SR! 2010 Season News

Saratoga Reads Announces Book Choice for Year Six

A book about an English Channel island that fell to Nazi Germany during World War II has been selected by public vote as this year’s book of choice for Saratoga Reads, as the community-wide reading program launches its sixth year. The winning book is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, a fictional story told through a series of letters.

Each year, Saratoga Reads invites area residents to nominate books for a shared reading experience and then to vote for their favorite title from a select group. This year, 649 votes were cast for the slate of top five titles, with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society garnering 182, or 28 percent. In second place was The Art of Racing in the Rain, with 141 votes, and in third was Outliers, with 132 votes. The other contenders were City of Thieves and Mudbound.

This year’s book of choice begins in 1946, when popular author Juliet Ashton, much like her fellow British citizens, is emerging from the travails of World War II. She receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and so begins a tale of a group of neighbors on the island of Guernsey their life during the German occupation.

Readers will have to find out for themselves how the curious name of the society came about and what the group was up to.

A New York Times number-one best seller, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was named one of the best 10 books of the year by Time and USA Today and one of the best novels of the year by the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post Book World, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other publications.

Said a review in the Boston Globe, “The letters that make up this novel shed light on the suffering of the Channel Islanders during the German occupation, but there is also a rich vein of humor. After Julia moves to Guernsey to work on her book, she finds it impossible to leave the island and her new friends, a feeling readers may share when they finish this delightful novel.”

With the announcement of this year’s winning book, the community is encouraged to read the novel and to develop and participate in a range of educational and cultural activities related to the book’s themes. The Saratoga Reads Junior Action Group will announce selected titles for young readers on November 20.

“This novel gives us many great themes to work with and learn about in the coming months—the art of letter writing, WW II experiences and history, children in war time, the power of books, and so much more,” said Tabitha Orthwein, chair of the Saratoga Reads board. “I’m excited about journeying to Guernsey with the Saratoga community.”

Saratoga Reads will officially launch its programming for 2009-10 with a kickoff book fair on Sunday, Dec. 6, at Barnes & Noble in Wilton. For more information on Saratoga Reads events go to, become a fan on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.