January Booking It: Guernsey, Neither Here Nor There, & People Before Profit

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January Booking It: Reviews of Guernsey, Neither Here Nor There, & People Before ProfitBooking It is an online book club where we share the good reads we’ve found in the previous month. We’ve found that over the years we’ve discovered some great new books thanks to this monthly book share.

What Anne read:

January Booking It: Reviews of Guernsey, Neither Here Nor There, & People Before Profit

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I feel like I must be the last person on the internet to read this charming epistolary novel, but now that I finally have, I understand what all the fuss is about! It’s London, 1946, and thirtysomething author Juliet is casting about for a subject for her next book when a letter arrives in her mailbox that draws her into the story of the German occupation of the Channel Islands–and specifically, Guernsey–during World War II.

This book is atypical but it works. The characters are delightful, and I found myself cheering them on and turning the pages ever faster. It’s a quick read, and well worth the time.

Plus, my daughter was delighted that we were both reading books by Annie Barrows: Guernsey for me, Ivy and Bean for her.

Head’s Up! The Kindle version of this book is currently only $1.99. If you’re even remotely interested, now’s the time to snatch it up.

What Carrie says: Yes! I’m so glad you finally got around to reading this, Anne! Like Jessica, I remember thinking it was so unfortunate that there would not be another book to read. It’s rare that I find a book that I would recommend my MOTHER read, but this was one of them, and she loved it. Welcome to the Guernsey Club!
What Jessica says: Oh my! I loved that book. I remember weeping and wishing there was another book to read. I really loved all the characters. Carrie and I read it at the same time back in May 2010, so yeah, you might be the last person to read it, but better late than never!

What Carrie read:

January Booking It: Reviews of Guernsey, Neither Here Nor There, & People Before Profit

Neither Here Nor There

by Bill Bryson

I read two Bill Bryson books this month, The Lost Continent (which sent me off on a bitter diatribe about his generalizations of folks who live in the southern United States), and Neither Here Nor There – a tale of his trek across Europe, which was neither a five star book, nor a four star, but a pretty solid three star attempt. Finding it used, and having enjoyed other books by Bryson, I decided to give this one a shot. Bottom line, I would have enjoyed it a lot more if he hadn’t spent so much time talking about the number of beers he drank and the girls he wanted to… well, you get the idea. He’s crass and liberal, but with a wickedly funny sense of humor at times. If you want to read a Bryson book, stick with his Australia narrative (In a Sunburned Country) – it’s still my favorite.

What Jessica says: I have never read any of his books, but I think you both have? What would you consider his appeal, Carrie, since he definitely has a different approach to life than you do?

Carrie’s Response: That’s an interesting question, Jessica. I think it might have something to do with the common ground of having traveled a lot myself, both in the U.S. and abroad, and the way he picks up on the idiosyncrasies of culture. The difference comes in the outlook – I love the cultural differences, even if they drive me nuts sometimes, while he mocks them because they are different from his own views. If you can get past that, his sense of humor resonates with my own dry, often sarcastic, sense of humor. 

What Anne says: I’ve never read anything by Bill Bryson–yet. He’s on my list of “must read” authors in 2014!

 What Jessica read:

January Booking It: Reviews of Guernsey, Neither Here Nor There, & People Before Profit

People Before Profit: The Inspiring Story of the Founder of Bob’s Red Mill

by Ken Koopman

I can’t remember where I first heard about this book. The second time was via Mandi. I checked the library and since they didn’t have it, but Bob’s story sounded so intriguing, I went ahead and bought the Kindle version. People Before Profit is the story of Bob Moore, the man who founded Bob’s Red Mill. Yes, there really is a Bob!

Bob actually has his own shelf in my refrigerator where we store all our grains. My family loves so many of the Bob’s Red Mill products, we have a saying at our house: “Bob’s my homie.” Indeed.

And he has a wonderful story. The book truly does tell his life story, in a somewhat folksy way. I guess I don’t read too many biographies, so I was a little surprised by the storytelling language, but the story itself was so intriguing that I kept being drawn back to it. I read it on the treadmill, listening to worship music, and sometimes weeping.

I laughed. I cried. It moved me, Bob.

If you’re interested in knowing about business people who truly care about their people and their products, who are willing to work hard and do right, then this is the book for you. Over 20 years ago, Bob’s Red Mill literally burned to the ground. He could have retired right then, but he had employees to care for. He built it back bigger than ever and a few years ago GAVE the company to the employees.

You gotta read it. FishBoy16 is reading it now and enjoying it as well.

What Anne says: I love books like this, about the story behind the business. I’ve had Mission in a Bottle (about the story of Honest Tea) on my to-read list for ages, and my husband loved Let My People Go Surfing (about Patagonia). Adding this one to my list!

Jessica: Funny, years ago when we lived in Santa Barbara, a lot of people from our church worked at Patagonia.

