Books about books. Books about letters. Books with letters about books. For this bibliophile who loves letters, you can’t get much better than those combinations! All of which are found in two titles I just discovered: 84, Charing Cross Road and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.
They have books and wartime in common. The one is a correspondence between a bookstore employee in London and a book lover in New York. The other includes correspondence between an English author, a London publisher, and inhabits of a British island occupied by the Germans during the war.
The one is a short read for one winter’s night. The other has a longer, more involved plot.
The one is comprised of actual letters to and from the author. The other is completely fictional.
The one is a delightful but educational literary piece. The other has the feel of a historical novel.
The one brings you London’s rationing and New York’s comparative wealth. The other puts you in the middle of a simple island, ravaged by war, but filled with people who are characters in every sense of the word.
The one was both heart-rending and delightful. The other, while a riveting work of fiction, brought something entirely unnecessary out of the closet in the midst of the book.