Monday 9 March 2009

Mary Ann Shaffer's Books

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by the late Mary Ann Shaffer was one of my favourite books last year, and so many people in the blogosphere and the wider world agreed. Someone a little while ago asked, on my earlier post about the novel, what Mary Ann Shaffer's own favourite books were - and we are so privileged that Shaffer's daughter Morgan has given us the answer. Here is her reply:

The odd thing is, we actually have a list of my mom's favorite books, but it took me a while to locate it. And, because you asked such a perfectly unique question, I wanted to make sure it was answered properly!

My mother was an avid, voracious reader. Never without a book in her hand - everywhere she went. (She was a librarian so her choices were endless.)

You may be sorry you asked, but here they are (in no particular order):

Time and Again
A Very Long Engagement
Corelli's Mandolin
Angle of Repose
Flaubert's Parrot
Covenant with Death
In the Time of Butterflies
Women of the Silk
The Samurai's Garden
If a Lion Could Talk
My Antonia
Brideshead Revisited
The Pursuit of Love

(is it time to rest, get a glass of milk, make a potato peel pie?)

Straight Man
The Playmaker
A Dry White Season
House of Sand & Fog
A Gesture Life
English Passengers
The Human Stain
Fall of a Sparrow
Black Dogs
The Shell Seekers
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Cold Mountain
Poisonwood Bible

There you have it! My mother loved to recommend books, so I hope you find at least one that brings you enjoyment.

Morgan M.


  1. My Antonia was on the reading list for my first college English class - the only title I've read from that list is A Prayer for Owen Meany.

  2. Oh, I love The Playmaker! I read it the year before last, when I was producing and costuming Our Country's Good, the play based on it. Apart from sentimental attachment, it really is a very good book.

  3. Oh, some favourites of mine there, and how lovely to learn a little more about the lady who wrote such a super book. Thankyou!

  4. I didn't realise that she'd died - that is so sad - I loved Potato Peel Pie. There are some great books on that list, and I have a few more in my TBR pile. I'll think of her as I read them.

  5. I absolutely adore The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and will use this book list to guide my future reading. I'd love to meet the books that charmed this wonderful author!

  6. I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in all innocence, knowing nothing about the book or the author. While reading, I fell in love with both. Upon reading the acknowledgement and learning that Mary Ann Shaffer had died shortly before publication of her book, I burst into tears. I felt such an affinity with her and was eager to see if she'd written anything else, only to lose her almost in the same moment. I thank you with all my heart for sharing the list of her favorite books, several of which are mine also. It will be some consolation to read and possibly discover new favorite books by having met her through her writing.

  7. anyone know where in shakespeare is the quote "the bright day is done and we are for the dark" from?
    (in gurnsey literary and potato peel pie society)page 63

    1. Antony and Cleopatra, Iras says this to Cleopatra about half way through the final scene - Act V, Scene II.


  8. @Anonymous I think it might be Antony and Cleopatra, based on a Google search! But not that many options, so it might be a slight misquotation, perhaps?


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