What Carrie says: Sounds interesting. I’m not a big fan of biographies, but the idea of him giving the company to his employees is enough to make me want to take a look and learn more. And I love the Veggie Tale reference… 🙂

What did YOU read this month that you loved?

– Anne loves strong coffee, long books, and big ideas. She puts a timely spin on timeless women’s issues at her blog Modern Mrs Darcy.

Be sure to download Anne’s Kid Lit Guide, Paper Gains. It’s a great collection to help you navigate the book store and come through with some great, meaningful reads for the children in your life.

Carrie's Headshot– Carrie adores culture, coffee, books, British mystery shows, and her husband of 13 years. She’s spent time in Africa, southeast Asia, and Alaska, and now works from home as a social media book launch project manager. 

In her spare time, you can find her blogging at Carrie’s Busy Nothings and What’s On My Nightstand

Jessica Fisher Color by Sharon Leppellere - sm– Jessica is a married mom of six kids, aged 5 to 16. Most can read independently which means the homeschool experiment is working – at least on the literacy front.

She has been a lover of books for 40 years and counting. We won’t count the first year of life. She runs this here show called Life as MOM and also posts all the food things over at Good Cheap Eats.

Tell us what YOU’VE been reading.

Leave a comment or a link below. Please be sure to link back here so your readers know where to find the party. Share your recent book reviews with us!

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  1. This is my favorite feature! I lived the guernsey story! I read it a long time ago, but so enjoyed it! I haven’t read read Bob’s story, yet, but I am adding it to my list. I enjoy biographies about interesting people 🙂 The books I read in December are already up on my blog and include two books by Colleen Cobel that I loved, The Scent of Fear (which was interesting, and slightly terrifying), and Say Goodbye to Survival Mode (which was a good, inspirational read). I have more to post for January, but I haven’t gotten it done yet. I read a Cindy Woodsmall book, and a phenomenal devotional (Take flight) by Robin Jones Gunn. Thanks for all the new book ideas ladies. 🙂

    1. I’ve heard great things about The Book Thief. I’ve hesitated, though, because it seems it would take a lot of emotional energy. Not sure I have that right now with all that’s going on, deadlines, etc.

      1. While it is certainly not a light read, The Book Thief is not as “heavy” as many other WW2 novels in my opinion. Definitely worth reading!

  2. I also read Guernsey (several years ago), loved it and passed it on to a family member. Thanks for the reminder about a great book!
    I just finished reading Barbara Kinsolver’s Flight Behavior. Great read, as are all of hers. This book is about butterflies who winter in Tennessee, when they would normally be wintering in Mexico. The side story is about a wife and her family, living in their own house on her in-laws farm and all that goes with that. They want to log the land for money to pay off loans and the butterflies are obvioulsy in the way of that.
    I highly recommen anything by this author!

    1. I’ve heard recs about her Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, before but also criticisms that she just doesn’t understand the middle class and below. Did you get that feeling?

      1. I’ve only read her fiction, so cannot comment on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
        The book I referenced above is about a family in the lower income brackets and at least in that novel, I don’t get that feeling, but I can see how that might come across in nonfiction. I believe that most Americans are just trying to get by and survive the best we can. I don’t know many people who can “only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it” (quote from amazon’s description of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle).

  3. Thank you for continuing “Booking It” 🙂 This month I read Torches of Joy http://www.bystreamsofquietwaters.blogspot.com/2014/01/torches-of-joy.html and The Truth About the Lordship of Christ http://www.bystreamsofquietwaters.blogspot.com/2014/01/a-review-lordship-of-christ.html

    I am very interested in a couple of the books you mentioned, but am resolved to work through the stacks already in my home or on my lists. Isn’t it wonderful how the book list can just keep growing and stacks of books around the house create anticipation for the next “journey” or lesson?

    1. Yay for BookingIt love! 🙂 Oh, I have SO MANY BOOKS in my home that are waiting for me to read them. Unlike some disciplined folks, buying books is my weakness, but at least I have access to an awesome used book store (not to mention Amazon used books). What that means is, I’m still trying to get through my stacks from last year (thus the two Bill Bryson books this month). 🙂

  4. Read Guernsey a couple of years ago and ADORED it! I haven’t read either of those by Bryson. My favorite of his that I have read is A Walk in the Woods. Hysterical. I also read the one about him moving to America, but I can’t remember the title.

    I think I’m going to go write a Booking It post so I’ll be back to give my link. 🙂

  5. These are my favorite posts on your blog! <3 the reviews and book ideas. I'm so happy to see another one.

  6. I loved the “Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society”. I think I need to re-read it. 🙂 The only Bill Bryson book I’ve read is “I’m a Stranger Here Myself.” I read it as I was preparing to return to the US after more than 3 years away. It was hilarious, and I could relate to many things. I keep meaning to read more of his… so many books, so little time!