand her? How would we have discovered these stories about her?

 

I was also thankful to the gossips in the letters for this reason-we get plenty of information about our characters from them, whatever we think of them personally.

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Wrighty
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters

[ Edited ]


rkubie wrote:

What did you think of Juliet having two people write references for her to the society--one who loves her and one who can't stand her? How would we have discovered these stories about her?

 

I was also thankful to the gossips in the letters for this reason-we get plenty of information about our characters from them, whatever we think of them personally.


I also thought that was a very clever way to find out more about a character. And Juliet was the perfect one to choose this way to give information about herself through references. She had the desire to gain the Society's trust, the motivation to do it and the self confidence to believe in herself no matter what was said about her - good or bad.

 

The gossip did supply us with more information and comedy as well. The busy bodies like Lady Bella Taunton (Juliet's reference that didn't like her) and Adelaide Addison (the self proclaimed Christian who disliked the Literary Society) were annoying but pretty funny too. Adelaide had the nerve to write a letter to Juliet complaining about everyone writing letters to Juliet! Isola had her own form of gossip but her's wasn't malicious. It was more a form of reporting on what was going on around her and she was the funniest person of all.

Message Edited by Wrighty on 09-12-2008 01:58 AM
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Annie_Barrows
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Re: Reading Someone Else's Letters


Wrighty wrote:


rkubie wrote:

What did you think of Juliet having two people write references for her to the society--one who loves her and one who can't stand her? How would we have discovered these stories about her?

 

I was also thankful to the gossips in the letters for this reason-we get plenty of information about our characters from them, whatever we think of them personally.


I also thought that was a very clever way to find out more about a character. And Juliet was the perfect one to choose this way to give information about herself through references. She had the desire to gain the Society's trust, the motivation to do it and the self confidence to believe in herself no matter what was said about her - good or bad.

 

The gossip did supply us with more information and comedy as well. The busy bodies like Lady Bella Taunton (Juliet's reference that didn't like her) and Adelaide Addison (the self proclaimed Christian who disliked the Literary Society) were annoying but pretty funny too. Adelaide had the nerve to write a letter to Juliet complaining about everyone writing letters to Juliet! Isola had her own form of gossip but her's wasn't malicious. It was more a form of reporting on what was going on around her and she was the funniest person of all.

Message Edited by Wrighty on 09-12-2008 01:58 AM

I think that the difference between Isola and Adelaide is that Isola isn't trying to change anyone. As you say, she is merely reporting--from her own somewhat peculiar point of view. She cracks me up.


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